Great Ideas for your Small Business: Rent a Financial Genius
Ward wieman, founder of management Overload in Santa Monica, California, helps small, fast-growing companies manage rapid growth. To manage his own cash flow, he says, “I rent a financial genius once a month.” Relying on this kind of outside expertise helps him keep track of his big financial picture.
“These temps have proven to be exceptional,” said Wieman, who pays about $250 to $300 an hour for savvy financial advice. “For many business owners, these finance man- agers do a good job at managing the resources the company already has. Sometimes they will tackle or identify a potential problem, like when a business owner doesn’t know whether he’s making or losing money.”
Many businesses can’t afford, or don’t need, a full-time chief financial officer. If that’s the case, you can “rent” a very competent one. “A finance pro can highlight the problems and the strong points of your business,” Wieman said.
He also reminds business owners that no matter what happens in the business world, “cash is king.” “The only true growth is in profits,” Wieman said. “If profits are not growing faster than revenues, something’s wrong.”
In addition to renting a financial expert, you can rent a credit manager. Eric Shaw, founder and president of New York Credit in Marina del Rey, California, handles accounts receivable for many small- and medium-sized companies.
You can hire a financial genius to handle numerous tasks—in-firm accounting, accounts payable, long-term financial planning, fiscal year-end bookkeeping, valuing your business, and any number of other figure-crunching feats.
But remember that discretion is often of the essence here. Shaw, for instance, prefers that his clients be unaware that the person calling them for payment is a “hired gun.”
For your business purposes, however, it doesn’t really matter whether your financial genius is on-staff or rented— as long as he or she can keep an eye on the finances.