Four Strategic Decisions Holding Your Small or Mid-Market Company Back

By Joe Cicerone

Updated 7/29/2019. Your business needs help. No, that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong — or more wrong than anyone else trying to independently run a business.  But it would help to have an experienced CFO advisory group who could see your company’s challenges and opportunities from a fresh perspective.

That’s because the management team of young and growing companies tend to see what they’ve always seen. They only know the one way of looking at their bottom line and all of the decisions that got them there. They often have individuals who must wear too many hats. For instance, your controller might move into a CFO position and now have both financial and operational responsibilities.

But is that the right workload for your controller? Here are a few examples of the mistakes you and your team might be making that hold your business back from its full potential.

Baggage from past financial decisions

If you’ve been in business for a few years or longer, you’ve  no doubt experienced expansion, contraction, labor issues, vendor & customer problems, which have affected the financial and operational makeup of your company. Every business owner does. All of that, or more, can cost you money over the long run. The more of these common  outside influences that you experience, the more of a drag it can have on your financial and operational efficiencies.

Distrust in outside advisors

Those changes stay in the family. Or among a very small and tight management team. Outside advisors don’t, in your opinion, know enough about your business to be able to be of any help. They’d take too long to train. And how do you know they can be trusted? It just seems to be safer to struggle day after day by yourself.

A paucity of viewpoints

Again, it’s that closely held company model you’re up against. Maybe it’s a family owned business that has “always” done things a certain way. So that’s how it’s to be done forevermore. Meanwhile, you’ve got a good controller distracted by also trying to be an operations chief — not necessarily a good fit. But fresh eyes might disrupt your way of doing business, and, in your mind,that’s a bad thing — even if that existing way hasn’t been so successful of late.

Limited scope

You’re so concerned about running things day-to-day that you don’t have time or bandwidth to think about changing the internal policies and procedures necessary to gain efficiencies that will result in a more profitable outlook.  This keeps thoughts of expansion, long-term growth strategies, new markets, new vendor selection, retirement planning, management succession or anything else out of immediate view. Long-term planning and strategic direction gets lost in the shuffle. You get by, but miss ample opportunity to take an important step forward.

Partnering with an advisory services group

Maybe you can see the advantages of an experienced partner to help you make your way over, under or around any or all of these familiar obstacles.

Partnering with an advisory services group would provide you with the support of a full service accounting and management consulting firm, with experience and expertise in issues relating to HR, IT , tax, estate and trust planning, legal, M&A and financial planning issues.  You will now have provided your company with a new perspective to be gained as a supplemental addition to your management team.  This expertise will effectively link finance and operations in a manner that provides the true CFO services that you have grown to need.

Now you can be sure that your company is geared up to handle all threats or opportunities to internal or external influences over the next two, five and ten years. That will let you focus on where you can do the most amount of good — on business development and future strategies.

Joe Cicerone is a former small business owner and strategic advisor providing CFO Advisory Services to small and mid-market clients of Wiss & Company LLP. Reach him at or (973) 577-2596.

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