December 1 , 2010
DeciZens offers CFOs for hire
By Robin Arnfield
DeciZens, a Toronto, Ontario-based financial management outsourcing company, is launching CFO-for-hire services for Canadian small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs). “What we offer is the ability to help convert the fixed cost of the finance function into a variable cost,” DeciZens’ founder Azam Foda CMA, MBA, tells Canadian Treasurer.
Among the outsourcing services provided by DeciZens are treasury management, risk management, including advice on insurance coverage, transaction processing, and working capital management. “We already have some clients using our services,” Mr Foda says.
There are quite a number of experienced CFOs available to work as consultants for smaller businesses, Mr Foda says. “At this point in the economic cycle, big firms have been reducing costs by laying off staff, which means that I can call on experienced people to work with me,” he says.
Mr Foda defines SMEs as businesses with up to 500 employees. “We take the risk of managing the finance function away from the SME,” he says. “In a large organisation, there will be a CFO supported by a large number of people. But smaller firms often lack the means to hire a full-time CFO. If they do manage to get a good CFO, he or she likely will move on to a larger firm before too long. And hiring a poor-quality CFO would compromise the SME’s finance function.”
Mr Foda says SMEs likely don’t need a CFO function 100 percent of the time. “By using our outsourcing service, they can change a fixed cost – employing a CFO - into a variable cost,” he says. “Our target market is firms with annual revenues of between C$3 million and C$15 million. A firm with revenues below C$3 million wouldn’t need a CFO, as they would have someone to look after their book-keeping and someone else to prepare their tax statements. Business with revenues above C$15 million would be able to afford a full-time CFO.”
Mr Foda says that there are two main types of SME – family-owned or –operated firms, and companies that are supported by venture capitalists (VCs). “Family-owned firms are very likely to need help with the CFO function,” he says. “VC-backed firms will be supported by their investors, who will probably put an experienced person on their board, and may provide financial expertise. However, I can see a need for VC-backed companies to need outsourced financial management services.”