10 Reasons to Hire A Fractional CFO

This is a copy of my article that I wrote for LinkedIn. Here is a link to it.

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A Fractional CFO Logo Final PNG copy
My Company’s Logo

By Tony Fremarek | A Fractional CFO, LLC

A CFO is responsible for managing the financial operations of a business, this includes accounting, financial reporting, cash management, budgeting, maintaining controls, capital structure issues, and financing.  Additionally, the CFO is involved in strategic planning and financial analysis related to daily operations. Many CFO’s also have experience dealing with issues involving HR, IT, and insurance. They also provide guidance to business owners to maximize cash flow, minimize business risk, and increase the overall value of their business. 

The role of CFO differs from the services traditionally provided by the external CPA.  Since the most common corporate structures are either an LLC or a S-Corp, the CPA is focused on taxes in most small to mid-size businesses. The CPA spends most of their time and efforts looking backwards and reporting on the past. The CFO, on the other hand, is more focused on the present and working towards the future.  Don’t get me wrong, the CPA plays a vital role in the business, but they are more effective when working with a CFO.

Most small and mid-size businesses employ an accountant or bookkeeper who maintains the financial system and records transactions on a day-to-day basis. The external CPA produces the tax returns and, at times, may do some light analysis work at quarter- and year-end.  This leaves a significant gap in the information and management reporting available. Without regular reporting, business owners lack the critical financial information needed to make an informed decision. 

The CFO works closely with the owner to define the future for the company. This involves setting realistic goals and helping to plot the roadmap to achieve those goals. Working with the internal team, as well as working with external vendors and stakeholders, is yet another key function. This includes setting and managing expectations, presenting financial information, and often working with bankers, creditors, and lenders. 

Most small to mid-size businesses cannot justify hiring a full-time CFO.  Aside from the costs involved, there is just not enough work to be done.  The solution is to hire a Fractional CFO.  A Fractional CFO allows all businesses to have the advantages of a larger organization. The business gets the advantage of a C-level financial expert, but on a fractional, affordable basis. Often times these Fractional engagements can last forever, or until the organization grows to the point it can justify a full-time CFO.  In the case of growth, the hand-off from the Fractional CFO to the full time CFO is seamless. 

Key advantages of hiring A Fractional CFO include: 

  1. Better Financial Information – Accurate and timely financial statements and management reports that include projections, actual results versus forecasts, cash flow forecasts, and other KPIs that improve insight and promote proactive management.   The goal is to increase visibility and efficiency to increase net income.
  2. Improved Decision Making – Basing decisions on accurate and relevant financial information allows the business owner the opportunity to avoid making wrong or costly decisions.  Key decisions include growth strategies, cost management, financing and business investments, and staffing among others.  
  3. Team member – The CFO becomes embedded in the company and acts as part of the management team. The CFO, while virtual, is always available given today’s technology. It’s like having them sitting in the office with you.
  4. Internal Controls – Financial controls can provide many benefits including accurate financial statements, improved control of company assets, and greater financial visibility.  Another “set of eyes” also reduces the chance for errors or fraud.
  5. Specialist Skillset – A Fractional CFO is, first and foremost, a business professional with experience within various business enterprises.  A Fractional CFO is exposed to many other businesses through their clients, and they bring that knowledge to their business.  A significant difference between a CFO and a CPA is that a CFO can solve many financial and business problems because they have experience doing just that. They can quickly identify and address issues and bring their experience to bear using best practices to solve those issues.
  6. Increased Productivity – Hiring A Fractional CFO to perform the financial and administrative functions of the business frees up the business owner so they can focus on “doing” the business, rather than trying to “run” the business. In addition to bringing financial and accounting expertise – a CFO can deal with administrative areas such as human resources, facilities, insurances, legal and compliance, IT, and banking relationships. 
  7. Perspective – A CFO can improve the decision-making process by helping owners ask the right questions and base decisions on facts. A Fractional CFO provides a fresh perspective to the owner and often seeing things in a different light.  A Fractional CFO can be a sounding board and trusted advisor for new ideas and initiatives. There is also the added benefit of making life a little less lonely for the entrepreneur. We all know it’s lonely at the top.
  8. Flexibility – By using A Fractional CFO, the level of involvement can be varied and customized to the needs of the organization. The ability to ramp up or down the efforts of A Fractional CFO, allows the organization the ability to increase the level of support when needed, and then adjust it down when not needed.  That flexibility is not an option with a full-time CFO.
  9. Stakeholder Confidence – Stakeholders, such as lenders and creditors, react positively to the knowledge that a professional CFO is part of the management team. This takes on additional importance when looking for outside investment, debt financing, or positioning the company for sale.  
  10. Cost – A Fractional CFO can bring all the benefits in terms of skills and knowledge of a full- time resource, at significantly less of the cost.   

To summarize, A Fractional CFO brings all the benefits of a full-time resource, but at a fraction of the cost. They work for an agreed upon amount of time on an ongoing basis. The benefits, which are numerous, range from improved reporting and decision-making, better vision into the business for planning and forecasting, and stronger financial management and controls. I believe the biggest benefit is the owner’s ability to transfer the financial and administrative burden to the CFO, and free themselves to work on other parts of the business.  Business owners are forced to wear many hats and the financial and administrative hat is usually the worst fit. 

Tony Fremarek is the Founder of A Fractional CFO, LLC with offices in Plainfield, IL and Fort Myers, FL. 

www.afractionalcfo.com

White Sox 2021 – 22 games in

So here we are, 22 games in, 140 to go, 13.6% of the season has passed. What have we learned about these White Sox? Well, we’ve learned that we still are a young club, with some growing pains. We’ve had the early success of Carlos Rodon and Yermin Mercedes to be excited about. Tim Anderson is being TA7, and Nick Madrigal will continue to put the ball in play. This White Sox team is still in a great spot. As we get to the end of the first month of the season, we are 2 games behind the Royals, which is a surprise #1. The Twins that so many people picked to win the division, are residing in the basement at 7 and 15.

As the weather heats up…so will the bats on this team. We will hit, the pitching should get stronger. I am confident that the bullpen will get it’s footing, and be the pen that we expect.

The message…don’t panic. I’ve read so many different blogs, and Facebook group posts that have fans trashing this team, which is really premature at this time. Stay the course, history is full of teams that had great starts, and horrible finishes…and teams that have had slow starts, and then won the World Series.

Go White Sox!!!

White Sox 2021 – Part 1

Current White Sox Logo
Current White Sox Logo

Like most die hard and dedicated Sox fans I have been anticipating this Spring training for years now. As I’ve outlined in my prior posts…I have lots of great White Sox memories. We’ve watch the Sox rebuild begin with the Chris Sale trade, and have watched the young players start to develop. In the past years I even found myself watching the minor league teams to see how the kids were doing. As we begin this year, I’m not sure which player I’m most excited to see. We should put up tons of runs, and be lethal from 1-9 in the order…with the power guys, the speed guys, and the put the ball in play guys…we will be solid. The starting rotation is clearly solid with the big three of Giolito, Keuchel, and Lynn. If Cease has finally learned the strike zone…then we are good 1-4. Every team is weak at the 5 in the rotation…that’s why guys are a 5th starter. How good is this team…my opinion on the team below. I’ll start reviewing players until we get to Opening Day.

White Sox Starting Lineup

Tim Anderson – Here is a guy who years ago I would watch, and I so wanted him to be good. When he came up in 2016, and hit .283, I thought to myself…ok…he’ll be a .300 hitter in a year or so, once he adapts to big league pitching on a full time basis. He followed up that performance with a .257 average in 2017, again…ok…sophomore slump…he’ll be fine. The he hits .240 in 2018, and my thoughts are is he not going to make it, we can find defensive shortstops that hit .240, what happened to the guy we drafted in 2013 with our number 1 pick? Then TA7 appears…I’m not sure what happened to this guy between 2018, and 2019, but 2019 gave us a new Tim Anderson, bolder, a leader, an individual, a guy who looked like he was having fun, and guy who hit .335 and won the batting title. 2020 confirmed that this guy is the real deal…he’s one of the leaders on this team. When he slumped at the end of the year, I had a saying…and I think it’s very true…as TA7 goes…so do the White Sox. This is now the guy I think we always wanted him to be…and the Sox are and will be better off for it. Tim Anderson will be the White Sox shortstop for a long time.

Tim Anderson.  Chicago White Sox Shortstop. Jersey number 7.
Tim Anderson

Yoan Moncada – As I mentioned earlier…here is a guy who was the start of the rebuild. On that day in December of 2016, we acquired Yoan, and he subsequently changed his color sox from red to white. Here is another guy I have enjoyed watching get better. I don’t think he is close to reaching his potential yet. He had a rough first year and a half with the Sox…with an average just above .230, and then leading the league in strikeouts with 217, yes…217, that is not a misprint. His strikeout average was .375…yikes, with only 17 home runs. 2019 brought us what I hope is the real Yoyo…a .315 hitter, 25 homers, and down to 154 strikeouts. If he truly was affected by COVID last year, then we should see a bounce back to 2019 form. If we could get .300/25/100 out of him that would be great. He should clearly have more RBI chances with the stacked lineup. I also think that moving him around in the infield messed him up a bit as well. He has learned to play a solid third base…so I am excited to see what this season brings.

Yoan Moncada.  White Sox Third baseman.  Jersey number 10.
Yoan Moncada

To Be continued…

Please leave your thoughts or comments in the comments section. Would like to hear your thoughts fellow White So fans.

The Making of a White Sox fan!!! The joys of being a Dad and having a son who loves the Sox and baseball as much as I do. Part 3 of my Sox fan journey.

July 27, 1995 – One of the most important days of my life

This is a day that changed my life forever. This was the day my son Anthony was born. So a little background…I’m Tony, my Dad is Tony, my Grandfather was Tony…to make it a little more crazy…my father-in-law is Tony, and so is my brother-in-law…another Tony. So while Anthony would be the V (5th), or as my buddy Brett called him Cinco…my wife Gina agreed to name him Anthony, but ONLY if we called him Anthony. Deal was done. So Anthony it would be. As most of you know from my blog, or knowing me I have a few very strong sport loves…aside from my beloved White Sox, I am a huge Notre Dame fan (like being a Catholic school kid in Chicago there was another choice). So much so that on Anthony’s coming home outfit I had a Notre Dame Leprechaun on his outfit.

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Notre Dame Leprechaun

As Anthony started to grow, I began the indoctrination into the world of White Sox fandom. For starters, he was exposed only to White Sox gear, clothing, etc…my in-laws (Cubs fans God Bless them) thought it would be funny to buy him a Cubs outfit…funny how quickly that got “lost” in the house. I’ll be honest…at times I was a little worried about him and liking baseball…he showed huge interest in NASCAR, so a NASCAR fan I became. Eventually…his love of baseball began…and is still strong to this day.

I remember taking him to games when he was young, as outlined in my prior posts. He became obsessed with the game that I loved so much. This was and is something that we share. I remember his first favorite player being Magglio Ordóñez. I also remember him watching so many games, and one of his favorite things to do was to remember every players batting stance. He would grab a bat, and get into a stance…and ask me, “Dad, who am I? Whose stance is this?” He was dead on…all the time. I remember how sad he as when we let Mags go to Detroit…the first hard lesson about the business of baseball.

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Gotta have the picture of Magglio

So it begins…Wire to wire in 2005

Monday, April 4, 2005 – This was mine and Anthony’s 5th Opening Day in a row. 5 is kinda a milestone. Coming into this game we were 3-1 on our first 4 Opening Days, so we were feeling pretty good about our Sox. Gone was Anthony’d first favorite player, and roaming right field now was Jermaine Dye. Of course we had Mark Buehrle on the mound. If you would have told me on that day, that the White Sox would be in first place in the division, and would win the World Series I would have told you “No Way”. The Sox were picked to finish 4th in the division that year…ahead of only the Royals. The Sox won that game 1-0, Mark went 8 innings, giving up 2 hits, striking out 5. Who can forget the gong as Shingo Takatsu took the mound to secure the save in the 9th. We won…the Sox were in 1st place.

As the season progressed I think all Sox fans started to realize we had something special going on on the Southside. I remember listening to the division clinch game against the Tigers in my office on an afternoon…Paul Konerko catching the throw to clinch the division. We were headed to the Playoffs. While I had my memories of the 1983 Winning Ugly Sox, this was the “Don’t Stop Believing Sox” and Anthony’s first playoff run.

So Anthony and I watched or listened to all the playoff games together. I remember that we had Church School on the day the Sox played Boston…the infamous El Duque game…bases loaded, nobody out…in comes El Duque…the right man at the right time. Anthony and I listened to that inning as we headed home, nervous as could be…this was the defending World Series Champs we were facing…Fly ball, 1 out, Fly ball, 2 outs…then the strike out to Johnny Damon…we went nuts in the car…this was the “Don’t Stop Believing” White Sox…of course we got out of the inning.

ALCS

Here come the Angels…They were tired, we were rested. Somehow they won that first game. I think all Chicago Sox fans had that collective, “oh no”. Then as game 2 went…we had that same feeling…up until the infamous strike 3 in the dirt to AJ in the 9th…did that ball hit the dirt…we now Tim “I hate the White Sox” McCarver thought it was in the glove…but A.J. was smart enough to run to first. A.J. Pierzynski…the guy who, if he’s on your team, you love him…if he’s on the opposing team, you hate him. Thankfully we love A.J.

We headed out to Florida the morning after the dropped 3rd strike game. So my son and I experienced the games from LA watching from my in-laws home in Fort Myers. Each game was great, start to finish. I just know that we will probably never see another performance of 4 straight complete game wins by a pitching staff in the playoffs. The game as evolved so much since 2005, with starters, middle relievers and closers, never again. I remember that it used to be you wanted your starter to get into the 7th, that has now evolved to getting to the 6th. I still go back and forth on the new rule of finishing an inning or facing 3 batters, it certainly changes the game…I’m just not sure if it changes it for the better. It was annoying to watch teams trot out three relievers in an inning for “situational” pitching, but the idea of managing around that…I’m going with my best guy against your best guy is now gone. Wouldn’t it be interesting if pinch hitters needed to play at least 1 inning after the pinch hit? Would certainly make extra innings or late innings interesting as we still have defensive replacements. Imagine the big pinch hitter needing to come play the field…think how that would change the game.

Anyway…I got off on a fun tangent…I still remember that feeling when Paulie gloved that last out at first in game 5, and the White Sox were headed to the World Series….