This article is the second in a series that looks at the VCFO role, how it differs from an in-house, full time CFO or bookkeeper, and how a VCFO engagement can drive growth for your business.
In a previous article, we explained the role of a VCFO and how the service could help grow your business. Here, we consider why technology is increasingly fundamental to the role and how the future VCFO will possess a strong digital acumen and a wider range of skills including data visualisation and analytics, automation and process expertise, to add enhanced value to your business.
Why technology is fundamental to the VCFO role
In addition to proven accounting and business skills, we know that a VCFO should also have solid commercial experience, preferably in the industry or industries in which they’re employed to advise. It’s becoming increasingly important for a VCFO to also possess a knowledge, curiosity for and applied understanding of technology.
While performing their role, Virtual CFOs must quickly understand their client’s IT framework and software ecosystems as they grasp their business model, systems and processes.
They should constantly research and rethink technological environments and provide suggestions for safeguards or improvements. From collaborative platforms (including Teams, Zoom, Citrix), accounting and payroll software (such as Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks), to budgeting, forecasting and reporting tools (Fathom, Futrli, Castaway or Calxa), the VCFO of the future is aware of, if not proficient with, all of them.
Technology is also changing the way Virtual CFOs are engaging with the businesses they advise. From regular, timely and periodic meetings to shorter, more frequents meetings.
Today’s VCFOs establish integrated and automated links with their clients’ systems, enabling them to setup financial dashboards. These dashboards combine real-time data from multiple sources and provide the VCFO with a comprehensive snapshot of their clients’ most up-to-date financial data.
With a bird’s-eye view of their clients’ metrics, the Virtual CFO becomes an agile advisor engaging more proactively and strategically with their clients.
Data and the VCFO
VCFOs are aware that numbers are nothing without context, and that’s where data is key. VCFOs now need to layer on the skills of data scientists. The challenge is no longer gathering data, thanks to today’s technologies and connectivity, but what to do with the vast amount of information flowing into the business.
Technology can help VCFOs process large amounts of real-time data and turn it into insights that drive process improvements, ensure compliance and boost employee and customer satisfaction.
These insights alone allow the VCFO to leave uncertainty behind and engage in more confident and data-driven interactions with their clients.
So, the future Virtual CFO will develop a strong digital acumen which will assist them to drive financial management with a relevant approach to change as the notion of “enterprise value” transitions from tangible to intangible data assets. They will develop a wider range of skills (including analytics, automation, data visualisation, and process expertise), as well as functions such as IT, and use them to solve complex problems for business owners.
If you’d like more information on William Buck’s Virtual CFO service and how a VCFO could use technology to grow your business, please contact your local William Buck advisor.