Why use a virtual CFO?

If you do not have enough time to complete the duties of a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) yourself – and you do not want the staffing costs of a regular in-house addition to your payroll – why not try a virtual CFO?

As your virtual Chief Financial Officer, I can carry out all of the duties of a regular CFO. But with the added advantage that you can use me on-demand for specific projects or purposes. This means you do not need to pay for that financial expertise until those times when you really need it.

Step forward your virtual CFO service

Companies in every industry – especially SMEs – are already relying on virtual CFO solutions because they do need that financial expertise. But they also want to keep their often limited budgets for other tasks and investments or to prepare for problems which arise along the way.

Your virtual CFO service can include assistance with a huge range of financial planning, budgeting and related tasks, including:

  • Setting up a structure which enables you and your management team to know the road ahead
  • Budget planning
  • Setting up processes for financial controlling and bookkeeping
  • Helping you find more efficient processes and ways of working
  • Improved digitalization
  • Looking for ways to improve profit margins

Having a financial expert essentially on-call enables you to improve your business without saddling yourself with yet more unnecessary outgoings. As soon as you have all of the information and details you need to work out where your business is doing well – financially-speaking – and what could be done better, you are free to say goodbye. Until the next time, you could use a little smart analysis to give your profit margins a little boost, of course.

Business budget planning – your way to an easier tomorrow

A deluge of day-to-day tasks is often the enemy of proper future business budget planning. Even if that future planning could actually save you from having to worry about many of those daily tasks in the first place.

As an experienced business owner, you will already know how important budget management is. Taking the time to properly develop a plan and manage your budget, review your business plans and analyse financial performance is what separates companies which struggle from those which seem to succeed “effortlessly”.

With a well-planned structure in place, you will be able to make those day-to-day decisions with much more confidence. You will start to see real improvements in your Returns On Investment and the growth of your business.

Crucially, you will also be reducing your own stress levels. Especially if your business’s finances are something you often find yourself worrying about. Taking a little time out with a budget planner lets you decide on a goal for your business’s future, set targets to achieve along the way and metrics you can use to measure how well you are getting there.

Paired with this, proper business budget planning will give you an enhanced ability to anticipate problems or negative events which might occur along the way. As well as to have contingency plans in place for what you will do if they do arise.

You might already be carrying out many of the key activities of budget management and business planning already. You might already monitor your competition or consider areas for growth, for example. Transforming these piecemeal efforts into a logical, systematic, all-in-one process is something that I can help you with. It does not need to be a mountain you tackle alone.

I have already done the same for business leaders in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, the UK, Switzerland and Norway, Sweden and Germany in Northern Europe. Contact me today and let us talk about how a budget planner can improve your business.

Cash flow forecast – why understanding yours is so important

A cash flow forecast is a key document if you want to take closer control of your business’s finances. A forecast helps you make sensible, data-supported guesses as to your income and expenses for a set period of time in the future – usually the next year, but sometimes only the next week or the next month.

Knowing how much money is likely to come into and out of your business has many advantages. One of the major benefits of a cash flow forecast is that you will have a good idea of how much money you will need for that period of time.

But that is far from all which a forecast can do for you. For instance, you can use a forecast to:

  • Measure your performance: compare your forecast with your actual income and expenses to see how well your business is performing in certain areas.
  • Plan staff hire or equipment purchases: knowing how much money you are likely to have going into and out of your business means you are well-positioned to judge when you can afford to buy new equipment or take on new team members.
  • Do everything hypothetically: add those new salaries to your forecast and see how that might affect your business. Everything is hypothetical, so you can try out scenarios to see what might work. Run best-case and worst-case analyses and decide what to do.
  • Make better decisions: armed with the information your forecast gives you, you will be much better prepared to make all kinds of decisions relating to your business’s future.

A cash flow forecast may include your estimated sales, projected costs, fixed costs like building rental and staff salaries as well as variable costs like buying stock. I will help you keep your forecasts up-to-date and accurate. Which is precisely what you need them to be if they are going to be of real use to you.

The importance of cash flow management

Forecasting your cash flow is one thing. Instituting a system for cash flow management is quite another.

Your cash flow is the money going in and coming out of your business. Your forecast helps you make very educated guesses about how much money your business will need in the future – and how much money you might have available. Your forecast will also enable you to make decisions as to how you should manage that flow.

Cash flow management involves tracking the flow and analysing how it changes over time. You can use this to spot when problems occur and to latch on to developing trends. By comparing your current management figures with your forecast, you will also be able to evaluate how well your business is performing in contrast to how you expected it to.

Remember though, that your cash flow is not the same as your profits. Knowing that you made money or lost money in a given time period is not the same as really understanding your cash flow. Your cash flow will draw from all kinds of other numbers, including:

  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Capital expenditure
  • Debt servicing
  • Inventory

I can help you build a cohesive image of your cash flow – just as I have done for companies in all kinds of industries across Europe. This will help you understand not only the importance of cash flow management but also how you can make your business work better in all kinds of areas.

The best way to increase profit margins

Finding a way to increase profit margins is the reason so many business owners rely on virtual CFOs. Knowing the fine details of your cash flow, having metrics and a management system in place and taking business and budget planning seriously are vital steps if your profits are down – and you want them not to be.

The important questions to ask yourself if you do want to increase your profit margins are what your cash flow is right now – and what you want it to be a year from now. Then, once you have the facts, there are numerous ways to improve the profit you make, including:

  • Increasing sales: easier said than done, but vital to any business – especially growing ones. With the right financial data, you are likely to be able to spot key areas where you can make changes to increase sales.
  • Collecting receivables: centralization of your banking and financial activities and instituting systems which encourage clients and partners to pay you the money they owe you more quickly.
  • Reducing the amount of credit you offer: many businesses offer credit to their customers. The risks of doing so need to be carefully weighed at any time, but particularly when your cash flow monitoring efforts are telling you something is wrong.
  • Discounts and promotions: with careful planning, discounts and promotions offered to clients or others who owe you money can encourage faster payment or an uptick in sales.

Tailoring your virtual CFO service to your needs

I provide a virtual CFO service to companies in all kinds of industries. IT and legal firms, health and beauty salons, restaurants, supermarkets and retailers of every kind. Whatever sector you are in, I can provide the financial expertise you need – on-demand and with no requirement to add permanent extra staff to your payroll.

Get the financial planning or analysis skills you need – and only when you need them. Join companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Germany and elsewhere who already use my services. Contact me today to let me know how you want to improve your business.

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