Why Hire a Part-time CFO – Part 2 TRUST: The CEO/CFO Relationship

adult animals beautiful daylight

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on Why Hire a Part-time CFO.  Part 1 was about deciding that the status quo is simply intolerable and finding the ideal CFO to enable change.

In this part, we dive into the all-important CEO/CFO relationship.  Beyond finding the most qualified candidate, business owners and CEOs need to find someone that they can fully trust. The CEO to CFO relationship must be based on mutual trust, as no one sees more than the CFO.  CEOs need an experienced CFO, who has proven competency at large, small and start-up companies.  Most important, the CFO must be a high-integrity person who puts the business above everything else.

Everything said must stay in confidence and the CFO cannot have any secret agendas.

Getting to Yes. The CFO’s job is not to say “no” all day, it is the opposite.  A good CFO can say yes to new opportunities, adjusting plans and timelines to develop alternate approaches to get the same result.  The CEO is the aggressive visionary, and the CFO is entrusted in making sure the CEO’s path to achieve their goals is realistic.

Assessing the character traits of any CFO hired is important.  Are they able to apply the focus and work ethic to see your great initiatives followed through to completion?  Is their mantra along the lines of working hard, getting things done, efficiently executing on projects assigned?

If you hire the right person as your CFO, they will be your greatest ally and asset.  They can connect with you at a deeply productive level.  They understand the roles and parameters the CEO prefers.  They are professional and represent the company in the best light possible.

CFO management consultants always make the best partner for 

Business Owners, CEOs, and Entrepreneurs.

To learn more about our affordable, flexible, part-time consulting services, or to get a free CFO review of your financials, call Arima Business Solutions today.

818.710.3899 | |

Why Hire a Part-time CFO – Part 1 – Changing Your Status Quo

BankerThis is Part 1 of a 3-part series on Why Hire a Part-time CFO.  This article talks about the first step to take, once you decide that your current financial state is simply intolerable.

Over recent years, small business CEOs have become more aware of the consequences of failing to take action.  These CEOs carry a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset and realize that continuing to tolerate the status quo is putting their business farther and farther behind the competition.

But where do you look to find a high-quality part-time CFO?  One that you can fully trust but as important, one who can get the job done?

A quality CFO has industry knowledge, problem solving skills, flexibility in methods, efficiency, and hyper-qualifications.  They should not only organize company finances but also be a first-rate problem solver.  They need to be flexible in changing their methods to fit the nuances of your business.  They need to work fast to improve the bottom line.  And finally, they need to be more qualified than any person you could hire as a full-time salaried employee.

The core value of a CFO consultant includes CEO advisory on major financial issues, strategic plan re-focus, execution of key initiatives, business funding and debt, litigation support, and facilitating key sales and financing transactions.  Matters like these are often complex and urgent to the business but can be handled by a money saving part-time CFO consultant.

Additionally, a great CFO consultant is well-versed in small business systems including   customer relations management (CRM), HRIS, digital marketing and lead generation.  This is to ensure you have a single point resource that understands all aspects of the business.

Onboarding a consulting CFO is simple and immediate and carries no long-term financial commitment.  Hiring a part-time CFO is ideal if a) you need a specialist, b) you need to act fast, c) your in-house team has problems, d) you don’t need more office workers.

(Next:  Why Hire a Part-time CFO – Part 2 – Built On Trust: the CEO to CFO Relationship)

To learn more about our affordable, flexible, part-time consulting services, or to get a free CFO review of your financials, call Arima Business Solutions today.

818.710.3899 | |

Did Accountants Build the Great Pyramid?

great pyramid of giza

Of course not.  But a great pyramid of accounting talent is often needed to have a high performing team.  This is true for large companies, and sometimes it feels like you can never have too much accounting talent.  But for smaller companies, staffing even a few of these positions full time can be difficult to afford.  Small businesses also experience more ebbs and flows in accounting workload than larger companies.  They may need a lot of help at year-end and during tax season but may need less help during the dog days of summer and the holidays.  The below accounting pyramid shows the average compensation for common accounting positions.

Website blog - pyr and callouts
(source: Glassdoor Feb 2019, Los Angeles area, plus 25% employee benefits load)

Using these budgets as a point of reference, let’s look at the cost of a typical small business setup of General Accountant plus Controller.  This pair costs $236,552 annually, or $19,713 per month.  This is a permanent monthly fixed expense since these are full-time employees on payroll.

Alternatively, a part-time CFO paired with a full-time Bookkeeper costs only $7,971 per month, or 60% less than the $19,713 full-time Accountant plus Controller. With a CFO, processes and controls will be created so that a Bookkeeper can competently handle the day to day. The true cost of this option will of course vary.  The complexity of the work, the frequency and intensity of pre-existing problems, are two factors that influence how many CFO hours are needed per week.

The good news is that more and more small businesses today are seeing the flexible consulting CFO model as a much better fit for their unique situation.  They can avoid being overstaffed today then understaffed tomorrow.  Right-sizing accounting resources is one of many reasons the part-time CFO model has become increasingly popular. It has become an attractive option for small businesses that:

  • Need a specialist, fast.
  • Want a flexible budget that fits the week-to-week or month-to-month workload.
  • Want to avoid long-term cost commitments.
  • Want to avoid the rigor of hiring and firing.
  • Want an experienced large company CFO that fits their small business budget.

This cost analysis is not suggesting that either option is superior to the other one.  But we should do what we can to raise awareness.  As a small businesses, did you know that having your very own best in class accounting function is very much in reach?

 To learn more about our affordable, flexible, part-time consulting services, or to get a free CFO review of your financials, call Arima Business Solutions today.

818.710.3899 | |

The Three Biggest Problems Facing Today’s Small Businesses

not enough cash flow • too much stress and anxiety • not enough free time

We had previously introduced to you the idea that time, money, and stress, represents the most persistent problems facing small businesses today.  To expand further on this notion, and to accept the fact that no two small businesses are the same, it is important to isolate where, and to what degree, time, money and stress issues have infiltrated your small business.

We created a checklist, so that small businesses can “self-assess” whether problems related to time, money, or stress applies a lot, a little, or not at all to your situation.

The checklist items start with “I am having problems with …”

  • getting some outside expertise and resources which will allow me to focus on sales, new services, new customers and other priorities, instead of other things that often sidetrack me.
  • gaining a better understanding of the financial side of my business, to know the truth about my business finances so I can make better decisions, while eliminating unwelcome “surprises” caused by relying on inaccurate, unreliable, late, incomplete or misleading financial information.
  • finding a business partner that can serve as a sounding board or second set of eyes, one who will give honest feedback on my business, good or bad.
  • having a safety net or warm fuzzy blanket, to give me peace of mind. For example, a CFO that is “on call” to periodically check your numbers and advise you of problems before they happen.
  • improving my credibility with stakeholders, investors, management and staff. To have them trust that I have a confident grip on my financials.
  • installing, quickly and easily, a system of checks and balances, to monitor and protect my cash always. To minimize the risks of dishonesty, fraud, waste and harmful mistakes.
  • automating my back office, to improve profit margins while reducing time wasted on the day-to-day.

To learn more about our affordable, flexible, part-time consulting services, or to get a free CFO review of your financials, call Arima Business Solutions today.

818.710.3899 | |


CFO Remedies for Small Business Symptoms – The Doctor is IN

An interesting way to think about treating small business financial ailments, is to associate the process with the process of thinking about when you are due for your regular doctor check-up.

Like a doctor, a CFO management consultant can look at specific symptoms to determine if a small business is overdue for a check-up.  We have created another checklist for you, which identifies the most serious and persistent symptoms facing many small businesses.  If your small business shows any of these symptoms, they can be looked at by a trustworthy and dependable CFO consultant.

By observing your day to day and week to week, see if you are fighting any of these conditions.

  • You worry about meeting payroll.
  • You are late paying vendors and suppliers.
  • You are overly obsessed with monitoring your bank balance, clearing checks, and avoiding overdrafts.
  • Your credit card is not being paid, or carries a large balance, or is on a minimum payment plan.

As an owner, see if you are having persistent issues with these business funding challenges:

  • Spending more than 50% of your time thinking about how to get more funding.
  • Getting successful and prompt approval for your requests for more credit or capital.
  • Thinking more than you should about being boxed into having to start divesting.

Small businesses need to grow to survive.  As you grow, see if you can identify with one of these growing pains.

  • Having no clear, compelling, realistic financial plan or growth strategy (in writing), to have a solid strategic roadmap to guide your actions toward your business goals.
  • Frequent rejection when applying for growth capital from your preferred sources.
  • Uncertainty on whether your existing systems/infrastructure is strong enough to support the planned growth of your business.


To learn more about our affordable, flexible, part-time consulting services, or to get a free CFO review of your financials, call Arima Business Solutions today.

818.710.3899 | |


Bucket List

When was the last time you looked at your bucket list? A bucket list should hold us accountable for the things we want to do in life. It should be a source of excitement, providing us with one more reason to wake up in the morning. My bucket list consists primarily of new places and new experiences, ten of which I highly recommend.

10. En route to Machu Picchu, this is one of the camp sites along the Inca Trail. The elevation is approximately 12,000 feet, which is just high enough to reach out and touch the clouds. IMG_5977

9. Lopburi, Thailand has been overtaken by monkeys, most of whom have formed two gangs. Each gang occupies a temple on opposing sides of the street. When the monkeys are not swinging from telephone lines and climbing atop vehicles stopped at red lights, you’ll likely find many catching a short nap in the shade. img_2026

8. The Terracotta Army in Xian, China was discovered in 1974 when local farmers were supposedly digging a well. The sculptures were buried around 210-209 BCE. Each warrior is mesmerizing, as no two faces are alike, and while some are missing parts of their body, they do not break rank. They stand, and they appear prepared to move forward. img_2454

7.  The Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt is considered the second largest ancient religious site in the world (the first is Angkor Wat). Pictured here is a glimpse of Hypostyle Hall, home to 134 massive columns carved with mesmerizing hieroglyphs. IMG_7333

6. The Tunnels of Cu Chi in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam comprise an immense tunnel network that took approximately 25 years to build. The tunnels were used extensively by the Viet Cong guerillas, but they were also home to many Vietnamese. People lived in these secret tunnels. Travelers, escorted by a guide, can now crawl through the tunnels. (Just try not to get stuck in one of the many tight bends, like I did. It made for quite a scare). cu chi

5.  This is what sunrise on the Great Wall of China looked like on a cold morning in February, 2004. I was able to get onto the wall at 3 a.m. and hike to Simatai (the highest part of the Great Wall). I hiked only a few miles by head torch, the help of a few friends, and a bit of luck. Current measurements put the length of the Great Wall at over 13,000 miles. light blues - Copy

4.  If you like lavenders and purples and blues, every sunset in Koh Samui, Thailand will call to you. img_1046

3.  The Padrão dos Descobrimentos in Lisbon, Portugal rests stoically on the edge of the Tagus River, celebrating 33 figures for their role in the Age of Exploration. Padrao dos Descobrimentos

2.  In Palermo, Sicily, an evening stroll after eating handmade pasta and drinking local red wine is precisely what’s necessary so you can do it again tomorrow. img_1683

1.  Just as some nations protect rain forests, Dubai, UAE protects its ever-decreasing deserts. Sand-boarding, as Michelle is doing below, is a thrilling way to see the majestic sand dunes that once characterized the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. Sandboarding

What’s on your bucket list? What have you crossed off recently? And what are you looking forward to?

Social-media Savvy

So you’re ready to begin a social-media campaign. Or it’s time to re-evaluate your current metrics. Consider how the following might inform your next move:


If your goal is to garner “likes” and “shares,” post on Thursdays (between 3:00-5:00 p.m.). If your post has travel-related content, Mondays and Tuesdays are better. Of course, the worst day to post (if “likes,” “shares,” and page views are your objective) is Saturday. Check out an article by Atiqur Rehman for more information. Also, of the big social-media platforms, the Facebook audience is most receptive to offers and giveaways.


Use the Advanced Search function to identify market segments, target audiences, and trending hashtags, and to study your competition. One company on Twitter, @visually, constantly tweets about things that do not seem to have anything to do with their key product/service, which is content marketing. They do tweet about content marketing (every third or fourth tweet), but they also tweet about things like “how much sugar people should consume” or “what Americans spend their time doing in a typical day.” Again, their tweets do not have much to do with content marketing, but they are interesting. I suppose that, as one of their Twitter followers, as long as I continue to find their tweets interesting, I’ll associate interesting things with their brand.


Success on Pinterest does not seem reliant on native content as much as simply identifying good content and pinning it to your company’s boards. Businesses would do well to ruminate on what, specifically, their Pinterest boards are titled, as they need to be representative of the business. Also, if native content is created, it will likely perform better if it is bulleted, or if it is a three-step or five-step process.


Simply posting links to your blog/offer/giveaway will likely be ineffective. Businesses must make an effort to drive Instagram users into their marketing funnel. This can be accomplished by creating a targeted landing page for Instagram users. Success on Instagram does not seem reliant on native content as much as simply identifying good content and posting it. However, in order to drive traffic from Instagram to your company website, you will need to compel people to click on, perhaps, a dedicated link. Consider linking to an article that is somehow relevant to the photo, and then nudge the reader toward more of the content on your blog or toward your services. This might make the transition from Instagram to your website more seamless.

You needn’t become a social-media expert overnight. Arima Business Solutions has expert consultants in social-media management. Reach out to us today. Let’s have a conversation about your needs.

Rules of Argument (part 3)

This three-part post will cover six rules of argument that should be important to any knowledge worker, executive, leader, manager, or critical thinker.

What follows is a continuation of part 1 and part 2.

Rule #5: You are not your argument.

Remember that while you may be passionate about your argument, you are not your argument. This might best be supported by Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, when he discusses how difficult this is, yet how essential it is to continued growth. The example he cites is biblical. Rohn cites this about Jesus: “Jesus could say, ‘I love you but I hate your sinful ways.'”

Now, how it is possible to love and hate in the same sentence? If you hate a person’s actions, do you have to hate the person? Or is it possible to love a person (for instance, your mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, significant other) but hate what he does to himself? An example suggesting the viability of the love/hate relationship can be found in the granddaughter’s love for her alcoholic grandfather. She loves her grandfather. But she cannot stand what he’s doing to himself. In fact, she hates it! Still, she has learned to distinguish the two. She loves him, but she hates his sinful ways. Such separation is a sign of emotional and intellectual maturity. Some critical thinkers would argue that the ability to separate or delineate the two is essential. 

Consider examining another scenario. The trial attorney may argue many cases over the course of a year. In each case, he may present his opening argument. If he were his argument, then we should diagnose him with schizophrenia or multiple-personality disorder because he has become the following: “George Pearson should not have to pay this increase in child support,” “Martha Bivins was not legally sane when she killed her husband,” “Ms. Jodstone did, in fact, violate the contract,” “Robert Ash is entitled to this insurance settlement,” etc. See, in certain arenas, this ability to delineate or separate a person and his argument is developed and honed. For this writer, the arena consisted of three classes: Philosophy of Law, Business Law, and Constitutional Law II. In Constitutional Law II, I was asked to argue for “Brown v. Board of Education.” After doing so for approximately five minutes, I was given ten seconds to collect my thoughts, and then I was asked to argue against “Brown v. Board of Education.”

There are many things to learn from such an exercise. First, when studying both sides of a case, we are often able to see the motivations for people’s arguments. We also become familiar with the facts, and we become familiar with the opposition’s claims. Second (and something “critical thinkers” may wish to examine), being expected to argue both sides of an argument convincingly and passionately helps absolve a person of the emotional connection he may have at one time thought necessary when constructing an argument. Notice, the passion can still be present, for passion can be created simply from a desire to win or to emerge victorious. And hence, hopefully you can still find the passion to argue, even if you do not agree with the claim you’re attempting to advance. But know this: you are not your argument. Just as a person can delineate love and hate, just as an attorney can delineate his many arguments, and just as a student of law can delineate both sides of an argument, you must separate yourself from your argument.

Rule #6: Listen with the intention of listening, not with the intention of offering your retort.

One way people telegraph their intention to offer a retort as opposed to genuinely listen is when they interrupt. Such people are so excited about what they have to say that what you are saying is no longer important and, frankly, it’s probably not being heard. Of course, some would argue that they do listen, but they simply have a terrible habit of interrupting. In that case, note this: those who interrupt are often perceived as pushy, rude, disrespectful, overbearing, and egotistical; they are also often perceived as bad listeners. Thus, if you are guilty of interrupting, even if you do not think you are guilty of the aforementioned “charges,” realize that this is often the perception of such people. If you want to dodge this perception and escape this stigma, exhibit the patience required to listen. And if you’re on the receiving end of a “pauser,” a person who pauses often while speaking, then simply ask the question: “Are you finished?” If the person is not, he’ll tell you. Of course, if he is, then the soapbox is yours.

See part 1 and part 2 for the other Rules of Argument.

Rules of Argument (part 2)

This three-part post will cover six rules of argument that should be important to any knowledge worker, executive, leader, manager, or critical thinker.

     argument = a discussion (an argument is not a quarrel)

     thinking critically = this does not mean thinking negatively. Critical thinking can be completely positive, completely negative, or, more likely, an amalgamation of both.

What follows is a continuation of part 1.

Rule #3: When arguing, if you must raise your voice, do it quickly, and do it for emphasis.

Employ such vocal inflection like a writer would employ italics. On occasion it may be necessary, but be conscious of it. Those on the receiving end of your amplified voice may only tolerate it for so long. Remember to lower it, take a deep breath, and remember that if people think you are about to explode, they might be more concerned with the results of the explosion than they are with the argument you’re attempting to advance.

Rule #4: Try to control your argument.

While “control” is an illusion or a state of mind, and while we human beings find ourselves steeped in our own subjectivity, it is still advisable to attempt control or restraint, especially when you find that your appeals are far more emotionally-driven than they should be. Emotional appeals, of course, may be a component of any argument, but they become lofty unless they are grounded by logical appeals. Similarly, ethical appeals, if relied upon too heavily, can find themselves floating among the unwarranted and unsubstantiated.

This is a problem with such appeals. While logical appeals may seem dry, academic, or simply boring, if delivered responsibly, they should seem more credible and reliable than emotional and ethical appeals. Further, emotional appeals often flirt with bias, prejudice, fallacies, blind assertions, and sweeping over-generalizations. An example of this can be found when a student argues to his professor that he should have earned a higher grade on an assignment. The argument may begin in a responsible manner, for the student may cite logical appeals to advance his contention. If, however, the professor is able to combat each appeal and the student becomes frustrated, the student might blurt, “You’re unfair. You’re mean. You’re outrageous.” In this situation, the student has just articulated three assertions, and as a critical thinker or a person who values the formal constructs of argumentation, he should be prepared to offer an example for each one. Unfortunately, these assertions were (most likely) emotionally-driven. They are steeped in anger, immaturity, and bias.

Try to control your argument by remaining conscious of the appeals you have chosen to employ. Use emotion, for it is attractive, and it can advance an argument. But do not forget to mix it up. And if you find yourself becoming too emotive (relying too heavily on emotional appeals), make a decision immediately to correct your current course of action.

Winning Psychology

Many books never age for me. Huck is still Huck; Holden is still Holden; Think And Grow Rich and The Magic of Thinking Big still resonate. I read and re-read these books. The books are the same, but I have changed. This remains a curious method for measuring growth.

Recently I re-read Dr. Denis Waitley’s The Psychology of Winning. Published in 1979, plenty might consider it ancient. But its wheels are still true.

Here are the takeaways that I find most valuable:

Make a List of “I Am’s.”

Create two columns. Place your assets or “I am good at” in one column. Place your liabilities or “I need improvement in” in the other column. Pick your ten best traits and your ten traits needing the most improvement. Take the first three liabilities and schedule an activity or find a winner who will help you improve in each of the three areas.

Accepting Compliments

One good indicator of an individual’s opinion of himself is the way he can accept a compliment. It is incredible how low-achievers belittle and demean themselves when others try to pay them value:

“I’d like to congratulate you on a job well done.”

“Oh, it was nothing . . . I was just lucky I guess.”

“Wow, that was a great shot you made!”

“Yeah, I had my eyes closed.”

“That’s a good looking suit. Is it new?”

 “No, I’ve been thinking of giving it to Goodwill.”

The Loser believes that the quality of humility should be pushed over the cliff into humorous humiliation. And the devastating fact is that the robot self-image is always listening and accepts these negative barbs as facts to store as reality.

The Winners in life accept compliments by simply saying “thank you.” Bob Hope says “thank you”; Frank Boorman says “thank you”; Steve Cauthen, after winning the Triple Crown, doesn’t say “gee, I almost fell off my horse”; he says “thank you.” Neil Armstrong, Jack Nicklaus, Cheryl Tiegs, Nancy Loopez, Chris Evert all say “thank you.” Self-esteem is the quality of simply saying “thank you,” and accepting value that is paid to you by others.

Wants and Desires

Make a list of five of your most important current wants or desires, and right next to each . . . put down what the benefit or payoff is to you when you achieve it. Look at this list before you go to bed each night and upon awakening each morning.

Indeed, Dr. Waitley’s Psychology of Winning has reminded me of the things I’ve lost focus on. And today, when the competition for your attention is likely greater than it has ever been before (the incessant alerts, updates, notifications via smartphones, computers, social media, etc.), one of his admonitions hits home: “Concentrate all your energy and intensity, without distraction, on the successful completion of your current project. Finish what you start.”