Pivoting from CPA to CFO
Now, I digress: A switch from lifetime CPA (me – 38 years) to CFO was not an easy transition. I would discourage most CPA’s from doing it, and the company de-emphasizes CPA backgrounds – the first thing I did was retire my certificate. FocusCFO clients are glad you know GAAP when you need to know it, but it’s absolutely not why you work for them. Your valued skill set is not APB’s and FASB’s. Your valued skill set is strategic vision, problem solving, crisis averting, seeing the future, explaining dynamics of a business, especially financially, and sometimes simple coaching. READ THIS: Gray hair valued!! So the digression is that CPA’s have been trained to be 2-dimensional straight-line thinkers. Thank-you linear audit programs and little boxes to initial as you performed a step, so that when all boxes are initialed you can sign off that procedure, avoiding all thinking. Most accountants are lost when asked to think 3- dimensionally. Most accountants are unable to say what their product is (I won’t tell you what it is here). They know the correct answer is NOT a piece of paper with a signed letter on the front, but they practice as though that is their product; hence they have commoditized themselves. I may spend a bit too much time on this point but it is in order to contrast FocusCFO practice.
- Price is less of an issue. With clear results/benefits, clients pay rates.
- Accounting clients look at their watch when you visit, multiple times, and look nervous. Focus
CFO’s are welcomed in weekly, in some clients almost festively. Accounting services and the like, are incremental services, lightly valued, use of which are to be minimized. A FocusCFO’s cost is a sunk cost, already committed; with an attitude which is “now let’s make the most of it”.
- I said it above: my clients were also looking for wisdom, even if they didn’t say it that way. How wonderful to be pushing 70 and have that be a primary positive qualifier!
- You actually get to use your brain, fully and meaningfully. Your input is welcome. You get to be a clear factor in your clients’ success.