Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

Reasons your startup should rent a CFO instead of hiring one

Posted by Kanika Sinha

May 14, 2015

Even though you are kind of a big deal in your own startup/industry, you can’t know what you don’t know about CFO-related work. Although accountants can help you build a solid financial foundation, working with a CFO instead can be game changer for a small business or startup. In this shared economy, it is easier than ever to find an on-demand CFO for your particular stage of growth.

Having a financial officer on a startup’s staff elevates the company to a whole new level. CFOs can be instrumental in planning, forecasting, and making strategic business decisions. Perhaps more importantly, the investment structuring, equity / option allocation, spending, and human resource decisions you make in the early stages of your business can make or break you. CFOs take a macro view – a perspective few CEOs have time or knowledge for.

While these are all fantastic reasons to employ a CFO, conventional hires can be expensive. According to, the average CFO salary in the U.S. is over $156,000. For small businesses and startups, CFOs bring huge value but it just may not be necessary to have a full-time CFO.

This is where the possibility of a virtual CFO comes into play. If you are starting small, you will likely only need a few hours a week, making the idea of an on-demand CFO within reach. Further, due to the nature of their work, an outsourced or interim CFO will have vast executive-level skills and industry experience, providing you with immediate value. Many CFOs also specialize in the unique needs of startups, making them instrumental to your team and culture.

In addition, CFOs are instrumental to setting up effective financial systems and processes. This includes services that assist in understanding your full financial profile so you can be strategic about decisions involving precious funds.

Another key area is setting up the appropriate infrastructure for financial metrics. The metrics and services below provide other management team members with the information they need to make the best decisions for the company moving forward.

A CFO brings foresight and strategic planning, valuable small companies and startups who don’t have the time to look ahead. While day to day activities help actively drive your company, the overall financial strategy of a company is what drives it more successfully into the future. Unlike an accountant, strategic planning is exactly what a CFO can focus on. This will frequently include identifying opportunities, and creating value in a business’s financial operations. An experienced CFO knows what things should cost and can favorably negotiate everything from benefits packages to leases.

Another huge benefit of a virtual CFO is their ability to help secure capital. This can be a vital bloodline to many startups, yet is a process most principles and teams can’t navigate without professional financial help.

As you can see, a CFO gives you the best of both worlds: - they lower labor costs while providing expert strategic financial direction. With your time at a premium, you don’t have the luxury of experimenting with different potential CFOs, so it makes more sense to rely on outsourced service providers that have spent the time to develop relationships with proven CFO’s. If you are ready to consider an interim or part-time CFO, Escalon can show you what the ROI looks like for your company.


Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

We provide you with essential business services so you can focus on growth.