In Pursuit of Profit
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What would happen to your business if your accountant unexpectedly quit or was hit by the proverbial bus? How easily can someone else step in to keep the books in order?
I didn’t completely embarrass myself among the fresh-faced CPAs just out of college representing their public firm teams. However, I definitely regretted my decision to play after a bad midcourt collision left me looking at a wrist that was definitely not in the right position. After a long ER visit and eventual surgery to add some new hardware, the recovery process began.
I still do some part-time accounting consulting work for small businesses and being able to type is a key part of getting the job done. Having a wrist that wasn’t working, along with the pain involved, really cut into my ability to be productive. Some of the work I was doing couldn’t easily be handed off, so I had to do my best to continue getting work done despite my limitations.
At this stage, companies are feeling the limitations of their existing accounting personnel and are evaluating what their next move should be to keep the company moving forward. But knowing whether to hire a Controller or a CFO is a big decision, because, contrary to popular opinion, the roles are distinctly different.
As Kevin Briscoe, the CEO of CFO Selections, explains in nonprofit leadership podcast, “A Controller is ‘walls-in and rear-facing’ and a CFO is ‘walls-out and forward-facing’.” He goes on to explain that a controller analyzes what the company has done already while a CFO evaluates where the company is going next.
For companies lagging behind, the financial cost of taking an extra 20 days to close their books can be steep, and for companies performing on par with the industry, the financial benefit of reducing their work by 10 days can be a huge advantage.