Not every business starts out with a pristine financial management department. Likewise, most mid-size businesses can’t afford to hire one person for every tiny task related to finance. But you still need the kind of financial help a seasoned pro brings with them.
Too often, this need, combined with a common lack of financial know-how, leads business owners to make poor – or just uninformed – decisions on whom they bring in to fix things.
And one of the biggest mistakes made by business owners in these situations, besides picking the wrong person for the wrong job, is making hiring decisions at the incorrect time. Okay, so what’s the best time to hire financial help?
Well, you’re not going to like hearing this, but…
That all depends.
When you need a certain financial expert depends on the needs of your business and how they change over time.
But don’t worry – we’re going to break it down into three easy categories to give you a starting guideline as you begin to approach the topic of financial help:
Just starting out
For new businesses – and this includes new endeavors as well as businesses with no financial management strategy to speak of, not just small startups – the first hire needs to be a bookkeeper. And if you can find a good one, they will be your best hire, too.
After all, I’m guessing you won’t be handling all the transactional tasks. You know, depositing checks, filing sales tax returns, and preparing and paying the bills. Even if you have the expertise needed for these things, they likely aren’t chores you have time for.
So, a bookkeeper is a great way to get your foundational financial management in hand.
Getting more advanced
In this context, by “advanced,” we mean “more complex.” Complexity is a natural part of growth for any business, but it does bring with it more need for financial direction. For example, if your organization now has sales tax in more than one state or deals in higher-value items – basically, a higher level of compliance – it’s time to consider hiring a staff or senior accountant.
These experts typically have more training and more experience, equipping them to take on bigger and more vital functions and financial issues.
So, you’re growing and thriving, and now you have a little more flexibility to take your financial management a level further. You’ll need either a controller or a CFO – depending on whether you need someone with a purely financial focus (controller) or a balance between finance and operations (CFO).
Both professionals can help you handle growth mode as efficiently as possible, whether you’re looking to set yourself up to make an acquisition or even sell your business down the road.
At the end of the day, you know your goals and where you want to see your organization go. You just need some financial help along the way to get there.
P.S. – Remember, bringing on a new professional does not have to mean dropping six figures each year on a full-time employee. Outsourcing is a great option for lots of business owners out there, and it may help you get the perspective and insight you need without breaking the bank.
Want the full layout of how all the different financial pros work, and what they can do for you and your business’ trajectory? Get the entire story here. And if you’re ready to get going towards that bright financial future, let’s talk.