Chief Financial Officer (CFO) - noun: The person responsible for managing financial actions of a company. Duties include tracking cash flow and financial planning as well as analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and proposing corrective actions. - Investopedia.com
Okay. You may not own a company - or maybe you do - but that’s irrelevant. If you have success, chances are you have money issues.
- Do you pay too much in taxes?
- Are you protecting your assets?
- Where should you be saving money?
- Where should your income be coming from?
- What should you invest in?
- Should you carry debt?
The list goes on, but the bottom line is this: Who is acting as your CFO?
Once you are successful, the next step is how do you keep it? Which is the job of a CFO: tracking it, planning with it, analyzing it, and making recommendations.
Most successful people start out being their own CFO, because most successful people are self-starters. If their success continues, however, they soon outgrow their own abilities and those of GOOGLE.
It is the same with business. If you outgrow your situation, you hire someone, something, or outsource it. In other words, you delegate it. If it is in a specialty arena, you are probably pretty picky with that delegation, but you find a way.
People tend to outgrow their success often and more than once. This is the only way we can keep growing. However, we can also unintentionally start peddling backwards.
One of the most successful individuals I have met was just like this. His business kept growing leaps and bounds until he became so wrapped up in his own CFO work that his business began to suffer. The unfortunate part of this story is that he waited too long. By the time he threw his hands up, his business was lost. He was selling outdated technology. His so-called success “priorities” kept him from innovating and staying ahead of his competition.
This gentleman would be the first to tell you, “Don’t ask how, ask who” and… “the sooner the better!”
So, who is your who? Who is your personal CFO? The answer is not your bookkeeper. It is not your accountant. It may not even be your financial advisor. These people may do parts of the CFO job, but they usually are not doing all of it.
A good personal CFO is versed in a multitude of areas, but an expert at none in particular. They need to know tax planning, financial planning, risk management, retirement planning, estate planning, business planning, liability planning, and various other areas. They need to have a good idea of what tools are out there so they can look at your picture holistically. They also need an excellent understanding of your current situation, future and goals, family dynamics, and their feelings about these different areas.
So, who is your personal CFO? Who is going to help you keep and maximize your success?
Final words of wisdom: If we aren’t your personal CFO now, it might be worth a conversation. However, we may not be a good fit. We can’t really help people that don’t want to be helped.
If you’re in the market for a personal CFO, give yourself a gut check. Are you really ready to let someone help you? Are you ready to look at things for how they really are? Are you ready to gain different perspectives? Are you ready to pull triggers without micromanaging everything yourself?
If the answer is no, don’t bother. Put this commentary on the back burner and pull it back up next year.