It is no longer possible for the world’s most successful companies to live long. The average tenure of an S&P 500 company was 33 years in 1965. Then it was 20 years in 1990. The average company lifespan in the S&P is 50. This is estimated to drop to 14 years by 2026. That’s simply because there are more companies today, and for start-ups to thrive, company leaders must create real value for customers.

If you have a start-up, you must be asking yourself, “How can I grow in a competitive business market”? You must be thinking you’re too small to focus on anything else than selling your product and services and creating value for your clients. As a CEO, you should focus mainly on your sales and satisfying the market, apart from the other million things to get done while running a start-up. Hence you need a clear head and save time from handling other HR, admin, legal, and accounting obligations. Although you may have little experience in these sectors, your first thought might be wanting to hire someone to fill these roles. And if you are thinking of someone to handle the profitability and scaling of your start-up, then you must consider the role of CFO services for startups and SMEs.

What is a CFO

What is the meaning of a CFO service / fractional CFO? CFO stands for Chief Financial Officer.  A Chief Financial Officer is an experienced financial professional, that can offer high-level financial expertise for your goals in a fixed time period. Such expertise can come in advisory or taking actions to achieve broader business objectives. You can hire a CFO or consult with an outsourced CFO service. Which is better? Both deliver the same objective; however, an outsourced CFO service is way more cost-effective for start-ups and mid-sized businesses, as the cost for hiring a CFO is quite high. Also, outsourced CFO firms offer a broad scope of their services to meet specific business needs.

How can a CFO be of benefit for you?

You may think CFO offers just traditional finance services like:

  • Accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Planning

But that counts about 45% of what they work on. There is another 14% focus on specialty finance:

  • Treasury
  • Audit
  • Taxes
  • Investor relations

And another 41% is spent on non-finance services, which includes:

  • Strategic leadership
  • Organizational transformation
  • Performance management
  • Capital allocation
  • Experience in Data analytics
    • Finance capabilities
    • Fintech knowledge
    • Risk management & procurement
    • Negotiation
    • Conflict management
    • Market knowledge


    Will it challenge your expenses?

    Probably, but expenses should be challenged, your money needs to be spent on those who will ensure you reach your goals. CFO services can foresee opportunities and anticipate pitfalls through data-driven analysis for growth and this will save you time to focus on other sectors of your start-up. But how much does a CFO service cost exactly? That depends on the outsourced CFO firm, also if it’s a virtual CFO service, or part-time CFO service.

    Virtual CFO / Outsourced CFO

    But the good news is, outsourced services are mostly way cheaper to accommodate start-ups, it ranges in prices that differ from firm to firm. Virtual CFO services also exist, from country to country, so you can easily find different outsourced CFO services costs that would suit you.

    VCFOs serve as a link between the client’s bookkeeper and their management team, offering them financial support when they need it. Sometimes the bookkeeper and the management team are the same people in micro-businesses. Larger businesses can often benefit from having the VCFO sit between the finance director (FD) and the bookkeeper, providing extra support the FD doesn’t have time for or the bookkeeper doesn’t have the training to provide.

    Small businesses and medium-sized businesses benefit greatly from hiring a startup CFO service or a cost-effective VCFO. VCFO invests in developing their cloud technology and digital solutions and can offer their services to more clients at the same time, making their services more affordable to SMEs.

    When is it time to hire a CFO?

    There is no one size fits all, hiring too soon may be costly – hiring too late and you may miss out on opportunities to move the business forward. But here are a few guiding questions you should ask yourself when hiring a CFO:

    Can you get a Series A without a CFO?
    Is it possible to sustain revenues over $10 million per year without a CFO on staff?
    Would an accountant increase your bandwidth and streamline your workflow?
    Are you capable of modeling future planning based on historical data?
    Have you mastered cash flow, profit and loss, the bottom line, etc.?

    You may have access to the same financial data, but you might not know how to utilize it for growth. It is completely reasonable for there to be a separation between a CEO and CFO because it is both healthy and normal.

    Consequently, contracted CFO services will remain a cost-effective solution for most companies for years to come. The difference between making the playoffs and missing them can often be determined by partnering with an outsourced CFO.

    Why should you consult with outsourced CFO services?

    A CFO can analyze every facet of your company and maximize the Return on Investment (ROI) of your marketing expenses so you can reach more potential leads. They deal with many hidden costs in the business. Many people don’t know how to run the numbers, so it’s difficult to see the picture without running them. A CFO growth advisor can identify when the team is underperforming, why the margins are failing, and what pitfalls could hinder the business’ success. After the analysis, CFO advises about the steps to be taken in the company. So, it could be wise to consult with a CFO early enough within your startup so you could have reliable company growth.

    In modern days, CFO services have evolved to suit SMEs and are no longer an expensive proposition like in the past, where only big enterprises were able to afford a full-time CFO. Today with MS, you can outsource a CFO on a part-time basis in the UAE. We can identify if it’s the right time to bring on a CFO to your team and strategize a plan for your needs. Our team is experienced with multiple business industries and can understand your mission, grow your business, and secure your numbers. We are here to support start-ups and SMEs to grow and including our CFO service in your team will be an investment rather than a cost. So reach out to us today or book a free consultation call for your first session.