Larry Chester, founder of CFO Simplified explains why the deep dive process is crucial for any new clients in the video below.
The deep dive is critical to learning how a business operates. Any consultant who is hired to come into your company is going to tell you, “We’re going to hit the ground running,” but the reality is, they’re going to spend the first couple of days learning who you are and what your company is all about.
Onboarding a CFO can take 90 days if you’re looking at an internal hire, so how does a fractional CFO get up to speed quickly? By having a strategy and process that gives us insights into your business that we can implement from day one.
To effectively help your company, we have to learn what drives you, what your current financial situation is, and then, we have to make strategic recommendations to drive profitability. The deep dive allows us to understand not just how your business is operating, but what is different about you as a business owner. Here are some questions we keep in mind during our deep dive process:
We spend the first two hours of a deep dive sitting down and talking to you as the business owner to understand your why, your timeline and lifecycle stage, and what your goals are for the business as well as what you hope to get out of all your hard work.
Next, we interview your key management team members so that we understand how they fit into the operation and how they interface with you. Often, we get a different view of business operations from management than we see from the owner/ founders, giving us a more 3-dimensional view of the business.
The deep dive takes between 10-20 hours of interviews, research, and investigation and then between 8 – 10 hours of administrative work for the CFO to create the plan and insights that we deliver to you in our final document.
Once our CFO has completed the interviews with management, we sit down and talk to your finance or accounting team to find out what their tasks, strategies, pain points, and daily actions are to better understand how they drive the company forward.
From an operations perspective, we know that everything that happens in a business flows down to the financial statements. Looking at operations gives a high-level view of how those statements are being impacted by the operational day-to-day activities of the business. If all we’re doing is looking at the financial statements, we can’t understand how to shift your strategies and daily actions in a way that will make your company more successful. Our key performance indicators start with a view of the operational workflow within the business, how for example, items move from the dock to the production floor, how you’re maintaining inventory, and what your processes are.
Efficiencies have to be examined as well as operational processes. We ask the tough questions around:
Sometimes businesses ask how we can initiate change in their company if we aren’t intimately familiar with their accounting and business software. . To that we would have to say that while interfaces vary, all well-designed software has essentially the same basic capabilities and characteristics. The real issue is often, are you using your software efficiently and driving profitability to the bottom line?
After the interviews and assessments, after digging into your financials and efficiencies, talking to your accounting team and management, we then write our detailed deep dive recommendations. The deep dive pulls no punches. We are honest and that may seem like it challenges the way you do things. That’s good. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you have always gotten… The deep dive outlines good, the bad, and the ugly, the things that you’re doing right, the things that you should improve on, and the things that are costing you money, and those unknowns that are creating additional risk for you.
The deep dive is where the rubber meets the road. By implementing the recommendations, aligning with best business practices, facing into the unknown elements of your financial strategy, we can implement strategies to improve your operations, increase your insights and ensure that you are on a path to greater success.
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