10 February 2023

Top tips for Setting Yourself up as a Virtual CFO

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If you work in finance and are looking to change up your career, becoming a Virtual Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is one of the most lucrative and fulfilling opportunities available. Whether its called fractional CFO, outsourced CFO , or part-time CFO,  by setting up as a virtual CFO, you can use your financial know-how to guide your clients through important business decisions while having the freedom and flexibility that comes with working remotely.

Trends in the accounting profession have led to value-added services like virtual CFO becoming more common. This is due to advances in technology, automation lowering the value of traditional services and small businesses outsourcing functions such as HR, accounting and marketing, in order to lower their costs and obtain better talent. It doesn’t suit all clients- most of whom still value meeting with someone face to face regularly to support them with their finances, but for many a virtual CFO is a great fit.

Whether transitioning from corporate finance or accountancy, this article will provide key tips on what it takes to become a Virtual CFO.

What is a virtual CFO?

For small and medium businesses looking to maximise their financial potential while minimising costs, a virtual CFO is the perfect solution.

In much the same way as a traditional CFO, the main responsibilities include: –

  • Creating budgets and forecasts
  • Pinpointing problem spending and managing cashflow
  • Highlighting trends in the market and supporting business growth
  • Advising on financial planning
  • Validating or discouraging business decisions with robust financial analysis

How do I become a virtual CFO?

The most important qualities for a virtual CFO are experience, but also resilience and the ability to be a self-starter. While there are no specific educational requirements for this position, many businesses prefer professionals who have an accounting or finance degree as well as previous experience as an in house CFO or finance manager. This helps to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of financial concepts. Whether you have years of experience or just getting started in the field, staying up-to-date with industry trends and news is also beneficial when it comes to offering this type of service. Setting up as a freelancer or sole trader is not for the faint hearted. With no team to back you up, you have to be able to turn your hand to computer issues, generate sales and conduct your own marketing, as well as handle the loneliness that remote working can often bring.

What should I offer?

Virtual CFOs act as trusted advisors who can help business owners make informed decisions about their finances by providing insights into cash flow, budgeting, taxes, investments, and other financial matters. They also develop strategies that can help businesses manage debt or invest money wisely. As such, they play an important role in helping businesses stay profitable and grow over the long term.

Offering valuable longer term financial insight is the most lucrative offer a virtual CFO can provide. Helping businesses with important financial decisions is a service very much needed, whether focused on investment and growth or cost cutting. So, focusing on financial strategy is an attractive proposition.

How Can I Offer This Service?

 If you’re interested in offering a CFO service, but don’t know where to start, there are plenty of resources available online that can help get you up to speed with the basics quickly. You will need a website and will need to conduct digital marketing campaigns in order to find clients as well as attending face to face networking events.  Joining associations  and institutions is also a great way to network.

Stand out from the crowd by understanding technology

The number of virtual CFOs is rising  and so you need to stay ahead of your competition. A savvy VCFO will be able to recommend the very latest in technology solutions to their clients. Being able to understand how  AI and advanced data analytics will change  finance processes is an area all CFOs need to become comfortable with. So, if you can provide this service then you are ahead of many competitors.  Better still, talking about this area on LinkedIn and other forums is a great way to raise your profile.

Using technology to deliver Virtual CFO services

Cloud technology has revolutionised the way business is done. Virtual CFOs can now access their client’s information instantly with cloud accounting software such as Clearview, allowing for real-time insights into cash flow and profit. This has been a gamechanger in terms of streamlining operations and unlocking profitable opportunities. Financial forecast software, coupled with your finance skills, gives you competitive advantage, helps you stand out from the crowd, and also helps you serve more clients by automating forecasting so you can increase profits and revenue.


By tapping into an experienced professional who works remotely on a part-time basis, businesses gain the same benefits as having an in-house CFO without sacrificing their budget. With cloud technology allowing for full access to financial software, many companies are pivoting to a virtual CFO model instead of employing a CFO on their payroll.

Virtual CFO services are in demand and  offering them  is an excellent way for experienced finance professionals to use their expertise and take their career to the next level while helping businesses succeed financially. It takes experience in accounting or finance along with staying up-to-date on industry trends and news, and it’s not for those who would miss the buzz of an office. Being comfortable with networking and sales is also essential to success.  With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way towards offering this in demand service as soon as possible.