What does Root Canal treatment and Virtual CFO have in common?

Nobody WANTS to get a root canal treatment. Until you’ve NEEDED root canal treatment you can’t possibly imagine the pain you experience prior to getting it done.

What starts as a tooth being sensitive to high and low temperatures or pain when chewing quickly escalates if bacteria gets inside the pulp leading to a continuous, throbbing pain caused by an infection inside a tooth. If you’ve ever felt it, it will be etched in your mind forever thereafter.

I got my first one at 32. Until then, I’d never even had a filling. Maybe this was why I had become complacent and had missed a couple of annual check-ups. In my defence, I’d also relocated to another city, moved apartments a few times and changed jobs twice and didn’t have time to look for a dentist. I’d also clearly overestimated my teeth brushing skills as well as completely underestimating the downside to getting it wrong.

Turns out, there was a dentist on another level of the city office building I worked in, next to them a teeth whitening clinic and an orthodontist. People in my office called the Dentist the ‘torture chamber’, hardly a glowing endorsement. I’d have a little chuckle as they came back from ‘the chamber’ with the side of their faces all droopy, drooling and unable to speak. Hilarious, until the day my own tooth started to feel sensitive to hot and cold drinks.

I did what most first timers do – ignore it and hope it will go away.

But it didn’t. It got progressively worse. It was throbbing so bad that one day I rode the elevator down from Lvl 15 to the torture chamber and begged for an appointment. I was desperate. Anything, early, late, a last-minute cancellation, anything to stop the pain.

People fear root canals because they assume they are painful, but procedure itself is usually no more painful than getting a filling. Afterwards if it hurts, you just take a couple of Panadol and it usually settles down pretty quickly. The relief is immense and the gratitude to the skilful dentist enormous.

Numerous follow up appointments later, to re-clean the cavity, to measure and fit a titanium post, before placing a porcelain crown over the top and I now had a structurally sound, pain free tooth (that cost about the same as a small car).

But the big lesson learned was not to ignore it and hope that the pain goes away and next time to take action and book an appointment with the dentist much earlier.

What’s this got to do with Virtual CFO?

Imagine your routine annual dental check-up and your trip to your tax accountant as being similar. You get a de-scale and clean and a ‘once-over’ but there is only so much they can do in this brief encounter. It’s more about compliance and ticking the box that you’ve done it.

However, in between visits is when you usually run into problems.

If you are a ‘first-timer’ feeling some financial pain in your business, you might be inclined to do nothing and hope the pain goes away. (sound familiar?)

But if it doesn’t, you’ll be continually stressed out about money, constantly getting dragged away from what you should be doing and into finance problems, whilst finding it impossible to switch off when you get home. Eventually the pain will be so unbearable you’ll be begging someone for help. It’s no longer a want by this stage, it’s an urgent need.

At this point it’s critical to make sure your accountant isn’t the dental equivalent of a orthodontist or teeth whitening clinic who specialise in a different area (cosmetics) to the root canal expert.  You need someone who can take the pain away. But accountants, like dentists, are not all the same. You need an Accountant who is an expert at removing the pain of poor strategic financial management.  An Accountant who can get rid of the uncertainty and chaos and make your business reliable and predictable, so you can focus on your clients needs and grow your business.

CFO’s are the expert accountants in this specialist area. BHP and other great, successful companies don’t need convincing about the merits of a CFO to lead their strategic financial management. But smaller companies can’t justify a huge full-time internal overhead ‘chewing away’ at their bottom line, so the best option for them is a Virtual CFO, who can put you back in control and keep you on track, but on a part-time or as-needs basis.

If you are not a first-timer and you’ve experienced excruciating ‘pain’ before in your business, you be wise enough to know not to wait until becomes unbearable before you do something about it next time.

David Dillon is the President 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 almost 600 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