Built on Rock or Sand: How Solid is Your Financial Control?

As a business owner, are you armed with an understanding of the critical numbers that provide you with an accurate picture of your current financial position? Without those numbers, it’s unlikely you’re well-equipped to make sound financial decisions, chart a course for growth, or gauge your progress.

A primary objective of my work with business owners is to help them achieve financial goal clarity and higher levels of cash and profitability. To do so involves an in-depth look at a company’s financial structure, then reconstructing it to become the basis for growth. This starts by laying a solid foundation on which we build a strong framework, and is usually accomplished with a three-phased approach: Discovery, Implementation, and Strategic Planning.


Accounting and bookkeeping procedures that are inadequate to produce timely, accurate, financial statements are often where problems originate. Reviewing your company’s bookkeeping and accounting records and interviewing the people who are responsible for maintaining them can reveal processes that may allow information to fall through the cracks, practices that don’t fully address your numbers, or timing that is off. Having clearly documented procedures – that meet your company’s unique needs – and a staff that understands them are critical to ensure that your financial statements are always complete, up to date, and generated when they are needed.

The Discovery phase will yield the following:

  1. Listing of transactions that must be recorded monthly.
  2. Matrix of the tasks and responsibilities that are necessary within the accounting function to build a complete and accurate set of books.
  3. Monthly financial close check list that, when completed, ensures accurate books.
  4. Gap analysis which compares and contrasts the current status of the financial framework to what it should be to work effectively for your business.


Implementing revamped practices and procedures doesn’t happen overnight. The time frame for this phase varies depending on the owner’s budget and timeline, the existing accounting structure and condition of the books, and the complexity of the implementation process for the individual business.

I start this phase by sitting down with the business owner to review the findings from the Discovery phase with a specific focus on the following:

  1. Working with the gap analysis to create a financial framework that goes beyond simply optimizing the books.
  2. Coming to an agreement about the priorities for implementation of the items identified in the gap analysis.
  3. Determining a timeline and budget for implementation.

Using the information resulting from this meeting, I provide a “blueprint” for implementation, which includes a proposal and timeline. Resources that are needed to accomplish implementation are identified, and we determine together whether your company has those resources internally or if I need to provide additional resources from my network.

We start with freshly prepared ground. I’ll act as the “general contractor” to keep Implementation on track as we rebuild your company’s financial intelligence framework, monitoring the blueprint and timeline to keep things moving.

The owner’s commitment involves providing the financial and human resources necessary to implement the agreed upon changes, and being available to make decisions and resolve issues as they are uncovered.

Strategic Planning and CFO Services

This work puts you in control of your business and its future. Upon completion of the Implementation phase, business owners can expect:

  1. Receipt of timely, accurate financial information.
  2. A foundation for us to develop strategies, forecasting, and plans for growth.
  3. Monthly reviews of financial statements. You’ll learn what numbers you need to be looking at each month, how to interpret that data, and how to apply it to make sound financial projections and business decisions.
  4. A rolling, 12-month, operating budget and cash flow forecast to provide insight you may not have had before.

For many business owners, this may be the first time you have a valid, 12-month, operating budget, and forecasted cash flow. Standing on a solid financial foundation and working within a strong financial intelligence framework of timely and accurate financial information, you’ll have a plan for growth and confidence in your decision making like never before.

I’d welcome the privilege of helping you construct a Financial Intelligence Framework on which you can build for both the short and long-term. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Written by

Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.