The rising issues and complexities faced by the businesses majorly due to the economic slowdown and other business factors have warranted the need for full-time finance officers in companies. The cost to deploy such a professional for full-time on a long-term basis may, however, be an unaffordable proposition for many companies.
As a result, a concept gradually gaining ground is that of Virtual CFO. Virtual CFOs are professionals who can manage the overall financial, legal, taxation and compliance part of the business house. In such an arrangement, a company hires a group of consummate professionals (representing the organization as a CFO) having diverse experience and exposure at a far lower cost.
The role of virtual CFOs varies from assignment to assignment but generally they are responsible for overall accounting, finalization of accounts, financial control including cost optimization, strategic advisory to the management and Boards of the business houses, direct and indirect tax matters of the company, legal, secretarial and statutory compliances of the company. All the services are customized based on client company’s sector and requirements. An array of services are offered under Virtual CFO –
Strategic Decisions: Guide companies in making decisions for growth of business, investment/divestiture decisions, market entry strategy, project planning, corporate governance etc.
Financial decisions: Includes accounting, audit, taxation, relationship management with banks/financial institutions, raising debt/equity, IPO support, due-diligence etc.
Operational Decisions: Provides business monitoring & decision support tools like development of KPI, MIS & budget framework and its effective implementation.
Virtual CFO services are intended to not only conceptualize the right strategies but also to handhold implementation of those strategies for the organization and achieve the desired organizational objectives. Structured and on-time decision making is one of the benefits of having a virtual CFO.
Small medium business groups especially feel crippled by the lack of capability to afford a full-time CFO and the ability for strategic, financial and operational decision making can benefit by employing a virtual CFO service. These services are not specific to a particular sector and industry. They are available across sectors and industries.
With Virtual CFOs, a company ensures continuity, and decreases dependence on one person. In some cases, the cost of a Virtual CFO can be as cheap as 50-70 per cent the cost of a full-time CFO.
There are not large players in the market offering virtual CFO services. However, with the rising need and actions in the economy, demand and growth of a virtual CFO has gained importance. These service providers can prove to be the definitive difference between the success and growth of an organization as compared to competition.