FAQs

Why do I need a Part-time CFO?

Here are a number of reasons to utilize the Part-time CFO services of AimCFO:

  1. Small businesses need timely and accurate financial information just like a large company, but the reality is that few can justify a full-time CFO.  Often a full-time CFO in a small company ends up doing work that would be best left to a less skilled and less costly employee.
  2. If you cannot justify a full-time CFO and try to do without some of the critical insight a CFO can provide, you likely find yourself operating at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
  3. AimCFO can explain your financial results and alert you to both concerns and opportunities to improve your financial results and strength.
  4. If you are to grow, you must have valuable guidance to help you look into the future to help identify both opportunities and risks.

What happens if we are interested in using your services?

There are actually several things that happen:

  1. We will have an initial visit with you to discuss your needs.  This is a free consultation designed to learn more about your company and allow you to learn about AimCFO and our services.
  2. If we do not believe we are the correct choice for you company, we will say so.  We want our engagements to be a Win-Win proposition for all.
  3. If we believe we may be the resource you need, we will prepare a brief summary of our meeting.  This will outline what we understand your needs to be and how we believe can meet them.  Again, there is no charge for this.
  4. Once you have this report it is your decision as to whether you wish to proceed.

Do you have a written contract?

Much of our work can be done without a written contract.  However, we will at least provide a letter summarizing the services we will be providing.  Occasionally it is necessary to have a written contract, but this is primarily when the engagement is more complex and clarification is needed by both parties.

What happens if I decide I no longer need you?

Generally, our engagements are open-ended.  It can be as simple as you placing a call to request our help with a particular issue.  Either party can terminate the arrangement at any time.  If we do, we will make every effort to help you find and train a successor if you desire.  We will of course give a reasonable notice if we believe we are no longer the correct firm for you.  We do reserve the right to terminate our services at any time if there is a question of integrity or legality.

How do you charge for your services?

Generally we charge an hourly rate.  This rate can vary depending on the nature of the work to be performed, but it is always fair and equitable.  It is not uncommon that we will find you savings that surpass the cost of our services.  On occasion we may bill a flat amount for a project.  This is also a time when a contract may be in order so that the scope of the project is clear.  Two reasons we generally prefer an hourly rate is that there are less surprises for both parties and it helps clients remain in control of spending.

I am concerned whether I have the correct employees and whether they are properly trained.  Can you help me with this?

Yes.  We can be an active participant in recruiting and hiring your employees to help maximize the probability of hiring people who are a good fit for your organization.  However, in the end, you need to be sure that you will be comfortable working with anyone you hire.  We can also assist in training new employees to be sure that from the start they are familiar with policies and procedures.  Frankly, this is also a time that allows us to witness first hand where improvements can be made.

I have a CPA firm.  Why do I need you?

That is a great question and here are a few reasons:

  1. A CPA firm must maintain a level of independence from your business, particularly if they are going to perform attest functions such as audits and reviews.
  2. CPA firms are primarily focused strictly on the financial aspects of your business.  Through years of small business experience, AimCFO has developed a mindset of looking at the overall operations and how they impact the finances of your company.
  3. We are at your company during critical times when expert guidance is needed.
  4. We function more as an in-house CFO or Controller, but at far less than you would spend if you hired someone full-time.  CPA firms are not generally positioned to do this, and, as noted in number 1 they are limited in what they can do.
  5. A CPA firm will likely be much more expensive and here is why.  They will generally have a junior level person perform the actual work and a manager or partner will oversee them, though the manager or partner will not always be there with them.  Regardless, what you are billed will reflect the efforts of both the junior level person and the manager or partner.
  6. While we do not do the work of a CPA firm, we can prove to be an invaluable asset to help you work with your CPA more efficiently and effectively, thus helping to minimize your expenses incurred with them.  For example, if you are being reviewed or audited by your CPA, it is very likely we can prepare many of the schedules they need for much less that they can and more efficiently.

So why do I also need a CPA firm?

You need you CPA firm to prepare tax returns, perform audits and reviews, prepare business valuations, and various other things that are their specialty.  We are positioned not to compete with CPA firms but to really meet more of your recurring and special needs.  As such, we really complement your CPA firm.

I don’t currently have a CPA firm.  Do I need one and can you help me find one if I do?

Generally any small business needs a CPA firm at least on a limited basis.  Again, there is always going to be a need for tax return preparation at a minimum.  It is also very likely that you will need either a review or an audit, particularly if you have outsiders like banks and investors who depend on your financial information to make decisions.  We also believe that the larger you grow and the more complex your business, the better it is to at least have an annual review.

Yes, we can help you identify a CPA firm that can meet your needs.  We have worked with CPA firms over many years and have several that we like.  The right one for you will depend largely on your line of business and your specific needs.  For example, you may be a non-profit and it would be best if you can engage a CPA firm that has this as a specialty.  Additionally, some CPA firms do not perform audits, so that limits the clients that can utilize their services.

Who performs your work?

AimCFO, your employees under our directions, and occasionally temp staff are used to perform all work.  The decision is based on the actual work and always takes into consideration the cost.

Do you work on my company’s premises or at your own office?

Most work is best performed at your company.  Remember, as your part-time CFO we are by necessity using your computers and equipment just as if we were your employee.  This also allows access to needed information and your employees.  Occasionally we may perform some work in our office.  An example of this might be if we were preparing parts of a business plan.  We prefer not to take any of your records off premises.  If we do, we make a copy to take and you will know what we take.  We would never do this without first obtaining your permission.

In summary, what are the advantages of using AimCFO as our part-time CFO?

  1. You get professional level CFO services at a fraction of the cost of an in-house CFO.
  2. You have control over how much you spend to get the results you need.
  3. Unlike an employee, you make use of our services on an “as needed” basis.
  4. You have someone from outside to offer a fresh perspective on your business.  Because we have worked with a variety of businesses, we have had the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t and are constantly learning.
  5. We offer a liaison between you and your outside CPA firm.
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