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How to Help Your CFO Succeed at Your Startup

Updated: Sep 25


In one of our previous opinion pieces, we deep dive into why your startup would benefit from hiring Aquifer Market Services as your virtual CFO. A startup environment is very different from corporate, and when your company is in the early stages, work functions and expectations will differ as well. When it comes to your head of finance/CFO (pro-tip: you should absolutely have professionals help you with your finances like Aquifer Market Services), you will want to make sure your CFO has the capabilities to help guide your company from bustling startup to mature corporate. Today we will discuss how you can set up your CFO and your business for continued success at the young startup stage.


Once your company has a good amount of funding and runway, the obvious thing to do is hire someone (or an entity like Aquifer) not only to manage the day-to-day finances, but also to forge a path towards growth, form relationships, and establish financial reporting requirements. Working at a startup is all about building the foundation for the company’s future stability and success, and because a CFO at a startup is much more hands-on with the day-to-day financial reporting than a corporate CFO, what isn’t immediately obvious is how to help your hands-on CFO thrive during the early stages.


Allow your CFO to challenge expenses and budgets

As the CEO, you are delegating nearly all finance work to your CFO and their team. It’s not only important to have a strong relationship with your CFO, but also to allow your CFO to challenge existing financial spending and allow them to make data-driven decisions on how best to establish department budgets and calculate your company’s current runway. People know that establishing good habits early in life will set them up for success as they get older; allowing your CFO to set up robust financial practices early on will lead to better financial health for your company in the long-run.


Trust them with business development

As your company matures, you will want to think about potential partnerships or perhaps even M&A’s. Your potential partners will want to understand the value proposition of your product and the market size you will capture, and there is no better person for that task than your CFO. Your CFO will most likely be joining you for those important business meetings, so trust them with the pertinent business details they will need to know to win over clients and investors.


Cut the BS

Corporations are infamous for set-in-stone SOPs, red tape, and numerous lines of command, which means information takes too long to reach the appropriate party. If you’re running a startup, you have to allow your C-level executives and managers to make sound decisions and implement impactful changes more swiftly. If your CFO notices a certain department is spending money too frivolously without achieving a positive ROI, your CFO needs the ability to execute hard cut-offs and to immediately revise the company policy for expenditures. Like a real-life injury, bleeding money must be dealt with immediately.

About Us

We’re your next CFO. You need more than a bookkeeper and less than a full-time CFO. Accounting firms or bookkeepers simply do your yearly tax return but who can help you with the day-to-day accounting & finance complexities that every small business faces? We’re the tenacious partner who will work closely with you to create a strategic path forward. A path that positions your startup for optimum performance, prolonged growth, and limited risks.

According to this article by The Fintech Times, 41% of businesses plan to scrap their banking providers due to slow support during COVID-19. If your business is having trouble with liquidity or managing banking relationships, visit us today at www.aquifermarket.com. Our track record speaks for itself. We've successfully raised over $65 million in VC funding and have 15+ years of finance experience under our belt. Our services include financial modelling, data analytics, capital fundraising, transaction advisory, and accounting system setup.

Still not convinced? Ask yourself this:

  • Is your financial system set up and organized?

  • Do you know your company's outlook in 3-5 years?

  • Are you aware of key factors that impact your financials?

  • Are you prepared for tough questions from VCs?

Focus on generating revenue. Leave the rest to us. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Until next time,


Rich Zhou, CEO

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