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Posted: 11 August 2016

Are you Receiving a CFO Service from your Accountants?

Issue 0055

Do you know that there are accountants/advisors around Australia who are committed to supplying a Virtual Chief Financial Officer (CFO) service to their small/medium enterprise clients?

ESS Small Business and ESS BIZTOOLS have developed material for those accounting/advisory businesses to utilise, to give you a more effective service and to give you the products that you’ve asked for as an industry of small/medium enterprises, in survey after survey over the last 15 years.

In fact, the ESS Small Business and ESS BIZTOOLS’ package gives accountants/advisors access to a wide range of information and products that they can utilise to help you add value to your business.

One of the key articles we’ve prepared is a summary of what public companies are looking for when they hire a CFO or chief accountant. You might say, “I’m not a public company”. However, it’s amazing how many of the services that public companies have listed that they require from CFOs, which also apply to small/medium enterprises. I was a CFO in a listed public company some years ago. I can assure you that there are many similarities.

The problem you and most of your colleagues have, as small/medium enterprises, is that you haven’t got a CFO person in your organisation available on a daily basis.

There are accountants/advisors around Australia who are committed to supplying a Virtual CFO service and, with modern communications, technology and computer programs, there’s no excuse that accountants/advisors can’t supply a Virtual CFO service to you.

The days of accountants/advisors only supplying taxation services are gone! There’s a lot more to running a business than worrying about tax returns. The information you really need is the kind of information which will help you run your business more effectively.

Accountants/advisors who are committed to offering a Virtual CFO service can offer you pre-prepared packages of services that they’re able to offer. Alternatively, they’re happy to sit down and tailor a program to suit your specific requirements. Of course, to work with the team that you already have. You may have a very capable bookkeeper who can do a significant part of the work that might otherwise have been allocated to a CFO.

However, there will always be some activities on which you will need an external input, including analysing your budgets and cashflow forecasts and making sure that your monthly financial accounts are being prepared to suit your requirements.

Management Accounts

If you have five different businesses operating within your business, why not have five separate Profit & Loss Accounts that are prepared for management, not for the ATO. Your accountant can consolidate all those into one Profit & Loss Account at the end of financial year to submit to the ATO. Preparing financial accounts for submission to the ATO is required, however this process doesn’t help you run your business or add value to your business. Accountants/advisors need to be supplying you with the services that will help you operate on a day-to-day basis.

Key Performance Indicators

Have you sat down with your management team and asked them whether they understand the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? Incidentally, are you receiving KPIs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? The key is do your managers understand what these indicators mean? If not, your accountant/advisor, acting as a CFO, should be able to sit down and inform them as to the basis of these calculations.

Indeed, there are government grants around at present for skills development for which your accountant/advisor could assist you to apply, to introduce a special skills training program, to ensure that your management team and your team clearly understand what all the financial information means, to help improve your business performance.


Are you benchmarking your performance against commercial benchmarks? There’s a great organisation in Australia,, which produces benchmarking reports. You could also prepare a benchmarking report exercise with other businesses with similar industry background to you. They could be situated in any part of Australia, thus enabling your business to be compared to a number of other businesses.

Accountants/Advisors can Assist

There’s a tremendous opportunity for you to influence the type of services that you’re receiving from your accountant by asking them to submit to you a proposal to undertake a Virtual CFO service for your business. You can say, “You don’t know these types of accountants.” We’ve got the answer for you.

Visit and click on “Find an Accountant/Adviser” menu tab. All you need to do is to type in your postcode and the system will then show you accountants/advisors in or near your postcode who are committed to supplying a wide range of commercial services, namely business advisory services. You can then make contact with them and have a no obligation conversation with them, to see the types of services that they can offer to your business. You will then need to make a decision on what you’re going to do on the supply of these types of services to your business.

Remember, accounting relates to far more than taxation. Taxation is not the only activity that accountants/advisors can do for your business.

If you have any further questions, please send me an email -

Are you Receiving a CFO Service from your Accountants?

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