finance Archives - CFO Centre Australia

Tell Me Why I Need A Part Time CFO

Tell Me Why I Need A Part Time CFO

You are the owner or CEO of a medium size business. You already have an in-house accountant and an external public accountant. Why might you need another finance person?

Here are 8 reasons why a part-time CFO will be beneficial to your business:


CFOs will normally have substantial hands-on commercial business experience (see point 3 below). Accountants are more skilled in their areas of expertise, but typically don’t have that depth of hands-on operational commercial experience. The skill sets are different, but complementary. The three finance professionals, working together as a team, can produce substantial benefits.



You need good information to make good business decisions. For example:

  • FORWARD LOOKING reports, such as cash flows and order/sales forecasts
  • NON FINANCIAL information such as key operational KPIs
  • Customer, territory, sales channel, service and product profitability
  • More frequent high-level timely reporting on key business indicators i.e. the weekly dashboard

CFOs can provide business intelligence reporting, specific to that unique business’s characteristics and challenges. They are generally more experienced at   “management accounting” i.e. providing the right information which management need to run the business. Management accounting is very different from what the tax accountant uses, or what generic software P&L reports provide.



Most CFOs are professionally trained accountants, who then move to commercial roles. Normally it would take at least another 10 years of commercial experience to become a CFO. In these corporate roles, CFOs often partner with the CEO as their right-hand person, thus acquiring extensive commercial and operational experience. They often have project management, IT, risk management, internal controls/processes and administration experience.



 The part-time CFOs:

  • Can focus on finance, admin, and IT thus freeing up the CEO to focus on the business
  • Pass on best practices and techniques learnt in corporates
  • Be a sounding board, mentor and advisor
  • Be a long-term relationship-based partner who takes the time to really know the business



  • You pay for the level of engagement that you need, in contrast to the fixed high costs of a full-time CFO
  • Both retainer and time spent fee structures are available



The CFO Centre has over 750 CFOs. When you engage with a CFO from The CFO Centre, you can effectively tap into this global network which has in excess of 10,000 years of experience and knowledge.



The CFO Centre are the global number 1 provider of part-time CFOs, Hiring a part-time CFO from The CFO Centre will give banks, suppliers and other partners added confidence to deal with the company.



Take advantage of experienced commercial professional, on a flexible structure determined by the client, at a fraction of the cost of a full time CFO.



For SMEs who have grown in size and complexity, but not yet reached a size where a full-time CFO is required, the “part-time”, or  “on-demand” CFO could be the solution.

Written by Gary Campbell. Gary is a CFO with The CFO Centre in Victoria, Australia. He is particularly successful at profit improvement, financial turnarounds, reporting and risk management within manufacturing and distribution sectors. He can be contacted at [email protected], or you can contact us here

How to be More Strategic and Successful in 2023

How to be More Strategic and Successful in 2023

The impacts of covid-19 will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

We’ve seen new businesses birthed with success and others thriving amid chaos. We’ve seen neighbourhood classics tragically lost, and others that struggle to survive day-to-day.

Critical points like these thrust every business owner from acting with strategic intention to reacting to curveballs. As we are coming to the end of 2022, most businesses are settling into one of three camps:

  1. Thriving, but not trusting the success
  2. Reviving but hesitant to make bold moves
  3. Surviving and feeling battered, bruised and disillusioned

No matter which category you fall into, you likely are eyeing the rest of 2022 with caution. You’re optimistic but timid in your approach to making those big visionary goals you’ve made in the past. You may even find it hard to dream of a better future because it feels so out of touch with what is happening globally. You are not alone in those feelings.

Now is the opportunity to rewrite the rules and stop settling for less in your business. It is the opportunity to cast a strategic vision that is different from the past and to create more success and growth in your business and your life. Here are some ways you can make it happen.

1. Accept that change is necessary

Change is difficult, but it is for-ever ongoing for small-business owners. And change is happening at a frightening pace.

You’ve likely noticed that the old reliable ways of getting clients and serving them are faltering. The to-do list of things that need your attention is never ending. It’s time to put them to bed.

If change is already happening in your business, why not get ahead of it? When you are reacting to these changes, you treat the symptoms. The better approach is to embrace change to treat the problem.

By treating the problem, you employ change to work with you, not against you. People are likely to welcome strategic change now—especially if the change makes their lives better too.

One way to bring agility and innovation into your business is to implement a quarterly strategic planning and review process into your business. This planning keeps your efforts focused, actionable and accountable while remaining agile and able to shift as new learnings come to the table.

As part of the process, ask yourself these questions.

  • What would disrupt your business enough to change everything?
  • How can you be on the leading edge of that change?
  • How can the business be relevant and profitable five or even 10 years from now?

 2. What does the customer really want / need?

The old rules of supply and demand have gone. Through issues with manufacturing and distribution, product-based businesses feel the pinch. Changing client needs and social distancing have left recession-proof businesses struggling. Service-based businesses are finding that their services are no longer crucial or needed. No business or business model has been unaffected.

The reason is simple: The customers’ needs and their problems are in a constant state of change.

Engaging in a conversation with your clients to identify opportunities is a perfect strategy moving forward. The strategy could be as simple as asking a probing question at the end of every client interaction. It could also be more involved such as surveys or quarterly client advisory groups, to follow a more formal process.

More than ever, staying in tune with the customers’ needs and the problems you can solve is imperative. It is the gateway for future growth and innovation.

3. Work smarter, not harder

Australian culture is all about hard work. If you have struggled to achieve your goals, you’ve likely heard someone telling you to work harder.

Since the rise of intellectual capital as a commodity in the 1980s, the ability to be successful is less about our ability to work hard. Many business owners have told me how hard they work only to find success seemingly out of their reach. Evidence that success is not about hard work.

Sure, success demands focus, determination and resilience. But I challenge the notion that hard work is one of the requirements. If it were, we would have more success stories to celebrate.

Working smarter is about leveraging the talents of people and collaboration. When you remove hurdles and bottlenecks in your processes, you promote ease. It’s the processes that are often the problem. That which is easy gets accomplished. That means being able to produce more revenue with the resources you have. You likely will see a boost to team morale and stop spending time putting out fires.

It leverages technology and systems to streamline the business, allowing it to run smoothly. According to Gartner Research, by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyper automation technologies with redesigned operational processes.

Consider which elements of your client experience and service could be delivered through automation, saving critical points for human interaction and forward looking strategies for your business. The organisational efficiencies gained can offset growth investments and produce a more efficient team.

4. Profit is the aim, not a reward

One of the most misleading entrepreneurial and inspirational quotes is: “Follow your passion and the money will follow.” If only things were that simple.

If success is a reward of hard work, this quote puts profit on the same unattainable pedestal. Passion for what you do gives you fire in your belly and can bring a sense of contribution. At the end of the day, though, passion doesn’t pay the bills; prolific profit does.

By shifting your mindset around profit and other metrics in your business, a magical change in how you spend your day occurs. You start focusing on initiatives that produce results and impact your bottom line.

A 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose study found that “78% of Americans believe companies must do more than just make money; they must positively impact society as well.” This marriage of purpose and profit is an instance where everyone wins. Clients love supporting social impact; businesses can be profitable and improve their community and world in the process.

For many of my clients, bringing profit up on the priority list, even with reduced revenue, is the defining element of rebuilding business stability.

5. Be a confident leader who empowers others

The entrepreneurial trials of the economic crisis have shaken the confidence of even the most experienced entrepreneurs. We are questioning everything in our professional and personal lives. Whispered conversations with other entrepreneurs over the year let us know that we are not alone in that journey.

With this period of reassessment, the future feels less certain. That uncertainty erodes our confidence to take risks and make bold moves. Past success, “knowing” and being right are pillars in the old definition of confidence.

Be careful—that shaken faith also seeps into our teams’ bones. They want something to champion.

There is good news that can breathe new life into your confidence. You do not need all the answers. You do not even need to know the “how” beyond “what is the best next step?” And, you don’t even need to be right.

Empowering others is what defines the success of top leaders. What got you here has centered around who you are and what you can accomplish. Those accomplishments won’t fuel the future. Relying on your efforts alone is a limiter when scaling your business — even in strong economic times. The old definition of confidence was about what you could do. Your future confidence needs to be about your team and the belief in what the team can do.

For 2023 to be the beginning of your comeback story, you need to take action differently enough to move the needle in your business. Make bold moves that advance and protect your business. Marry your vision to these tips, and you could be looking at a successful year.

Peter O’Sullivan, The CFO Centre

External Funding Options for Your Growing Business

External Funding Options for Your Growing Business

Your Guide to Business Financing

Getting external financing to fund your company’s growth will depend on your plans, how willing you are to give away a stake, and, therefore, control in the business, your eligibility, and the short-term or long-term funding you need.

How to finance your business growth

Bank finance

Banks can offer you:

  • Unsecured business loans. These will have fixed repayments (including interest) over a set time frame. The amount and the interest rates will depend on the bank and your circumstances.
  • Secured business loans. To obtain a business equity loan, you’ll need to offer your company collateral or assets as security (for example, property, inventory, or equipment). The amount you can borrow will depend on the value of the assets.
  • Buy-to-let loans and commercial mortgages. These are suitable if you’re looking to buy or remortgage business premises.
  • These are more suitable for short-term financial support when your company has a cash shortfall.
  • Business credit cards. Again, these are probably best for short-term support.
  • Invoice finance. It will mean you can access cash that is otherwise tied up in outstanding invoices. It’s ideal if your company offers long payment terms to customers or if you need to grab growth opportunities.
  • Asset finance. This allows you to make small regular payments for an asset rather than a large, one-off payment. It is ideal If you want to preserve your working capital and generate income from an asset as you pay for it.

Angel investors and venture capitalists

If you’re willing to offer a share of your company or equity, you could approach third party investors such as angel investors or venture capitalists (VCs).

You might not have to repay their investment, but the share they will want in return is likely to be high.

Alternative investment markets

You could also consider alternative finance options. These include crowdfunding and peer-to-peer funding.

  • Crowdfunding. In return for early access to your products/services, discounts, or an equity stake in your company, you can raise the money you need from a crowd of small investors.
  • Peer-to-peer lending. You can borrow from individual small investors. If your application is successful, you’ll probably be able to borrow more than you would through a bank and access the funds quicker.

The criteria for the loan might not be as stringent as a bank, but the costs might be similar.

Is your company eligible for funding?

Banks and investors often use what’s known as the CAMPARI method to decide if your company is eligible for funding. That is:

  • C This incorporates everything from your professionalism and brand reputation to your company’s record in repaying loans.
  • A This is about you and your team’s knowledge and expertise and how successful you’re likely to be to generate growth from the financing that investors are being asked to provide.
  • M This is about how well your business is equipped to meet your growth plans. Investors will want to see your Return on Equity (ROE), growth projections, your competitive advantage, detailed financial reports, performance record, and a comprehensive expenditure report.
  • P Investors will want to know how you will use the funds and how they will help to boost the company’s financial situation or generate a profit.

For example,  if you have no liquidity in the business but need it to fulfil an order or if you need a type of machinery to be able to increase your product or service range.

  • A This is about showing investors how you came to decide on the level of funding you’re applying for.
  • R Investors need to be convinced you can afford any repayments. They’ll look in particular at your cash flow and profit margins.
  • I This is all about showing investors you have a fallback position if things go wrong. They’ll need to be convinced you have another source of repayment should you need it.

Get expert help

To make it more likely your company is considered eligible for funding, it is advisable to get expert help.

For example, The CFO Centre has part-time CFOs with experience in approaching banks and major financial institutions, angel investors, VCs, and alternative lending markets for funding on behalf of their clients.

We can help and guide you through every step of the funding preparation and application process.

Why SME’s shouldn’t ignore Risk Management

Why SME’s shouldn’t ignore Risk Management

Many people think that risk management is only for large corporations. This is not the case! Risk management is a NECESSITY FOR EVERY BUSINESS. The hard part is to properly align risk management processes to each unique organisation.

The world is undeniably riskier. Change is ever more rapid, and this has been accelerated by COVID. Increasing digitisation of business processes will inevitably increase cyber-security risk. The world is still highly connected, and McKinsey estimate that supply chain shocks will reduce profits by 42% of annual EBITDA profits every 10 years. Geopolitical risk, climate change, border closures and business disruptors (new business models, social media etc) will all play a part.


It’s important not to let risk slip off the radar, and for to you be aware of possible issues. Talking to people in your industry can give you insights from other perspectives. Being sucked into day to day operations can leave no time to think about strategy and risks. Moreover, when implementing these strategies, try to consider the related risks by staying close to your business analysis and industry trends.  Talking to a CFO, who with a wealth of experience and a fresh pair of eyes may give you new perspectives and insight!


Decide how much risk you are willing to accept. This depends on the operational and financial strength of the organisation, as well as the business strategy and your risk versus return profile. What’s the takeway? Risk is part of doing business, but make sure it is within your limits, and you are in control.


  • Understand how to mitigate risk, e.g. insurance, experts, financial tools or internal controls.
  • Work on simple scenario modelling to understand implications and solutions. Simple cyber security audits can also be useful.
  • Curtail activities that exceed your risk limits.
  • Restructure staffing so that owners/managers have some time to think about risks and strategy.
  • Ensure risk management is embedded in the organisation.
  • Ensure internal controls are in place so you have confidence that risks are controlled and reported.

Risk management is a must do. To be successful it needs to be correctly sized, using appropriate techniques. If this is not done, risks can damage or destroy the business. Too complex and it will detract from the real world task of running the business (and probably wont get done anyway!).

Gary Campbell is a CFO Centre Principal based in Melbourne, Australia, advising SMEs on finance, strategy and governance. He is a qualified accountant, MBA, and graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors. He can be contacted on [email protected]

3 Steps to Scaling Your Business Through Reporting

3 Steps to Scaling Your Business Through Reporting

A client recently said to me: “I want to grow our business and stop the cash burn – how do we do this? When is it the right time to invest and grow?”

What a tough question to answer. Each business is at a different stage.

We spent a day examining his business and determining what the growing pains were. He had started the business a few years ago and it grew from scratch.

It was generating a great turnover and growing but they never had any cash.

“Why?” he asked.

After reviewing the business financials it was quite clear that the internal systems were not in place. He could not possibly understand the profitability of the products they were selling due to these inadequate systems.

Therefore they could not take the next step.

The first question I asked was: “Where do you want to take this business – what’s your goal? To build up the business and exit down the line, or are you looking to exit now? Or is this business a keeper if we can generate a great RoI?”

The response was: “We don’t know the numbers or where this business could get too as we have no clarity on the numbers”.

Something I see very commonly here in the SME businesses I work with – no clarity around the financials.

Next Steps

Step one for this particular client was to build a reporting framework around their products to determine what was profitable and what as not. If there were non profitable products (or those that deliver little profitability), should we dump them or only include them bundles in the online offering?

Step two: Build a fully flexible 3-way financial model (P&L, Cash Flow and Balance Sheet) for the next 3 years. Play around with the assumptions, i.e what other products can we put into the offering to customers?

Step three: Monthly reviews against the plan – what worked, what didn’t work and the whys around both.

The right time for a business to grow is when they can balance new customer demand with their internal systems and processes. Moreover, in the instance of this client, increasing recurring revenue streams. Growing faster generally costs more per customer as they need to engage more expensive channels within the business model.

Scalability is about continuing to engage customers with new offerings, and to engage new customers with your offering to the market.

To scale a business one must consider how the business model will affect the bottom line when you expand operations. If you have low capital expenditure and can grow your business with the same revenue / expense % it is much easier to deliver greater numbers in the long term and provide greater options to your customers.

It is early days working with this client but the potential is endless.

Top 7 Advantages of a Part-Time CFO

Top 7 Advantages of a Part-Time CFO

If you are an SME and want your company to achieve its goals quickly, you should consider hiring a part-time CFO.  One of our clients recently said “it’s the best money I’ve ever spent”.

That’s because a part-time CFO will provide your company with the high-level financial expertise necessary to increase profit, improve cashflow and scale up, for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO.

Here are the top seven advantages you can expect when you hire a part-time CFO.

  1. Increased Profit

The number one thing most business owners want!  Having a part-time CFO on your team, with their years of commercial experience across many industries, they can increase profits of most businesses by tweaking the levers every business has to increase profit.  For this reason alone, it’s worth considering a part-time CFO.

  1. Strategic advice

Your part-time CFO will provide you with strategic analysis and support on every financial aspect of your business. A report from the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) found CFOs play key roles in not only managing a company’s finances but also in setting broader strategic goals and establishing and achieving financial and non-financial milestones.  What’s more, part-time CFOs can highlight potential threats or risks of which you and your team may be unaware or perhaps don’t know how to deal with.

  1. Flexibility

You can use the services of your part-time CFO for what you need, when you need it. That could be for a variety of different financial functions or a specific project. This means you and your CFO can tailor the role to suit your company’s needs at any time.

  1. Multiple industry experience

Although you can choose to work with part-time CFOs who have direct experience in your given industry, you can also opt to work with those that have experience across multiple industries. The advantage will be that your CFO will provide you with access to networks and multi-layered insights that you might not otherwise have.

  1. Sounding board

Running a company can often be a lonely and stressful experience for CEOs, according to The CFO Centre’s Chairman Colin Mills in his book ‘Scaling Up How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash.  He’s seen first-hand what pressure does to business owners.

“I’ve sat in sales meetings with entrepreneurs who had literally been brought to tears by stress and frustration and the feeling that it’s all too much.”

That’s where a part-time CFO can help. He or she can act as an independent sounding board for the over-burdened, stressed-out business owner. With their ‘big business’ experience, it’s more than likely CFOs can provide solutions to what can seem like overwhelming problems to the CEOs of growing businesses.

  1. Access to a national and international network

If you choose a part-time CFO from an organisation like The CFO Centre, you’ll benefit from the expertise from all the CFOs in its worldwide network. That’s hundreds of years of experience in every aspect of finance—all for a fraction of the cost of employing a single full-time CFO.

  1. Enjoy life through your business, sooner

With the help of a part-time CFO, your business will start delivering on what’s really important to you so you get to live the life you choose (eg. more time with family, more time on rather than in your business).

To discover how The CFO Centre will help your company, please call us on 1300 447 740, go to our website, or watch our short video How it Works.

Protect Your Company from Late Payments

Protect Your Company from Late Payments

When your company is facing yet another cash flow crisis caused by late-paying customers, it can be hard to believe there might be a solution. But there are steps you can take to overcome the problems delinquent payments cause and to avoid them happening again.

Late payments are something that hundreds of thousands of SMEs experience. They can threaten SMEs ability to trade, and stifle appetite for growth and recruitment. In worst cases, it can lead to insolvency.

The amount of time SMEs are kept waiting beyond their previously agreed payment terms can be a big issue. Almost a third of companies face delays of at least a month beyond their terms. Additionally, nearly 20% are having to wait more than 60 days before being paid.

Fortunately, there are measures you can take to protect your company from the worst effects of late payments. Furthermore, ensure that you are paid promptly in the future.

Some of these measures include:

  1. Research prospective clients – Before accepting a new client, carry out a credit check and find out if the company has a reputation for paying on time.
  2. Agree on prompt payment terms – Create contracts and terms & conditions that specify when they must pay your invoice and any overdue fees. Include your payment terms on every invoice.
  3. Send invoices promptly – Don’t delay in sending out invoices. Check that the details are correct to avoid delays.
  4. Offer a range of payment options – Make it easy for customers to pay you. Offer them a variety of payment options such as Direct Debit, PayPal, and credit card. If your clients are based in a different country, accept payment in their currency.
  5. Use invoice finance – Invoice finance will give you essential working capital (up to 90% of the approved total invoice) while you wait for the outstanding invoice to be paid. You’ll receive the remaining 10% when your client pays your invoice.
  6. Use an invoice tracker system – You’ll receive an alert when invoices are overdue.
  7. Keep to a schedule – Invoice on the same date every month so that your clients know when to expect your invoices.
  8. Set up internal invoice reviews – Hold regular weekly or monthly internal finance meetings to review your invoices.
  9. Don’t back down – If you have late fees for overdue invoices then make sure you follow through and charge them. By law, you can claim interest and debt recovery costs if another business is late paying for goods or services.
  10. Hire a part-time CFO – For a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO, the CFO Centre provides highly experienced senior CFOs. Your part-time CFO will assess your company’s cash flow position and take the following steps:
  • Identify and address all the immediate threats to your business
  • Determine where improvements and savings can be made.
  • Instigate the use of regular cash flow forecasts. This way you’ll know in advance of a cash shortfall, and can therefore, make arrangements for extra borrowing, or take other action.

How To Resolve Your Cashflow Problems

How To Resolve Your Cashflow Problems

Managing cash flow is critical to the success of any business. Get it right, and shareholders, creditors, and employees are happy. Get it wrong, and the company could end up on the ropes.

Cash flow problems can beset even profitable companies, particularly those experiencing rapid growth.

So, how do you protect your company from future cash flow issues?

  1. Cut Costs 

Cost-cutting will have a more immediate impact on your bottom line than revenue-raising efforts. You could for instance place a freeze on bonuses and overtime payments, reduce the number of employees through attrition or redundancy. You could also approach creditors to ask for better terms.

  1. Carry out credit checks

Before taking on new clients, carry out credit checks. Companies that regularly make late payments or default on payments should be red-flagged. You should also get new clients to sign contracts that include your payment terms.

  1. Offer early payment discounts

Encourage your clients to pay earlier than normal by offering early payment discounts. The early payment discount should only be used when the company is in urgent need of cash. Do it too often, and you will make a serious dent in your profit margins.

  1. Reduce your payment terms

Cut your payment terms from 60 or 90 days down to 30. Think of it this way: when you allow customers to pay in arrears for your products or services, you’re essentially giving them short-term unsecured loans.

  1. Lease rather than buy

Consider leasing rather than purchasing cars, property, office furniture, machinery, and IT and telecommunications equipment. The benefit of renting rather than buying is that you will only have to make small monthly payments. This should help your cash flow.

  1. Raise your prices

Companies are often reluctant to raise their prices for fear they’ll lose valued customers to competitors. But even a small rise in costs can chip away at your profit margins. You can overcome customers’ resistance to a price rise by offering bundled products or services.

  1. Issue invoices promptly

Many companies don’t issue invoices quickly enough or chase late payments. Consider this: every sale has already cost the company in some way, whether that’s the purchase of raw materials, warehousing, labour, sales and marketing, and distribution. If you don’t collect what you’re owed, you’ll be worse off than if you never made the sale.

  1. Use invoice financing

Hire a company that provides invoice financing (either invoice discounting or factoring) to receive an immediate cash injection. Such companies provide funding against your unpaid invoices for a fee.

Usually, you will receive up to 85% of the value of the outstanding invoice within 24 hours. You’ll then receive the remaining 15% minus the broker’s fee once your customer has paid the outstanding invoice.

  1. Get external funding

You could approach banks or lending institutions for a short-term loan or use other funding sources such as self-finance, partners, investors and alternative finance like peer– to–peer lending.

  1. Hire a part-time Chief Financial Officer

A part-time CFO from the CFO Centre will look for all the things that pose a threat to the company and work with you to resolve them. Your CFO will look for ways you can meet your most pressing financial requirements and review all incomings and outgoings to find where improvements and savings can be made.

You’ll be encouraged to use regular cash flow forecasts. Such forecasts will alert you to possible cash shortfalls in the near future. You can then make arrangements for additional borrowing, for example. It will also help decision-making around whether to hire new staff, raise your prices, move premises, find new suppliers or tender for a large contract.

We love numbers, we understand how to interpret them and use them to help get your business where you want it to be.