4 Roles in Finance - Bookkeeper, Accountant, Financial Controller, CFO
Starting a business is an exciting adventure filled with endless possibilities. But as your business grows, so do your responsibilities, and you may find yourself spending more time than you’d like on mundane financial tasks like invoicing and payroll.
After all, nobody started a business to do payroll.
It’s a bit like the evolution of man.
At first, we were just apes, doing the basics to survive– banging rocks together to make a spear. But over time, we grew and evolved, developing new skills and abilities to help us thrive in our environment.
Similarly, a business starts with the basics, like a bookkeeper, to handle day-to-day financial tasks. But as you grow, you’ll need an accountant to help you make sense of your financial data, a financial controller to oversee your financial operations, and, eventually, a CFO to help you make strategic decisions and drive growth.
So in this article, we’ll take you through the journey of a growing business and explore the different roles you’ll need to fill along the way.
From bookkeeper to CFO, we’ll show you how each role contributes to your financial success and helps you achieve your ambitions.
Our team at Outmin likes to think of these four roles as the financial pyramid of a successful business.
The bookkeeper is at the bottom of the pyramid – the most crucial part of your financial operations and the first financial role a business owner needs to fill. From day one, the bookkeeper plays a vital role in keeping the business afloat.
Now, when you’re starting, it’s not uncommon for business owners to take on all the financial responsibilities themselves, including bookkeeping. However, as you grow, you’ll need to delegate to ensure everything is functioning smoothly (and you can focus on strategy instead of routine tasks).
The day-to-day responsibilities of a bookkeeper typically include the following:
They’re also responsible for ensuring the accuracy of financial records and compliance with tax regulations.
By having a bookkeeper on hand, business owners can save valuable time, reduce stress, and gain valuable insights into their financial position.
Take this for example: here at Outmin, we started working with one CEO who was doing weekly payroll. Every Friday afternoon, he’d sit down and work through getting his employees paid. He ended up working extremely taxing hours, from 7 AM to 1 AM.
As a result, he wasn’t chasing down leads and tackling other tasks that could’ve grown his business – he was too busy taking care of routine things.
Having a bookkeeper as part of his Outmin fractional CFO team not only freed up his time, but also provided peace of mind and kept the business on top of its financial responsibilities.
With a reliable bookkeeper on hand, your plate becomes less full, but you still have to wear many hats to keep your business running. Many of these aren’t what a CEO should be dealing with, but – as a business owner – it’s up to you to pick up the tasks no one else is handling.
So the next step on our journey is…
Congratulations, your business is expanding, and you are now ready to hire an accountant! As your business evolves, you need someone with more skills and expertise than a bookkeeper to help you navigate the increasingly complex financial landscape.
An accountant can help you make sense of your financial data, provide insights to help you make strategic decisions, and keep your finances compliant with tax and financial regulations.
Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of an accountant include:
Sure, some of these responsibilities overlap with those of a bookkeeper. However, the difference lies in the skill and expertise required to perform these tasks effectively.
A good accountant has excellent analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to interpret complex financial data. And they can communicate effectively with others in the finance team and with clients or stakeholders.
However, one mistake we often see is that SMBs expect accountants to also play CFO and financial controller. These are distinct roles with different responsibilities and skill sets– and if your accountant can do it all, expect to pay a ton for it.
The Financial Controller
Now that your business has grown even bigger, it’s time to bring in a Financial Controller. As your business expands, so do the financial complexities– especially if you deal with foreign currencies, imports/exports, stock option plans, tax credits, or other complicated transactions.
That’s when you need a financial controller to step in. In short, they’re responsible for:
That’s why it’s important to have a defined role for this position.
For example, there’s one client we had kept the same CFO for 12 years. Not only did he have to take care of his CFO responsibilities, but the client had him playing both financial controller AND accountant on top of that!
But when the Outmin CFO came in, they compared this client to other clients in the industry to identify problems easily. Within 6-12 months, they went from barely having enough money for payroll to having half a million pounds in the bank.
This gave them breathing room and the ability to stop worrying about making payroll and start thinking about projects and investments.
With everyone in the right position and working as a team, your individuals (or your fractional Outmin CFO team) can fulfil their roles more effectively and contribute to the success of the business.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
CFOs are one the most critical roles that drive a business to success. But many SMBs never consider hiring a CFO because they think they’re too small or the role is too expensive.
However, big companies didn’t just get big and then hire a CFO. They had ambition and hired a CFO to make growth happen.
A CFO’s role and responsibilities include:
The CFO takes a forward-thinking approach to finances, dealing with questions like “What does the next year look like? Who’s in charge? How are we going to fund our next move?”
But you don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to start thinking about a CFO.
Outmin’s fractional CFO service lets SMBs get the power and expertise of a CFO at a fraction of the cost! The fractional CFO provides previous experience and best practices. Plus, they’ve tested tactics and strategies, so you don’t have to spend time researching and making mistakes.
You can hit the ground running faster with everything set up correctly!
And the best part is our fCFOs provide a team that specialises in each of the roles we discussed in this article: bookkeepers, accountants, Chief Financial Officers, and financial controllers.
We work together to take care of all of your financial needs!
Quit taking on all the responsibilities yourself, and don’t miss out on opportunities to grow your business! Learn more about Outmin’s financial solution and book a demo today!