Founder Burt Copeland talks about building profitability, and building his new company.
Corporate Financial Officers aren’t typically the most exciting people at the party. In business and in life, we’re not seen as big risk takers — so I’m sure it surprised many of my colleagues when I decided to quit my steady job with a well known CPA firm to launch my own financial consulting business, New Life CFO Services.
The thing is, even though I’ve spent the last 25 years working in corporate financial positions, I’m not a typical CFO. I’m an entrepreneur who also happens to be a CFO. This distinction makes me a bit different — and it’s also what makes New Life CFO stand out among other financial service providers. In this blog, I’d like to tell you about our Fractional CFO Services, and explain why we may be a better fit for your business.
Along the way, I’ll do my best to make it interesting. After all, I understand that most people don’t get as excited about in-depth analyses and number crunching as I do. However, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like increased revenues, bigger bonuses, and rising share prices. Let’s get this party started.
What is a Fractional CFO?
In simple terms, a fractional CFO is a corporate financial officer who provides their services to small businesses or CEOs on a part-time, or fractional basis. By engaging with a fractional CFO instead of hiring a full-time CFO, businesses can get the financial and accounting services they need at a fraction of the cost. You can save money on payroll services, employment taxes, insurance, and more — and still get the financial expertise of an experienced CFO.
How does New Life CFO Services compare to other options?
The term “Fractional CFO” can make some CEOs question whether they are receiving something less than a complete CFO. To clarify the answer to this question, let’s look at each of the top five options for small to medium-sized businesses, and compare them to New Life CFO. Lest you think I’m knocking any of these groups, I want to make it clear that none of these options are bad. Many of these professionals and firms are excellent at what they do. However, the question to ask is whether they are the right fit for your long-term plans.
1. Retired CFO
Many companies choose to engage the services of a retired or semi-retired CFO to provide monthly counseling. These individuals generally have high experience and can provide comforting paternal guidance for your company in two to three hours per month. However, most companies need much more than advice. They need someone willing to roll up their sleeves and help get things done over the long haul. You want to make financial decisions that will help your business move up. Make sure your CFO wants the burden of your entire yoke.
2. In Transition
CFOs in transition between corporate jobs can provide great skills and experience. And, since they’re looking for a full-time position, they may be eager to accommodate your requests. However, because they’re ultimately seeking a long-term career, they may leave you high and dry when they find one. If you’re not planning to create a full-time position, an in-transition CFO might not be the best match.
CPAs bring functional expertise to your business, and have a reasonable level of commitment to completing financial tasks. The caveat? They may have a myopic business view. When you work with a qualified accountant, your books will be in great shape. But, if you’re focused on growth, you may need much more than good numbers to ensure your vision becomes a reality.
4. Transaction Chaser
These CFOs are focused on raising debt or equity, preparing your business for sale or performing due diligence and quality of earnings work. While they can be of great value, they are more focused on short-term transactions than forming a long-term relationship with your company. Unfortunately, once the deal is done, they might be, too. Besides, who do you really want representing your firm in critical opportunities to raise capital: someone learning your business for a short-term gain, or a CFO who knows both your business, and the capital markets, inside and out?
5. Interim CFO
Interim CFOs are a good idea when a company is conducting an extended search for a full-time CFO, or has extenuating circumstances that make them unable to hire a permanent CFO. However, they still need a highly skilled professional to fill the CFO seat full-time for six to 24 months. While this option provides the company with the full range of capabilities from a CFO, it also comes at a big price tag that most mid-market and smaller firms simply can’t afford. Furthermore, many of these CFOs are also looking for full-time positions, and when they find one, it is in their best interest to accept the role with greater long-term security. If you want long-term results, a longer-term partnership may be in order.
6. New Life CFO Services
At New Life CFO Services, we combine strong CFO expertise with a high level of commitment to guiding your company to greater success over the long term. We know what entrepreneurs want because we’re entrepreneurs, too. Our business model is designed to improve your business and financial returns, while simultaneously improving your livelihood. And we do all this without burdening your company with the entire compensation of a full-time CFO. With us, being a fractional CFO is not about providing a subset of CFO services, but rather a more precise fit in terms of the CFO that a small or mid-sized company really needs. For our CFOs, it’s not just about producing better numbers — it’s about taking exceptional care of the aspects of your business that you don’t want to do, so that you can get back to the part of your business you love to do.
“A great CFO should do much more than produce great numbers. They should help you produce a greater and more valuable company.”
– Burt Copeland, CFO, New Life CFO Services
Truth be told, I served in many of the positions above before starting New Life CFO Services. In fact, I had been working as a consultant for various accounting and fractional CFO firms when I came to the realization that I could offer CEOs and entrepreneurs something better. I launched New Life CFO Services in 2013, in order to fill a need I saw in the marketplace to help companies access sophisticated fractional CFO services for less.
I believe a great CFO should do much more than produce great numbers. They should help you produce a greater and more valuable company. If that’s not an exciting proposition for business owners, I don’t know what is. I hope you’ll reach out to New Life CFO Services as a financial, operational, and entrepreneurial resource. We look forward to the opportunity to help you create a more profitable business.