The following is an excerpt from our monthly newsletter sent by Will Fleming, President of GSS.

I have a question for you. Actually, I have several questions for you.

– What are the dominant constraints that hold back your company’s growth, and how do you plan to overcome them?

– How does your company plan to grow? M&A? Organically? Both?

– What is your greatest area of spend where there is a lot of uncertainty about the return?

These are just a few of the many strategic questions that you as the CFO (or CFO equivalent) should be asking. But the most important question I have for you is this…

Are you a pragmatic strategist?

If you can’t answer these questions fully, read on. This transition is vital to your growth.

Strategic Thinking Isn’t A Luxury

The ability to answer questions like the ones above indicates that you have successfully transitioned from day-to-day accounting and operational concerns to acting as a true strategist. 

Strategic thinking isn’t something you do when you are successful, it is something you do to become successful.

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You don’t get from 3% to 10% profit by getting better accounting; you do it by getting beyond accounting.

What does that look like?

CFO as Leveler, Enabler, & Transformer

Let me paint you my vision for what the CFO should be. I’ll break it into three parts.

Leveler: At the end of the day, everything from the food you sell, to the vendors you use, to the marketing campaigns you implement either make you money or lose it.

Numbers are objective, and if a CFO can get above managing day-to-day accounting, no one is better suited to (1) discover constraints to your growth and (2) work with the applicable teams to solve them. 

A CFO can level the playing field and keep everyone honest about economic returns.

Enabler: Why can’t you grow 200% this year? Let me guess – a lack of capital. This problem isn’t insurmountable with a pragmatically strategic CFO. Knowing how to increase profit margins, work with banks and lenders to acquire capital, and effectively manage debt should be one of the core responsibilities of a CFO.

Transformer: Occasionally, in times like these, CFOs can be transformers in an organization playing a key role in shifting the overall business model, product line, and more towards a more profitable end. 

Here’s the problem – a CFO can’t do any of this if they are always cleaning up accounting.

So, How Do You Get There?

The answer isn’t a better accountant. Good accounting is table stakes. What you need is a partner who can bridge the gap between accounting and strategic thinking. 

Yes, that partner can handle day-to-day accounting, but more importantly, they provide proactive financial analysis, budget forecasting, compliance risk-mitigation, reliable reporting, and more.

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This foundation is what a CFO needs to become a pragmatic strategist and take your organization to the next level.

That’s where we come in. We are not here to replace your CFO, we are here to enable your CFO to be a pragmatic strategist.

We help restaurant business owners, franchisees, and holding groups create accounting order and access strategic insight.

Empower Your CFO

If you are looking for someone to check the boxes you need for taxes and compliance, call your local bookkeeper. 

If, however, you are looking for the freedom to step into a more strategic role (or even just want to talk about what that looks like for your organization), reach out. I’d love to talk with you.

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