7 Focus Areas for a Small and Virtual Finance Department

November 16, 2016

By Jim Sweet | Harkcon's Chief Financial Officer 

For the past 10 years we have grown from a very small seven-person, completely boot-strapped business to one of nearly 100 people, all the time remaining completely virtual.  This has been a challenge to our financial processes in a variety of ways, but we have continually been able to develop and implement a solution, sometimes several times over, that successfully answered our need.

 

In an effort to organize our thoughts so we could reflect and communicate our solutions, we searched and found a great document:

 

http://www.icaew.com/-/media/corporate/files/technical/business-and-financial-management/finance-direction/finance-function-a-framework-for-analysis.ashx

 

In reviewing the document, it became clear that the requirements for a sound financial system are the same for a bricks and mortar company as well as our virtual company, but how they are accomplished is often different.  Over the next few months we will explore each element of our financial system in more depth, considering different aspects of each focus area and explaining how we as a small, virtual, and geographically dispersed company, developed and implemented solutions to effectively address financial system issues that every small company has or will face.  We will address:

 

 

1. Accounting – How to record the financial results of your organization’s activities

  • AP, AR and Payroll Processes

  • Accounting and Reporting

  • Internal Control Management

2. Compliance – How to meet the requirements of governmental and regulatory bodies

  • External financial reporting and travel/expense processing

  • Corporate Governance and Accounting Policy

  • Taxes – State and Federal

3.  Management and Control – How to produce and use information to monitor, inform and inspire operational goal achievement.

  • Standard financial processes, including invoice management, forecasting, pricing, business performance measurement, budgeting, etc.

  • Information management, including cash flow, investment, treasury, risk and internal audit, etc.

  • Client management

  • Alliance management, including business development, contract, pricing, etc.

4. Strategy and Risk – How to inform and influence strategy implementation from the financial perspective

  • Strategic planning, modeling, strategy execution and risk management

5. Funding – How to provide for short and long term debt financing and investor relations.

  • Investor and Board of Director relations

  • Short/long term investment

  • Relations with your bank

6.  Resources – How to manage people, systems, and outsourcing/shared services to improve support of information flow and financial decision-making.

  • Finance systems

  • People management

  • Outsourcing and shared services

7. Other Financial Activities – How to manage integration of other financially related areas

  • Informational Technology

  • Legal and human resources

  • Pensions/401K

  • Property management and insurance 

If you don't see something you’d like to learn more about, please let us know and we will do our best to address your concern.  If you would like a quicker response, feel free to contact us at blog@harkcon.com and reference the title, "7 Focus Areas for a Small and Virtual Finance Department." 

 

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