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How a virtual FD makes a difference - The value of a trusted business adviser

Mar 24, 2016

When your business gets to a certain size, there will come a time when you need to take on a financial director – a business specialist who sits on the management team and can focus on the financial strategy of your business.

But what if you are a smaller business that cannot yet justify the cost of a full-time FD? Is there a way to get the same level of expert strategic thinking and financial guidance without the expense of a full-time director?

The answer is to hire a part-time, cloud-based financial director – a ‘virtual FD’ who can bring a human face to your finances and become your trusted strategic adviser.


A virtual FD, but a human adviser

Cloud technology has made it easier than ever to collaborate with a part-time business adviser. And although providing key financial data is part of the service, a virtual FD delivers far more than just the numbers.

Where a virtual FD really adds value is as a trusted adviser to your business – someone who will act as a combination of sounding board, business coach and strategic expert to your company.

Don’t let the term ‘virtual’ put you off. Despite the technological-sounding prefix, a virtual FD is very much a human element in your business model. What you get is a human face: someone who acts as a counsellor for your business and guides you through the choppy waters of running your business.

An FD shares your entrepreneurial mindset and speaks your language. And that means you get explanations of the significant business issues in simple terms that resonate with you as a business owner. Myths will be debunked, guiding the course of your business plan and aiding the clarity of your decision-making.


Your business interests at heart

Trust is the key to the virtual FD relationship. By working with a virtual adviser, you get a valuable, trusted player on your team. And you can rest assured that the needs and wants of your business will be at the heart of their advice – at all times.

A virtual FD also offers complete objectivity. They do not sit with your team day-to-day, and that brings you the benefit of an external viewpoint and objective opinions on the plans you have set out for the business.

There is no personal agenda other than to help you grow and prosper. You get an honest answer when there’s a difficult decision to make, whether it’s a financial issue, a potential buy-out or a matter relating to relations at board level etc.


A focus on strategic planning

Running your business is not just about having money in the bank and keeping the business afloat. It is also about looking to the future and putting strategic plans in place that will underpin your long-term goals for the business.

Having a virtual FD on board provides you with a forum to discuss your future plans for the business. You have a sounding board and by talking through your strategy, you get analysis and strategic guidance that adds weight and confidence to your long-term goals.


A valuable and ongoing relationship

Once you have built a stable relationship with your virtual FD, that level of trust will increase over time – and that adds significant additional value for you.

Letting that relationship flourish means opening up to your virtual FD and letting them inside your inner management circle. By being honest and open with them you will get far more from the relationship. When you truly value the opinion of your virtual FD that allows them to help steer the business more productively and effectively.

You will also have far more direct contact when you work with a virtual adviser, rather than a standard accountant. The relationship is no longer about simply delivering year-end accounts and meeting once a quarter. It is an ongoing, continuous relationship between you and your trusted adviser.

As you go through the peaks and troughs of trading, your FD is there to resolve any issues – and even to identify problems before they occur. Your FD will spot the trends, assist you in avoiding the pitfalls and help you identify the opportunities for new sales, new purchases and chances to improve your profits.


Online: a more convenient way to do business

Cloud-based access to your accounts makes collaborating with your virtual FD an incredibly straightforward process.

You log in to your accounting software online, wherever there’s an Internet connection, wherever you are in the world. This online access to your real-time numbers means your virtual FD is only ever a phone call or Skype conversation away. Both of you can log into the same system, see the same information and talk through your current business concerns in real time.

And this ability to collaborate changes the value you get from your virtual FD. You get analysis and guidance, whenever you need it – there is no more waiting around for historic management accounts to back up your decision-making. You have the information you need immediately, alongside the advice of your trusted adviser. And that’s an extremely powerful tool to have in the armoury.


How Roberts Nathan can help your business

So, how would a virtual FD fit into your current business set-up?

Do you have a bookkeeper already? If so, we can work with them on your accounts and deliver the financial data needed by your accounts team, as well providing more detailed high-end management reporting for you, the business owner.

If you don’t have a bookkeeper in place, you can outsource this function to us. We will move your books over to Xero online accounting, bringing you all the benefits of a cloud-based approach to your bookkeeping. And with Xero’s detailed reporting functionality, we will deliver regular management information that puts you firmly in the driving seat of the company.

And, as we’ve said, don’t confuse ‘virtual’ with being something remote and distant. With the enhanced access that cloud software delivers, your communication and interaction with your virtual FD will actually increase – so you get more time with us, and far more timely advice and guidance on your ongoing business issues.


Arrange a chat with our virtual FDs

If you think a virtual FD would be a great fit for your business, please do contact us to arrange a meeting and a demonstration of the benefits of cloud accounting.

Get in touch to discuss the needs of your business, and find out how we can cut our virtual FD cloth to be a tailored fit for your enterprise.

Images: Shutterstock

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