No matter what I read or hear, the word “unprecedented” keeps popping up. Whilst I am positive society has known similar times and came out stronger, I believe this time for us has made us STOP and reassess our work and personal lives.
On the work front, we have had to learn and adapt to having employees set up home offices so they work remotely. Managers have had to learn to manage teams remotely. The internet has been one of the best inventions enabling communication for work, but it’s true potential is only now starting to be tapped. This is our new Virtual Community and we are leveraging all the right communication technology. We are now utilizing video conferencing, Zoom, Skype, emails, phone and even virtual drinks after work.
For now this has become our new business model and who is to say it won’t remain.
Businesses are now seeing firsthand how a Virtual working model can be productive and cost effective. No need for daily commutes, clock cards, calling in sick because a relative is not well, bringing in sickness to work or office rent. We can still have structure, a united culture and maybe even more availability than previously when we had physical offices. The whole idea is to get the job done at the most cost effective way. It’s highlighted that outcomes are what matter most and it’s validated the Virtual CFO model that’s been around for 5 or 6 years now.
Don’t forget to check out the Government Stimulus offers and which ones apply to your business. At the moment I know of at least 10 incentives available to SME’s, such as :
- 1 PAYGW cash boost
- 2 Payroll Tax refunds/deferrals
- 3 Jobkeeper Payments
- 4 Wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees
- 5 Business Support Fund grant
Terena Lane is a member of the Virtual CFO Association.
The Virtual CFO Association is an elite peer network, that’s been advocating and promoting the emerging VCFO sector within the accounting profession since 2015. Collectively the association currently has over 500 years of industry experience, with highly qualified and experienced specialists spread across more than 20 industry verticals. If you would like any more information regarding the Association of VCFO’s, please visit our website www.vcfoassociation.com.au
As the devastating effects of the ‘twin crisis’ unfold before our very eyes, thousands of CFO’s will find themselves working remotely to start with and as many businesses are forced to cut costs, eventually many will be reduced to part time (or even let go).
If a company can survive the biggest crisis in it’s life with a Virtual part-time CFO, they won’t ever go back to a full-time internal CFO.
In other words, full-time Joe (or Jo) (because of the crisis and through no fault of their own) will become part-time Joe.
Many of these CFO’s will have comprehensive educational backgrounds, top tier qualifications and an average of 25 years of corporate industry experience. Top shelf people who know their jam and have lots to offer. Far from feeling threatened or looking to benefit from someone else’s misfortune, the Association of Virtual CFO members feel for anyone that’s been affected by this twin crisis. We are reaching out to offer you comfort and a place to find support amongst like- minded professionals.
And whilst it’s going to be tough to do anything in the coming weeks (and maybe months) the first thing part-time Joe is going to do is look to become full-time Joe again.
Joe is either going to need to leave the part-time job and find a full-time job, or add another (or several other) small client to their book. If in becoming full-time Joe again, they take the route of having a small portfolio of clients, by default Joe will have become by definition a Virtual CFO.
Whilst 2 weeks ago, full-time Joe may have never imagined being in this position, by now it’s fast starting to sink in that this is the ‘new normal’.
But the experience we’ve seen hundreds of Virtual CFO’s go through over the past 6 or 7 years have is that at the start, until you have clients and a track record of running your own business, it’s been hard to win clients. We’ve seen some very capable people give it a go, but things still haven’t worked out for them in the end. Capability and qualifications aren’t enough on their own.
Clients want comfort that if Joe gets run over by a bus that someone else will pick up the pieces.
Clients are also going to have plenty of Joe’s to pick from. It’s sad but it’s happening, every day I see a message or hear about someone that been effected. If you haven’t been yet, fingers crossed you don’t.
Collectively, amongst our elite peer network, The Association of Virtual CFO’s have over 500 years of industry experience spread across over more than 20 industry verticals.
We cover more ground and dig deeper than any other organisation in the country and our aim is to recognised as the mark of quality within the Virtual CFO sector
This gives our members a very compelling point of difference in the market and provides comfort for clients.
We are also the only group whose sole focus is to advance the emerging Virtual CFO sector within the accounting profession. Together our members ‘never walk alone’.
Think about this, if part-time Joe is pitching for the same client against an Association of VCFO member of identical capabilities, ceteris paribus – who do you think gets the client?
David Dillon is a Fellow of CPA and CA, has an MBA and over 30 years of corporate experience. He has been the Managing Director of Custodian Backoffice, a specialist Virtual CFO business since 2014. He is also a committee member of the Virtual CFO Association + Author of “3-Levers” https://mailchi.mp/1453761b50c9/cfy6cguw3u “Profit Metrics” and e-book “So, you want to be a Virtual CFO” https://vcfoassociation.com.au/so-you-want-to-be-a-virtual-cfo/
Trevor the Truckie and the benefits of a Virtual CFO
Trevor had a love of trucks going right back to when he was a small child. His family had grown up in a small country town located about halfway between 2 capital cities on a main interstate highway. The town was better known as a change-over point, where drivers would meet up with their interstate counterparts, swap trailers and turn back to their home cities. Ultimately this meant drivers would spend more time at home in their own beds, than if they were doing ‘round-trips’ and sleeping in the cabins of the trucks.
Trevor’s family lived right on the highway, a short distance from the truck stop. He would spend most days out in the front yard, face pressed against the wire fence watching the trucks go past, listening as they rode the exhaust brakes and changed down the gears, as they were slowing to turn into the truck stop or as they were full throttle with turbo chargers whistling and changing up the gears, as they built up momentum in their mighty rigs to reach the speed limit before merging in with the other traffic.
The regular drivers came to know Trevor would be there and would toot their air-horns at him, rewarding the young kid for giving the universal double pump with his arm on the imaginary horn cord. Over time Trevor came to know all the brands such as, Kenworth, Mack, Freightliner, Volvo, Mercedes, Iveco and even recognize the main fleet companies by colour.
So, when Trevor finished school and took up an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic with a local transport company it didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. He was a square peg in a square hole at the depot, everyone loved their ‘boy’ Trevor. But whilst he liked working on the trucks, Trevor was practically counting down the days until he finished and was able to obtain his truck license, so he could work inside the truck as a driver.
His chance came and Trevor grabbed it. He passed his driving test with flying colours and was given a 15T rigid delivery truck to do local deliveries in. He was a good driver and the knowledge he’d gained as a diesel mechanic made him very hand to the transport company as he was able to diagnose and fix small problems on the go, or shut things down before any major damage happened. He was an owner’s ‘dream’ employee. Trevor worked hard, he grabbed extra trips when he could, and he saved hard. Eventually he saved enough to buy a 15 Tonne rigid delivery truck of his own and struck a deal with his employers to become a sub-contractor, as they wanted to help him get started in his own business rather than lose their ‘boy’ altogether.
You take the high road, I’ll take the – interstate
If deciding to go out on his own was a logical step for Trevor, then upgrading his 15 tonne rigid truck for a highway spec semi-trailer was the next logical step. Trevor arranged a trade-in on his old truck and scraped together the deposit for a 2nd hand highway spec Kenworth K102 and triaxle pan-tech trailer with air-bag suspension. It was a beautiful looking truck with candy apple colored metallic paint chrome tanks, alloy wheels, chrome exhaust stacks, chrome air filters and enough clearance lights to put a Christmas tree to shame
Again, Trevor former employers were happy to offer him a sub-contract deal to keep him in the fold, but this contract was only to take freight one-way to the capital city. Once there, Trevor was going to have to either come back empty or find some freight of his own to bring back. He didn’t mind, he was finally behind the wheel of one of the big trucks he’d admired from his earliest days. Now it was him going down through the gears and riding the exhaust brake, it was his turbo whistling as he dialed on the power and it was, he that was tooting his air horn at kids in their front years.
Trevor’s lucky break came in 2 tranches. The first was him winning his first big client. He’d towed vans for a 3PL company on his return leg quite a few times previously whilst sub-contracting and had been booked for another job on this particular day. But As Trevor’s truck was sitting on the loading dock, the dispatch supervisor that Trevor had got to know quite well, delivered the news to him that the company that had the prime contract had suddenly gone bankrupt and wasn’t able to load. He asked Trevor if he could still take this load and work direct for the 3PL company. He told Trevor that, there are 2 loads a day, if you can arrange subbies to pick up for you then it’s yours, we will just novate the contract to you. Trevor quickly worked through his contacts and arranged another truck for that day and 2 more for the day after. It wasn’t easy, but he was able to keep the freight moving and the 3PL company didn’t miss a beat.
Things couldn’t have been going better, but one fateful evening just as Trevor was edging towards his change-over point, inexplicably a removal van heading in the opposite direction veered across the median strip and hit Trevor’s truck head-on. There was nothing he could do to avoid it. It was a terrible fatal accident, with the driver of the van and his offsider dying upon impact. Trevor miraculously survived the impact but lay prone in the twisted wreckage writhing in agony. The mangled steering column collapsed, smashing his legs into many pieces and pinned him into the cabin, as the pungent smell of diesel from the ruptured chrome tanks overpowered him. Trevor would later say that the pain of his injuries paled into insignificance compared to the fear of being burned alive. Despite having horrific injuries, including losing his pulverized left leg, Trevor said that long after his injuries had healed, the mental scars remained.
The 3PL client was very understanding. He arranged temporary help through a freight broker, to fill the hole that Trevor had otherwise filled and had the phone numbers of the regular subbies that Trevor used from his previous load sheets, so he took it upon himself to arrange them as Trevor usually did. He told Trevor not to worry about anything and joked, “let’s just get you back up and on your foot again”
But it didn’t take Trevor long to recover enough to sit up in bed and start using his phone to ring around himself. He was grateful for the clients understanding and this had certainly cemented the relationship in his mind.
They say that fate is when things happen for a reason. Circumstances forced Trevor out of the truck and into the office, but it ends up being the best thing for his business. Trevor ends up focusing on running the operation like a professional, which he could never have done whilst he was still driving. He would have reached a natural limit where he simply had too much to do, but now he had the capacity for more. His core capabilities were that he’s great with customers and understands drivers. His point of difference to clients was that he would never let them down, even if it meant him staying awake all night to find someone. But now, having brushed death and with a new lease on life he was hungrier than ever to grow his business so he could leave behind an enduring legacy for his kids.
Trevor wins more business and he grows his operation and team. He had admin people answering the phones, accounts people sending and paying the bills, as well as workshop staff to maintain his growing fleet. Trevor loved buying trucks, it was a visible metric of growth in his mind, but he had an emotional attachment or ‘a thing’ about chrome tanks, clearance lights and 2nd hand American show trucks. But because he is buying the trucks from the outside in, rather than inside out, he has a range of engine and driveline combinations. Cummins, Caterpillar, Detroit, Eaton Fuller, Allison, and Rockwell. Routinely Trevor enters his trucks in shows and has magazine photographic features about his trucks.
He also buys a couple of big, expensive American Chevy Silverado 4×4 trucks, which he thinks will be great advertising the business and is about to lease a depot site in the city, because he’s currently paying a casual rate for using someone else’s depot on the odd occasion now and he thinks it will attract new clients. He feels that by the clients seeing that he has more substance they will award him contracts. It’s a bit of a build it and I hope they will come strategy.
Long Haul and frustration:
Everyone was working hard, nobody harder than Trevor though. Outwardly the company projected success, but the reality is that profitability was poor and cashflow terrible. Trevor was starting to understand that over specified show trucks, over the top overheads, delighting the customer + making a profit, are often conflicting priorities in the cut-throat road transport sector.
More than a few times Trevor has been caught short with cashflow. Seemingly out of the blue a BAS payment or PAYG instalment would jump out and Trevor would have to sell a spare truck or trailer in a hurry to get cash to pay his bills. Even though he knew the prices weren’t the best, it would give him a $200K chunk of cash and he could them go out and replace the asset when his cashflow was flowing again. He couldn’t quite work out if he was winning or losing doing this, but he simply didn’t know of any alternatives.
Trevor’s other problem was that the team that he’d built, including finance, HR and Admin, were the best people that he could find, with the salary he could afford to offer at that point in time. They had helped him grow to this point, they were loyal, hardworking and lived and breathed the company culture. He felt a deep sense of gratitude to them, but it didn’t stop the fact that he felt was flying by the seat of his pants, stressed out, worried about finances and getting pulled away from what he needed to be doing. Deep down he knew that this wasn’t an elite, top-shelf team of people, more so a group of technicians, who through no fault of theirs, were now standing in water in over their heads.
A cry for help:
After years of pushing himself to the brink of endurance and with the weight of the world upon him, Trevor went to see his trusted advisor Wilson for his routine annual appointment. When Wilson calculated that Trevor owed $120K in tax, he broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. He said “That $120K was to send my son to boarding school, for a better education. Now he can’t go. Why is it so hard, why?”
Wilson comforted his client and counseled him, offering “mate you need to work smarter not harder – you need to take a break also, you’ll end up killing yourself”
Luckily for Trevor, his accountant Wilson, being an ethical operator and always wanting the best outcome for his clients told him that while tax accountants like him were great at setting up clever, but legal, structures to minimise his tax and protect his assets, the internal financial management of the business wasn’t something they did particularly well, but they knew exactly who could help.
His accountant recommended that Trevor meets with an ex-CFO called Andrew who was running an outsourced Virtual CFO (otherwise called outsourced CFO or VCFO) business, that specialized in road transport companies. Trevor asked “Why do I need a CFO? What does a virtual CFO do for a small business?”
The Tax Accountant replied “Because your business has reached a critical point, where you can no longer manage without access to a seasoned, strategic and commercial thinker. Virtual CFO’s have that in abundance. Trouble is you can’t survive without one, but you haven’t yet reached the scale to be able to justify the investment in a full-time internal CFO.”
He went on, “Trevor, it’s a catch 22, the team you have can’t keep up with the bouncing ball, but you can’t afford to employ an expensive CFO. A Virtual CFO solves that problem because your SME can access the expertise on an as-needs basis.”
Trevor then asked, “how much would a virtual CFO cost?”
“Well, you only pay for it when you need it, so it works out to be a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO and much better value.” His accountant went on to explain
Trevor then asked, “what does a Virtual CFO do?”
“They manage the finances across all aspects of your business, as well as spanning the past present and future”, was the reply by the Tax Accountant.
5 Biggest Problems
Trevor agreed to meet with Andrew the Virtual CFO. Together they sat down for a coffee at Trevor’s favorite truck stop.
“Tell me Trevor, Wilson says things aren’t going so well” Andrew said
“It’s super frustrating Andrew” said Trevor, “
“Well Trevor” said Andrew, these are the 5 main problems that are fairly typical of Transport businesses that I think you’ll be having:
- You need to be clear and realistic about your strategy. For every dollar you spend trying to differentiate yourself, you need to get a return of more than a dollar, or it’s a waste. Is transport really more of a commodity, where price is the key determining factor for the client. Are good service and reliability just points of parity
- Your equipment needs to be fit for purpose and standardized. It needs to be you look at the leaders in this smart asset space, Southwestern Airlines, they adopt standardization. It means they carry less spares. Their staff need less training and they get better rates by buying consumables like filters etc. in bulk. Breakdowns are cashflow nightmares, so operating the most efficient drivelines over the lifetime of the vehicle should be the main selection criteria.
- A focus on utilization – carting full loads of fresh air for half the journey dilutes the effective per kilometer rate by half, whilst the marginal cost of operating an empty truck isn’t significantly lower than a full one.
- Overheads need to be proportional to and consistent with the strategy. If you are essentially competing on price, then Chevy trucks and mainly empty depots are expenses you can’t afford.
- Cashflow planning and daily management is crucial.
Trevor listened on intently as Andrew explained, Virtual CFO’s will embed the solid commercial foundations needed to manage the business properly. Without a holistic package of the 5-pillars of financial management; Strategy, Budgeting, Reporting, Forecasting and Cashflow Management, the company will continue to bounce from issue to issue out of control, flying by the seat of its pants.
Andrew told Trevor, “reliability and predictability are essential to both evaluate how your strategy is working currently, as well as having visibility of what lays ahead and the lead time to adjust if required. Planning becomes even more critical, as does strategic decision making.”
Trevor is interested enough to listen, intelligent enough to understand and determined enough to implement the 5-pillars of financial management that he had implemented with Andrews help.
Trevor was up and running, feeding reporting variances between the budget and actual numbers back into the constantly evolving strategy, recasting profit projections and changing assumptions in the forecast, taking cues back into the cashflow forecast.
Trevor implemented a bunch of Key Performance Indicators ( KPI’s) which were both leading ( looking into the future) and lagging ( looking over historical results) and created a dashboard ( he loved the dashboard !) for Trevor to take the daily / weekly and monthly ‘pulse’ of the business. He made some hard, emotional, but sensible decisions around his fleet and trimmed his overheads to eliminate waste and excess.
The best thing was, now Trevor was happy again and his customer focus came bounding back. Pretty soon Trevor was landing big contracts and operating a highly utilized fleet of trucks, making a good return.
Sometime later Trevor invited Andrew around for a catch up at his house. Andrew was shown in by the maid, to find Trevor perched back in his comfortable armchair, on the deck of his beautiful clifftop house with views spanning out over the water to the horizon.
Trevor takes a short pause, then looking out glistening bay, as the sun’s rays’ shimmer and the sets of waves roll in, goes on to say, “I still love trucks Andrew, I’ve never been more passionate, but I love trucks that are fit for purpose that someone other than me is willing to pay for”
In his humble way, Trevor went on “Andrew without your Virtual CFO help, I’d have probably gone broke, or worked myself to an early grave. Now my business is allowing my family to thrive. Thank you.”
——- — — ——————- ———– ————- ———— ———
The specialist skillset, such as that offered by a VCFO, can only be obtained from years of training and experience that goes well beyond bookkeeping and traditional compliance accounting. The difference between Virtual CFO’s and traditional accountants, and the difference between Virtual CFO’s and bookkeepers, is that besides being fully qualified CA’s and CPA’s, Virtual CFOs have many years of industry experience. That means they can communicate within and across organisations, speaking the same language, avoiding typical accounting jargon. They are team players because their reputation and success align with the organizations that they serve.
The first step for any growing SME is to recognize they have reached this point – then they need to find help, just as Trevor the Architect did. These businesses tend to have a much higher prospect of being successful.
Business owner’s like Trevor need to surround themselves with the right people with the right skills because the ramifications of getting it wrong can be devastating.
Virtual CFO’s communicate and act as a conduit between the many stakeholders and the owners. Virtual CFOs give the owners a credible sounding board for their ideas as they seek to seize growth opportunities, before they engage with external stakeholders, like shareholders, banks and lenders. Virtual CFO’s are a considerable asset when raising capital because they give those stakeholders confidence knowing the VCFO, who is an independent financial professional with integrity (CA or CPA) has done a prior sense check. A Virtual CFO also creates a buffer between the owner getting dragged into financial matters which distract them from focusing on their clients and growing their business.
David Dillon is a committee member of the Virtual CFO Association.
The Virtual CFO Association is an elite peer network, advocating and promoting the emerging Virtual CFO sector within the accounting profession. Collectively the association currently has over 500 years of industry experience, with highly qualified and experienced specialists spread across more than 20 industry verticals. If you would like any more information regarding the Association of Virtual CFO’s, please visit our website www.vcfoassociation.com.au
Everyone knows you wouldn’t try to dig a hole with a hammer. Both are good tools, the tool itself isn’t the problem, but you need to use the right tool for the job.
Flying by the seat of your SME pants?
Many SME owners are finding that “keeping up with the bouncing ball” as their business becomes more complex, has more moving parts etc, is harder and harder for them and their team. Most of these think if they have a tax advisor and a bookkeeper, they should have all their bases covered. But their, profitability is often disappointing, and they feel like they are being dragged away from what they should be doing (focusing on clients’ needs and delivering on promises) and pulled into a daily battle with their financial management problems. Even after they have ‘doused the spot fires’ they feel like they are flying by the seat of their pants. Does this sound familiar?
Tax Accountants and bookkeepers
A bookkeeper’s role is to record the day-to-day financial transactions of a business and bring the books to the trial balance stage. Over the years that role has changed dramatically with the advent of desktop accounting programs like Xero, QB’s and MYOB. These programs work with other efficiency enabling tools, that can scan images and code them and as a package it saves a bunch of time. But a bookkeeper is still only a bookkeeper, that just they are using power tools not hand tools.
Tax/advisors offer strategic advice to help accumulate and protect private wealth, using tax structures to legally minimise tax. Often the ‘touch points’ between client and advisor are relatively infrequent with a retrospective focus.
But here’s the thing; the best tax accountant in the country, using the cleverest tax structure has nothing to do until your business has a profit to push through the structure. Virtual CFO’s focus is to reduce inefficiency and maximise profit.
Virtual CFO’s are fully qualified accountants, with many years of commercial / industry experience to make them experts in businesses like yours. Most have worked in larger companies and have seen the systems and processes that are needed to successfully grow and have many years of experience working with boards of directors and C-suite executives as they thrash out strategies to survive and prosper.
To put some context around that, collectively, amongst the Virtual CFO Associations elite peer network we have over 500 years of industry experience spread across over 20 industry verticals. This gives our members a very compelling point of difference in the market. Confidence for members and comfort for clients.
Different Types of Accountants
The best way to explain the difference between accountants is imagining if accounting were a swimming pool.
Then split the pool length-ways in 2 halves. One half is public practice, the other half commercial. (see feature image):
Lanes are split by tax, audit, insolvency and restructuring. Commercial lanes are split by compliance, control and strategic support, with management accounting, financial accounting, treasury, systems, risk and compliance nesting beneath.
Small business is at shallow end, Big companies up the deep end.
At the shallow end, you can stand up, but at the deep end, you’ll sink if you can’t swim.
That’s why Big 4 (public practice) tend to stay in their lanes and specialise. The more laps you do in a lane, the bigger stronger and faster you become until you become a partner, or lane champion. They don’t try to swim across lanes at the deep end of the pool. They niche. The bigger the firms are, the deeper they can dig into a niche, say perhaps a Specialist Payroll tax expert in each state, that the other states can call upon. Smaller firms simply can’t do that and at best end up as “jack of all trades’
In commerce, experience allows you start to swimming across lanes. CFO’s generally prove they can swim across the pool at the shallow end, before they attempt it at the deep end, i.e. they work their way up to ASX100 companies, learning the ropes in smaller companies first. Industry verticals, such as manufacturing, retail, shipping, banking etc also come into it. Think of these like different swimming strokes. Sure, CFO’s can learn other industries, but the person swimming a medley isn’t as strong as a specialist. It’s the same for CFO’s – 10,000 hours is the accepted benchmark for understanding an industry well.
There is a definite sweet spot for Virtual CFO’s in the mid-tier range, the smaller companies probably haven’t reached a stage where they really need the full range in a VCFOs expertise, nor can they justify the investment. Larger companies generally have navigated through this stage of the business growth life-cycle to the other side and can justify a full-time CFO internally.
Tax advisors and bookkeepers are far better off when they acknowledge the value of a commercial financial management expert like a Virtual CFO to fill a void for their clients than attempt to do it themselves. Public Practice Accountants who see VCFO as an area they can learn and ‘upsell’ to their clients are often taking a huge risk, at the expense of their unsuspecting clients. Clients need the help and without the Accountant having the right skill set their needs will go unfulfilled or something far worse.
To put some context around that, collectively, amongst the Virtual CFO Associations elite peer network we have over 500 years of industry experience spread across over 20 industry verticals. Under our spirit of collaboration, we can call upon other members for specific industry or software experience. This gives our members a very compelling point of difference in the market. Confidence for members and comfort for clients.
Make sure you use the right tool for the dynamic financial management of your business – strategy, reporting, budget, forecast and cash flow management; use a member of the Virtual CFO Association.
David Dillon is a committee member of the Virtual CFO Association.
The Virtual CFO Association is an elite peer network, advocating and promoting the emerging Virtual CFO sector within the accounting profession. Collectively the association currently has over 500 years of industry experience, with highly qualified and experienced specialists spread across more than 20 industry verticals. If you would like any more information regarding the Association of Virtual CFO’s, please visit our website https://vcfoassociation.com.au/
What do I get from being a member of the Virtual CFO Association?
Aside from the core reason for belonging; being part of the ONLY elite group with the sole focus of advancing the emerging Virtual CFO sector, there are many other benefits and features:
We aim to mark out and protect out turf.
- How do we mark it out? As pioneers in the sector we know better than anyone what it takes to be good at VCFO. Using our credibility, we are at the forefront of educating the broader business community that not all accountants are equal. Our client’s testimonials are the ultimate validation. Our brand will become the mark of quality and clients will demand their Outsourced CFO
- Who are we protecting it from? Anyone who is offering VCFO services that doesn’t have the requisite expertise. We need the whole community to understand that done wrong, by incompetent or incapable people, VCFO can have harmful, devastating impacts on businesses and the lives of the owners and their families.
- The Website is our centrepiece. The committee is proposing to invest some funds into upgrading the website in the near future. The ‘find a member’ function provides clients a way look up member details and connect with them directly.
- Blogs – our members get access to our high value content guide and we both give the opportunity to and actively encourage them to write original, relevant, authentic and engaging, thought leader articles. The purpose of this content is to attract customers. We call these our digital hooks
- LinkedIn, – we have a dedicated VCFO page. https://www.linkedin.com/company/association-of-virtual-cfos/
We can link our Blogs to the LinkedIn page to amplify the reach. Members are expected to and encouraged to like or share other members articles. It is quite possible to have 10,000 people see the post. They say people need to see something up to 7 times before they act, so our content plan includes some repetition, but around half is original and unique, virgin content.
Articles are signed off with the following tag line, attributing the author.
XXXXXXX YYYYYY is a member of the Virtual CFO Association.The Virtual CFO Association is an elite peer network, advocating and promoting the emerging VCFO sector within the accounting profession. Collectively the association currently has almost 500 years of industry experience, with highly qualified and experienced specialists spread across more than 20 industry verticals. If you would like any more information regarding the Association of VCFO’s, please visit our website www.vcfoassociation.com.au
- YouTube channel – this gives us video capability. Again, we can link this back to other social media channels and run videos on the website.
- Events – we have held several successful events in the past. In 2017 we had panel discussions in both Sydney and Melbourne. Guests included Nick Bouris (Mentored.com), Carolyn Miller (The Honeycomb effect) and QuickBooks.
As well as our own events, we are trying to use our profile to raise our profile, by securing speaking opportunities at larger accounting conferences.
- Media – we have been quoted in the media on several occasions. Acuity Magazine has featured members and VCFO generally. It is an area that we intend to double down on in the coming months. We have made connections with Accountants Daily, AFR and Fairfax which we intend to issue press releases for significant milestones, such as member numbers, years of experience etc.
Best Practice Forum
- Private WhatsApp group – for quick “Does anyone know…, does anyone have…has anyone used” type guidance.
- Monthly Zoom meetings – ½ hour to 1 hour (depending on agenda – who attends etc) these give our interstate colleagues an opportunity to ‘meet’ and stay in touch. Our sub-committees
- 1/4ly Mastermind (face to face) are held in each location. Typically, these are reasonably informal, where members meet 7.00am -8.30am at a central, convenient and comfortable location, (like a city hotel) grab a buffet breakfast and chew the fat. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and giving members the opportunity to contribute.
Typical topics that are covered are like: risk / practice management / new software / extended network (lawyers, etc)
We believe that being able to tell your clients and prospective clients that you are part of a much bigger collective, who has almost 500 years of experience, across over 20 industry verticals is super powerful. Being able to draw upon capabilities and capacity that you don’t have, can remove barriers to winning a client. What’s more we don’t think there is another VCFO organisation in the country that can boast that.
- Industry specific Expertise
- Software expertise
- Capacity overload sharing resources
- White label or subcontract
- The 5 Principals
- No Poaching
Collaborating is beneficial to each other and the client. If you are introduced to someone else’s client, you are acting as their agent. Aside from breaking every ethical and moral code known to man, it is very uncool
Nobody likes having their time wasted chasing people for responses etc. Show the respect you’d expect someone to show you and your time. Be upfront and honest, don’t tyre kick and dick people around.
If you are asking for help, be as clear and complete as you can so others don’t have to keep going back and asking for information. Package things so they can be priced and to work out the expertise fit is right.
Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it, for the price you agreed. If you agree to a deadline, assume the client is expecting it.
When this is working at its best, members will reciprocate when they can. There is no firm obligation as such, clients need come first and foremost, but put back in what you take out overall and everyone will share the benefit.
Honestly this is the best $40 per month you could possibly spend on your business. There aren’t any $40 per month alternatives that come close.
The Association of Virtual CFO’s gives all members a separate, credible platform to showcase their expertise and extend your own sales funnel. We offer members encouragement and coaching on how to write great content. We amplify the reach beyond individual networks by engaging with each other’s content.
Be part of a collective of elite peers to bounce things off and ask for help. Don’t waste time and resources re-inventing the wheel.
Enjoy the synergies of being part of the only elite group with extensive expertise at its’ disposal – whose sole focus is to advance the emerging Virtual CFO sector within the accounting profession. Never again walk into a client meeting as ‘only you is it?’
If you would like any more information jump on the “What is a Virtual CFO?” Page and watch the videos or if you would like to obtain a free copy of our e-book “So, you want to be a Virtual CFO”
If you feel like this is for you – then jump on the “Membership” page above and fill out the ‘Apply for membership’ details. One of our guys will promptly be in touch.