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Virtual CFO
accountants and bookkeepers

How to Become a Virtual CFO

The role of a virtual CFO is a growing position favoured by many companies. This is an interesting and exciting role that you can progress into with some special skills, helping firms unlock greater efficiency and productivity. 

If you want to learn how to become a virtual CFO, this guide is for you.

What is a virtual CFO?

A virtual CFO offers financial expertise and guidance to businesses. They are very similar to a regular Chief Financial Officer, but here’s the twist–it’s all done virtually. They may work on a contractual or part-time basis. They usually are highly skilled at integrating seamlessly with existing teams to handle a broad range of capabilities.

The best virtual CFO services include:

  • Budgeting
  • Raising capital
  • Financial forecasting
  • Trend analysis
  • Reporting
  • Aligning business goals with financial strategies
  • Bookkeeping and reconciliation

According to McKinsey, virtual CFOs can deliver high-level strategic value to businesses, driving the growth of the profession. They can assist with financial clarity to help businesses grow, develop financial strategies, and create sensible budgets. When the end of financial year (EOFY) rolls around, they tie up all the loose ends and devise a seamless transition into the new year.

For small businesses, this is an invaluable opportunity to benefit from someone experienced in accounting and finance. So, if you’re passionate about helping businesses grow, the role of a virtual CFO could be for you.

How does a virtual CFO work?

For the most part, a virtual CFO is much like an in-house CFO. However, they have some key differences. 

A virtual CFO typically offers:

  • Remote CFO services: A virtual CFO diligently executes all the responsibilities typically associated with a CFO, but with the added flexibility of working part-time and remotely.
  • Cloud-enhanced financial oversight: Harnessing the power of cloud technology, they continuously monitor and analyse a business’s finances.
  • Strategic financial counsel: A virtual CFO provides financial advice, with expert insights and guidance to steer businesses in the right direction. This applies to major strategic decisions and everyday financial matters.
  • Versatile financial support: Depending on your needs, a virtual CFO can seamlessly handle tasks that may include data entry, tax consultation, and other financial obligations.

Due to the remote and part-time nature of the role, virtual CFOs operate slightly differently to their in-house counterparts. That said, the overarching role is similar.

Why become a virtual CFO?

Here are some of the reasons to consider becoming a virtual CFO.

Benefits for your clients

The virtual CFO role is perfect for accountants who are passionate about helping businesses. There are some undeniable perks for businesses that hire a virtual CFO vs. an in-house CFO.

  • Better ROI: A virtual CFO often fetches a lower salary than an in-house one on account of the part-time work. As a virtual CFO, you can work freelance, so you don’t lose out on money, but your partners benefit from freeing up valuable cash.
  • Tailored solutions: A virtual CFO can custom-tailor their services to suit the needs of their clients, ensuring that the finances align with the company’s expansion strategy.
  • Knowledge and top-tier expertise: Many virtual CFOs specialise in a particular industry, or they may work with clients across sectors. Either way, they have a wealth of experience that they can leverage to help their clients.

As a virtual CFO, you can provide your clients with the help and support they need to grow.

Advantages for small businesses

Small businesses face distinct challenges. Having access to a virtual CFO can be a game changer.

Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lack the resources to employ full-time, in-house CFOs, and some may not even contemplate the move. However, not having a financial advisor can spell disaster for burgeoning enterprises in their crucial first years, with more than half of new sole traders not surviving beyond three years in part due to challenging economic circumstances.

Virtual CFOs can be integral to their success. If you’re passionate about SMEs and want to help them grow, being a virtual CFO is a great way to do it.

How to become a virtual CFO

If you want to become a virtual CFO, there are two things you need to do. The first is to embrace cloud technology, and the second is to change the way you work.

Embracing cloud technology

The cloud provides a wealth of advantages for a virtual CFO. This includes seamless data integration, which allows you to access clients’ financial information remotely and in real-time.

Cloud accounting software can also streamline processes like bank account reconciliation, speeding up the process so that you can focus your time and energy where you need to. 

The QuickBooks suite has everything you need to begin your virtual CFO journey.

Changing the way you work

Becoming a virtual CFO requires some shifts in your working style, beyond adopting cloud-based accounting technology. 

To wholeheartedly embrace the shift from accountant to virtual CFO, consider the following switches:

  • Reimagine your core: stop viewing your process-driven services as your main focus. Instead, emphasise your extensive consulting services.
  • Foster genuine connections: cultivate meaningful, face-to-face relationships with your clients.
  • Proactive management: engage frequently with your clients to anticipate and address their concerns proactively, rather than addressing issues as they arise.
  • Empower success: view your role as assisting your clients to achieve their goals, helping you foster a reputation as a trusted advisor.

Are you ready to become a virtual CFO?

If you want to become a virtual CFO, it’s easy to get started with QuickBooks. With QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA), we empower accountants to continue their professional career and even pivot to being a virtual CFO with helpful resources and streamlined software.

If you want to become a CFO have a look at our guide to becoming a CFO.

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