The Rise of the Fractional CFO Firm - III
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Disruption - not your parents CPA Firm
PART 3 of 6
Disruptions are not just for the legacy taxi businesses with Uber or hotels with Airbnb. The CPA profession is being disrupted as well. As with most disruptions, this one also started on the outside. Legacy CPA firms focus almost exclusively on compliance-related tasks like auditing and tax preparation. Many in doing so have lost sight of their most important responsibility, client success. In this void, a host of professional service companies, mainly staffed by MBAs, entered the Fractional CFO market. They have had success helping clients and providing services that traditionally have been served by bookkeepers and work completed internally by staff just trying to figure things out.
Often disruption is what causes people to be put on notice. In response, a new type of CPA firm is starting to emerge. These new firms are laser-focused on client success; they only provide advisory services, fully embracing a technology-driven future. Instead of being competitive with legacy CPA firms, they are often their best clients. The leader of these firms is the Future Fractional CFO. The days of big offices, up-or-out staff positions, billable hours, and life-stunting busy sessions are gone. In their place are flat organizations that operate like agile technology firms with diverse skill sets and teams that build lifelong relationships with clients. What remains is the commitment to quality, integrity, and legal protections for clients that don’t exist outside the CPA profession.
Does everyone understand the difference between a CFO, CPA, or MBA? CFOs have worked their way up in the accounting and financial operations of companies. They have worked as and managed accountants, treasury professionals, and financial analysts. Many times, they are a CPA or MBA, or both. CPAs have completed an extra 150 hours of college-level education, passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam and completed two years of related work experience under a licensed CPA. Only half of professional accountants are CPAs. MBAs have completed a wider range of post-graduate education
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