Any successful business is sales-driven. At Nperspective, we’ve come across numerous fast-growing businesses guided forward by a driven entrepreneur that serves as the company’s chief salesperson. It’s not uncommon to see a business with a tremendous amount of sales, only to see much of the cash inflows wasted on poor systems, administration and controls. Enter the accountant.
What does an in-house accountant do? It’s easy to simply say that an accountant manages the company’s books, but in a more complex world, the “bean counters” offer a lot more than being good at math and numbers.
You may have come across the term “Controller” being used as a job for an accountant working for a company. As the name implies, part of a Controller’s function is to oversee some type of control over the business so that certain areas of the business don’t get out of hand, which could end up costing the business a lot of money.
A Controller helps with the overall strategy of the business in several areas, such as managing cash flows. While a bookkeeping clerk could account for bills and make sure they are paid, a Controller would be involved in such matters as which suppliers should be used, and how soon or late should they be paid. There are strategies that can be viewed in all aspects of the business, including payroll collections, regulatory compliance, banking, record-keeping, and managing the business with an eye toward tax minimization.
A competent Controller should be able to create systems and procedures that help a business run smoothly and achieve its goals.
But wait, there’s more. If you’re in a growing business, you’re likely entering into agreements that have something to do with dollar signs. The importance of having an in-house financial professional review those agreements can’t be understated. It could make millions of dollars of difference to the future of your business (if you keep growing, yes, millions). While a lawyer may review agreements to protect legal interests, an accountant does so to protect financial interests.
A business that interacts with banks, auditors, suppliers, customers, and employees will only benefit by having an experienced accountant on board. If your business continues growth where there are multiple locations in different jurisdictions, or if outside investors are involved, you then could have a need for an even higher-level financial executive, typically referred to as a Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”). Investigating ways to raise growth capital, understanding how to enhance the value of the business and managing a multi-location expansion are all attributes that a good CFO would have.
Your business may be strong in some areas, and weak in others, and at one point or another, addressing a particular weakness may be critical. In my experience, the three biggest areas where a business could lose money without initial or ongoing attention are:
1) entering into bad agreements
2) regulatory compliance failure
3) tax issues
Having good in-house financial expertise on your side would mitigate, if not eliminate, the exposure a business has to these risks. If your business is experiencing rapid growth, the stress on the business would make any hidden weakness even more of a threat to your success. Clearly the sooner that a business can address its weaknesses, the greater are the opportunities for the future.
Would you like to learn how Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services can help your business? Click HERE to schedule a call.