Virtual Finance Team.
Khurram Chohan is the CEO and Founder of TogetherCFO.
TogetherCFO delivers sustainable financial success. They create a financial strategy that matches your unique organizational goals. Nobody likes surprises when it comes to finances but a full-time CFO can be expensive. A growing company should be able to benefit from the same business insights large companies enjoy. Having access to a part-time, project-based, and outsourced CFO gives businesses the expertise they need, only when they need it. TogetherCFO comes in to take responsibility of the financial institution of your business so you can focus on growing.
Learn more about how TogetherCFO can develop your financial strategy by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
On with us right now. We've got Casey Chohan. Casey, you are the CEO and founder of TogetherCFO, and I gotta tell you, I'm a huge fan of what you do and and what that is, is it's allowing earlier stage startups or you know, you think of the level of a company where you would want to bring in a full time CFO, that's a pretty big company. However, companies that are not yet at that level, if there's one thing I could urge all them to do, and I'm sure you're gonna appreciate this is find a way to get a virtual CFO. It can change your life. And that's what I'm hoping Casey Boy, that's world's biggest softball for you. That, that I'm hoping that you'll agree with me.
Absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Thank you for that and wholeheartedly agree with that. Yeah. Thanks, Josh.
So talk to me about how you started together, CFO, what's the, you know, what was the impetus for that? And what do you do today? So yeah,
so kind of just going back to my story growing up in England, as a as a young boy in the fields with my dog and lots of murder. I always kind of had this curious nature, which, which drove me to cancer. solve big problems for big businesses. So, so that in mind, I then went into business and finance and accounting, because I thought that would be a good tool or a good skill set to be able to solve those bigger problems. I then went into being a boring accountant, so to speak straight from university, which kind of gives me a visceral cringe when I when I think of that, but that was definitely not a good fit for my personality. And I didn't last long doing that. So within six months, I realized that that was not not really a good fit for me. So I had to find something different, but that would that would resonate with me that I could see myself doing on a more long term basis. So then, quickly realized that I switched into becoming what we call management accounting, which is an account in an internal accountant for a bigger company. Which in this case was Flo serve, which is a big SMP 500. Company through eight years, so nearly a decade of working with Flo serve learning the ins and outs of how they were relocated in twice moving internationally to Los Angeles, which is where I'm now best. After that, I kind of had enough of the corporate lifestyle. I wanted to try something new. So you know, for for almost a decade, I was doing one clause cash flow analysis, forecasting budget in building better systems and processes. So I've got very, very familiar with kind of the inadequacies of how to run a big business. So to put that into context, by the time I left floor serve, I think they would do in around 4.7 billion in annual sales. But it just wasn't a place I was kind of comfortable with by the end of it called America was very different. They were more focusing on maximizing everything, instead of optimizing first, they were more consumed with perception of the results. And it kind of didn't really sit well with me, I'm more about being results focused or the perception focused. So then I left flow serve grid terms and went into kind of the startup world, helping small businesses. And that worked really well. I could then help with like, be more hands on with the operations with the market in so that finance and the whole team could kind of synergize and be on the same page. So that helped me make a much bigger impact a lot quicker, as opposed to kind of the big fortune 500 company where I was kind of tied into sticking in my lane and not really being able to utilize all of my skills then As time went by I went
through a couple of different startup companies and different industries, from technology companies, to global event companies, and helping them grow and the kind of the more I grew my network in that space, the more people kept reaching out to me asking for advice, which was the pilot, I realized that, hey, there's, there's something here, I'm pretty good at this CFO thing. And I feel as an opportunity to add value to the smaller businesses that really need that help, as opposed to the bigger companies where you just a small cog in a big wheel. And it's just taken over and over. So now, we we tend to help small businesses generally between two and 30 million in revenue, who who want to really take that business to the next level, can't really afford or don't really need the full time CFO services, right? But really Want to grow? And that's the type of company that's our sweet spot and where we add most value to help them really understand what's going on with that numbers. We present it in a way that's not overly detailed on the jargon. And we, we pride ourselves in presenting results and drivers to non finance people accurately and being able to communicate that efficiently because we found that that was one of the biggest pet peeves were non finance people I've spoken to as if they are finance people. And they gloss over very quickly and it just it doesn't become productive for any parties then so I don't know if that was me rambling on a little bit too much. But that's kind of my background. Yeah.
So Casey so So say I must start I'm a small business startup like we're starting to get some good sales in what what I guess sell me on why I should Bring in a virtual CFO.
So the simplest way we look at it is, the team that got you where you are, is not the team that's going to get you where you want to be. And that is assuming that you you are hyper growth. And you do have these ambitious goals of kind of taking your business to the next level. And what that really means is, every business reaches a plateau. So whether that's let's just use $2 million in revenue as an example. So you've taken your business from zero to 2 million. And now you're struggling to kind of scale that to the next level, grow it three or 4 million. The team that's got you from zero to 2 million, has done a great job. There's, you know, there's not many businesses that make it over that million dollar mark. And so that's an achievement in itself. But in order to scale your business and kind of reach a new level, a new standard, you will not most of the time. You'll not be able to do that with the same team, you need to bring in a higher level of thinking a high level of experience, someone who's been there and done it before, to be able to kind of help you navigate through the growing pains because the problems you face at 2 million or 5 million or wherever your plateau is a very different from the problems you face when you start up the problems you face five years or 10 years. And so businesses are always changing. They're always evolving and depending on what life cycle later on, depending on what size they are. So what we do is we come in and we add that extra ammunition at the time at which a plateau is reached or a time of which aggressive accelerations required to help support that leadership team.
I think Casey that maybe a lot of founders think that the answers are pretty obvious. Well, I just need more sales. And so now we need to double down in This activity was this profitable, I guess. So let's do more of that. But what does a CFO reveal that typically founders and CEOs don't reveal themselves?
Yeah, so it's so much more than just the sales numbers. Obviously, that plays a big part in it. And that is a huge driver. But if you're selling something and not knowing the real margins on that, or not realizing the actual manpower and the time the utilization of the staff that goes into that, that's, that's, it could be sending you down the wrong path. Ultimately, also, it's a defensive game. It's like football. You look at the offensive and the defensive, if you're making 2 million, but you're spending 2.5 million. That's still not gonna work in the long term, although many tech companies would disagree with that. But generally speaking, we also have to look at the defensive game, which is the expense side of things. How is that working out? What does that look like because a 10% seven initiative expenses, could mean you don't have to make another hundred thousand dollars of sales. So the you've got to look at both sides of that. But more importantly, where a lot of the businesses fail is in cash flow. So we come in, we analyze the cash flow, we look at the cash flow cycles, the working capital cycles, your balance sheet ratios, just to make sure that the health of the company is there, that the forward plan is there. So if we look at just as an example, a company buying inventory, so if you overspend on inventory and run out of cash, you won't have enough cash to pay a payroll or you know, to pay vendors and other things like that. Depending on how quickly the inventory turns, how can you make that into profit. So it's just really getting clued in on the full lifecycle of the business and making sure that you've got those checks and balances in place along the whole cycle so that it's efficient from beginning to end. Having that financial person weigh in on that is definitely going to help the team become more well rounded rather than the CEO who's normally going to be kind of an entrepreneur minded person, that's very Go go go. You need to have a balance of that with real numbers and actual a good scorecard so that you don't get too carried away. And you're not overextending yourself. But at the same time, you still push in, and you're checking and constantly monitoring where you are. So for instance, one of the phrases I always use is you only grow what you measure. So if you can't measure it, it's hard to really focus growth on that. Hmm.
So Casey, one thing. So you and I have each attended business mastery. And I know Tony Robbins talks about, you know, when when a business hit that adolescent phase in business, and you know, maybe you know the business, maybe that means that you're now doing You know, a couple hundred thousand to a million, and all of a sudden you experience cash flow issues, which seem to not make sense because your revenues are up, up. But you know, maybe you've said, Okay, this thing is working. And so now you've invested in more staff. Maybe you've invested in more platforms technology, you know, maybe it's office space, but see all of these things, even though we feel as founders, like a, we got a sure thing now, because this thing's working, and we make those investments for whatever reason. It's it. It just, it affects the bottom line. And it's, it's almost It's, um, it's incredibly frustrating when I look at my own personal revenue, and I'm like, Listen, I was making more money as a freelance, you know, when I was just doing consulting, and all of a sudden, we started growing and scaling and I'm not making as much money now. I would imagine you see this pretty frequently.
Yeah, totally agree that Josh, you know, as companies grow, there's a whole host of different problems that come up. And that's not Just in finance, that's marketing, that's operations, it's pretty much across the board. If, for instance, in the example you use if revenue goes up, you may need additional staff to support that. So it may be sales team, it may be operation and team, so your payroll is going to go up. And as a knock on consequences, you healthcare probably going to go up, your bonuses is going to go up. And then if people aren't the right fit, they may leave, they may claim other things disability, or you know, there's a whole host of things that that can happen as an organization grows. So it's very important to keep an eye on the numbers on the bank, on the cash on everything that's going on really to as indicators as you review your scorecard and you have some really good metrics around the business. And they are both financial and non financial metrics. That's really going to give you the best picture of the health of the business so that you can drive that growth in the right areas. fix that areas that need fixing and pay attention there. But it boils down to two real things. And the two real nuggets are having the right people in the right places and having the right processes. Without without those two things. It's very, very difficult for any business to really scale to that next level.
And so Casey as a business yourself, you know, again, I know you've been able to work with some pretty prestigious clients, particularly in the head of the Beverly Hills community, I see some you've done some great work with health care providers and and see some optometrists and and and then of course, your work with MGM and IBM and that sort of thing. So you as a VC have, oh, how do people typically learn about you, and how do you get your business and I know, you know, just based on the kind of the level at which you work, you don't need to do massive volume, you're not looking to kind of become the McDonald's of CFOs. You know, but that you still kind of operate a little bit exclusively but but how do you grow? How have you grown your business?
Yeah, so primarily, it's just grown from word of mouth. It's been initial relationships that I've had and network have then referred and we've started working with people and just spread through word of mouth to start off with. And then more recently, I've been involved with Forbes magazine and been doing some speaking engagements for the accounting and finance conference, the ideas conference, and I have a few more lined up podcasts like this, but generally speaking, it's through word of mouth because you know, finance is the most intimate part of any business and to get a good referral and to get someone that you trust or your network trust was already using to be able to assist with one of your friends, families. A network member often gives a lot more weight than just seeing a random person on the internet and saying, Oh, do I trust this person. So kind of the way we grow now, we're a small boutique firm. And like you said, we don't take on a lot of clients, per se, you have to be very good fit. And we have to be a good fit for you. Because ultimately, it's all about the client success. If we don't feel we can add the level of value that that we feel is needed for us. And we have a very strong Money Back Guarantee as well. to back that up, then we don't take on the client. So so to work with us you've got to be doing in the region of at least $1 million. You've got to be very forward thinking you've got to be able to take criticism to make the changes and execute because with the way we think is we're business partners, where he had to add value and help you scale but if the comments We, the comments that we make are the items that we find that need addressing. If those recommendations kind of don't get implemented, then we can't be effective at what we do. So it's very important that that we have a partner that takes that very seriously. And that's ultimately going to be best for both of us. We only gives me we only want win wins really is what I'm trying to
get out. Right. So Casey, you've got a book into three vital steps to increase profitability in your business. And so someone is so someone's just listening to us, you can go to three, it's the number three steps to profit.com. And you can download, download this for free what what's included in that book,
so it's just so it's like maybe an eight minute reads. It's very simple. It's easy to get through, and it gives you some basic ideas of the main things to look at in terms of your business, health and health. To improve them. And then at the end of that book, we also offer you a free five minute financial audit, where we can just take a quick overview of your company and give you a quick report on on some of the high level things that we think that you could help help you scale
to the next level. That's great. Well, Casey Chohan, you're the founder and CEO of Together, CFO, you're on the web at Togethercfo.com. And of course, you can get the free ebook, three vital steps to increase profitability in your business. Certainly, if you're doing some decent volume, you're looking for a VC, CFO. Casey, you provide those services. And I'm sure you'd be happy to have a quick call with someone to figure out if there's a good match there.
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on.
Casey, thank you.
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