Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business Influencers, most influential expert on Wealth, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen LinkedIn Profile

November 9, 2012

How can a CFO add value in a family business?

The role of the CFO, particularly in a family business, is to help gather up all the ideas flying around the company and work out the risk and reward for each potential project.  Often, these ideas originqte with a comment from the business owner who then forgets.  A CFO is needed to capture the ideas and try and get them onto one page in order to choose the priority. To explain it better, here is the CFO of a family business explaining his situation and how he added value.
Once whilst in a new role I inherited 50-projects, all of which had the opportunity to add revenue, save lots of dollars, or lose dollars.There was however no clarity over which projects would do which. 
I think the simplest answer to "What should we do?", is PROVIDE CLARITY (in addition to having the right structure in place), to leaders who are completely inundated with hundreds of competing priorities. 
To continue - I managed after some time and much investigation to get all of the 50-projects on 1-page with the 'Approximate $ annual return' and '$ return per hour invested' for each project. It brought amazing clarity to the situation. Some projects were canned instantly. Some had potentially staggering returns. 
Projects were then pursued in detail and prioritised accordingly via a stage-gate process. 
Another important enabler is DETAIL, proving to the boss that all angles have been considered. I cannot stress this enough. One criteria for allegedly great consultant ideas, for instance, could be 'Do I trust this consultant who is offering me this advice, and if so, why?'. 
All of this should help in some part to help clear the fog and enable leaders to focus on the best opportunities in an environment where everyone is doing more with less.

Jacoline Loewen, author of Money Magnet, weekly TV Show, The Pitch, BNN

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726
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