32 financial management tips and CFO advice for startup founders and small business owners

 In Outsourced CFO Advice

Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked as a CPA and outsourced CFO to startups and small businesses helping owners understand their financial statements and make strategic decisions that drive their business forward. 

I’ve worked with a variety of industries and businesses, which helped me gain a lot of experience in providing business owners and leaders with strategic guidance to how to use numbers to think strategically about the business. I am going to write a little different of article type and give a bunch of financial management tips and takeaways in a more listicle kind of format.  

  1. Bringing in more revenue always trumps cutting expenses
  2. Although cutting expenses won’t help growth, but operating efficiently will get you to the next day, week, month, year
  3. Most CPA’s are focused on taxes, find one focused on strategic growth and business as well
  4. Keep 6 months cash on hand; you never know when you’ll need it
  5. Bankers and investors are there to sell; never think they’re your friend or your enemy always cultivate multiple relationships
  6. Bankers and investors don’t understand your business — you need to tell them the story
  7. Always shop rates (insurance, interest, etc); you never know when you’ll need those relationships
  8. Start the insurance renewal process 2-3 months before it expires
  9. Build relationships with your customers before you’re asking for money
  10. Your reporting is only as good as your underlying data
  11. If you don’t understand your financial statements, you’re at the mercy of your Accountants
  12. The number of levels at a company almost always directly correlates with how quickly you’ll get paid
  13. Revenue growth should outpace economy & industry growth
  14.  Profits won’t always go up, but you must always understand why they did what they did 
  15. Cash flow is what really matters
  16. Shrinking Gross Margins are a HUGE problem — address them immediately
  17. Not having a (receivables) collection process is a great way to not collect your money
  18. If you can its helpful to have bank account reconciled weekly; you’ll never understand your business more than this
  19. Capital expenditures will drain your cash when you need it the most; always have a capital plan
  20. A detailed budget is the best way to force staff to plan their year; having to justify expenses will make them identify what’s really important so you can focus on that instead of their 10 initiatives
  21. Never assume someone understands the numbers; they won’t ask, so always explain
  22. Feed your best employees with bigger tasks
  23. Always give deadlines and repeat them
  24. When training, tell them (verbally), show them (visually), and let them (tactically)
  25. Always ask for the contract
  26.  Organized files take time, but they’ll save you at the inevitable audit
  27. Auditors want to see patterns; show them the pattern of you having your stuff together
  28. Numbers are a sensitive subject, so speak the truth clearly; beating around the bush helps no one
  29. Be willing to pay for IT, but never give them a blank check
  30. Everyone is guessing in inventory management
  31. Always be looking for funding and debt options; waiting until you need it is too late
  32. It isn’t a sale until the cheque is cashed.


Have more questions, or need more focused attention? Request a free consultation from Huckabee CPA, if we are a fit, I will help you understand your financials and simplify your accounting processes—so you can focus on your business. Get a consultation today. We also offer part-time outsourced CFO consulting to certain businesses.


Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

when should a startup hire a cfo vs Financial Controller?