In a recent article by Fort Worth Inc., Rachel Rhea, Tax Senior Associate, discusses the abrupt economic shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic that took many business owners by surprise. Difficult decisions regarding modified operations, employee reductions, and compensation issues had to be made quickly. In addition, capital acquisition, financing, and cash flow planning needed to be revisited. Things changed at a lightning pace, and these immediate adjustments were necessary.
Fortunately, the storm has passed, and recovery is unfolding, which creates opportunities for expansion, entrance into new markets, and efficiency. There are opportunities waiting to be leveraged; unfortunately, opportunities could be missed due to a lack of strategic financial leadership, guidance, and expertise. As a result, it is important to make sure your business partners with a Certified Public Accountant to provide the needed insights to position yourself.
Most business owners have worked with a CPA for tax planning, compliance, or assistance with financial reporting. But this only scratches the surface of the value a CPA can provide. Quite often, a CPA is brought into the boardroom to help identify and implement strategic goals, tactics, reporting tools, and programs that measure progress. The added caveat of the continuing education requirements to maintain a CPA license provides the practical education necessary to step into roles needed by clients. It is common in many CPA firms for partners to have experience in private industry roles such as vice president of finance, chief financial officer, or controller.
Cash Flow Planning
If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that conditions can change quickly. When this occurs, it’s essential to make adjustments that reflect these changing conditions, especially when it comes to cash flow planning. Developing an accurate assessment of cash flow provides management with necessary insights about the company’s financial position. This often includes a forecast of expected future costs and income. This assessment incorporates annual strategic objectives, such as new product/service development and related expenses. In addition, cash flow planning is necessary when applying for a new loan or line of credit. Many financial institutions, especially during the height of the pandemic, required borrowers to maintain a 13-week rolling cash forecast to prove credit worthiness.
M&A Transactional Support
The pandemic also created merger and acquisition opportunities for middle-market businesses, particularly in oil and gas, manufacturing, and chemicals. Whether one is looking to purchase or sell a business, multiple factors must be considered before, during, and after the transaction. For buyers, this often means assistance with quality of earnings, working capital analysis, risk assessments, IT due diligence, and a comprehensive review of the tax structure, liabilities, and other related issues. For sellers, this may mean assistance with financial statement preparation, nondisclosure agreements, due diligence support, tax consulting, and closing document support.
Unfortunately, many businesses were required to make significant employee cuts to ensure financial vitality throughout the pandemic. Many leaders who no longer have an internal CFO choose to retain an outsourced CFO to obtain the needed financial guidance.
Not only can an outsourced CFO review existing practices, make improvements, and increase efficiencies, but they can also assist with more strategic projects such as accounting software selection, process design, automation, inventory valuation, and standard cost set up. In addition, these professionals can assist with financial modeling, forecasting and valuations, venture capital fundraising, business analysis, and profit improvement.