What does a CFM firm do? Interim Duties, For One Thing

CFO & Co. is a Corporate Financial Management (CFM) firm, a new concept in accounting outsourcing.  Staffed top to bottom like a major league accounting and finance department with CFOs, controllers, and the rest of the accounting org chart, we provide our services via four basic types of engagements: part-time, interim/temporary, projects and tasks.

A recent Interim role

We were already serving as the part-time CFO when suddenly our client terminated its accounting staff, leaving an interim void to be filled. Because of our familiarity with the client’s business, books and personnel, we instantly stepped in and provided an accounting safety net and while we were at it, installed some financial infrastructure that was missing. Here’s the story.

Background. Our client had evolved from a start-up and hired us as their CFM firm.  Our CFO was serving as their part-time CFO, advising their CEO and quarterbacking their financial management.  When the crisis arose, our staff stepped in as their interim accounting department, getting bills paid, billing customers, paying payroll, assisting in office and human resource duties and closing their books.

Improving the systems.  First, we organized the Accounting, HR and Office Management areas (i.e., the back office) that showed signs of neglect.  Next, consistent with best practices, we improved the chart of accounts by grouping items in a more organized way and we set up project costing.  Using our templates, we implemented month-end closing work papers that documented the contents of all balance sheet accounts (this is the foundation of a good closing process).

During this time, we noted an unsustainable systemic weakness and inefficiency in expense reimbursements to the client’s widespread workforce. We initiated the issuance of corporate credit cards to employees and implemented our expense report template and policy to streamline and tighten up this vital function. We then set up online banking to download the many credit card transactions for easy coding and entry into the general ledger.

The happy ending. Finally, through our many contacts, we introduced our client to an outstanding Bookkeeper/HR Manager/Office Manager who they hired.  We then oriented her to the accounting and HR systems that we had refined while serving as their interim accounting department and seamlessly handed it off to her.  She inherited a more structured and streamlined department than existed prior to the crisis and was able to immediately hit the ground running.  Nary a beat was missed during this time and crisis was averted.

In this example, having us as their CFM firm proved quite valuable for this client.  It was like having insurance against a disaster.  We truly were their financial Swiss army knife.  CFO advice plus interim accounting services plus introduction to their new employee.  And all without fixed overhead.

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