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Top Considerations for Construction Companies Looking to Hire an Outsourced CFO or Advisory Firm

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In the world of outsourced accounting, an exceptional financial leader can be difficult to find. Businesses often ask themselves several questions… Do they know my industry? Do they really understand my unique situation? Can the firm help me achieve my goals? Are they worth the additional expense?

For construction companies in need of outsourced CFO or accounting support, these questions can be especially critical. Most construction company owners have a full plate managing the business, ensuring clients are happy, that jobs stay on track and that suppliers are fulfilling orders. Outsourced support could be especially helpful, but business owners don’t have the time to teach a new person the industry nor do they want to pay an absorbent fee to do so (it should be a given).

When looking for an exceptional outsourced financial leader and a strong advisory firm to support a construction company, there are four key items things to consider:

  1. Expertise: It goes without saying that the outsourced financial leader you select to assist in your business should be an expert. Look for an advisor that has several years of experience in multiple areas such as auditing, tax, improvement consulting, operations, logistics, etc. An advisor that has worked in the industry, lived through major transactions, and has experience in multiple positions and organizations can add a depth of understanding that few others can match. Understanding job costing, prevailing wage laws, workers comp, sales and income tax regulations, should be a basic requirement. But digging further into that an expert that is keenly aware of challenges facing the construction industry, as well as the unique funding opportunities allotted for businesses can be especially helpful as companies (and suppliers) continue to feel impacts of the pandemic.
  2. Credentialing: Like attorneys, physicians and other professionals, accreditation in a field of expertise sets the real experts apart from others. When choosing an outsourced financial leader is goes without saying that you should look for a professional that has trained for and passed a rigorous credentialing exam, attended extensive training (and continues to do so on a regular basis) and has conducted an ample number of real-life projects in order to showcase mastery of the field. Selecting an accredited expert gives peace of mind that the person you select has met a high-bar of excellence and can prove it prior to accepting your engagement. A handful of different credentialing organizations offer various designations but look for one of the major designations such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CMA (Certified Managerial Accountant). ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation), CVGA (Certified Value Growth Advisor) and CFP (Certified Financial Planner) can also be important designations if you’re looking for support around business succession planning or financial planning. The Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP®) designation is the only accounting certification for construction financial professionals.
  3. Additional firm abilities and advisory services: Often when selecting an outsourced financial partner, a business is solely focused on fixing whatever big financial problem that requires outsourced support. While the person selected should be a real expert that can solve the biggest problems, the firm the outsourced expert is part of should also be evaluated. An excellent outsourced financial leader will often be partnered will a full-service advisory firm that can assist a business in multiple areas outside of accounting. Valuable business services offered by the firm could include strategic planning, business succession planning and value growth services, complex gift and estate tax calculations/filing, data analytics and KPI support, technology and wealth management to name just a few. A firm that can bring all aspects of the business under one roof offers the potential for a streamlined and highly efficient expertise. Deep knowledge regarding legislative updates and Employee Retention Credits (ERC) has been especially helpful for construction companies in recent months, as Congress has expanded the credit. A strong advisory firm can proactively bring opportunities (like the ERC) to the table as options a construction business may be able to utilize for additional savings.
  4. Someone willing to understand your unique situation: Far too often an organization in need of financial assistance calls a firm looking to see what they charge for help. They are typically quoted a price that is shocking. The business concludes the price is too high and does not end up seeking adequate counsel. This is very unfortunate. Far too often firms receive a call from a prospective client and don’t take the time to listen to the actual problems. In many cases, a full-time outsourced CFO may not be required… but because the prospective client said that’s what they wanted a quote for, that’s the price they’re given. A prospective firm and outsourced advisor tune-in to the organization’s real needs will take the time to understand the purpose of the request, the parties, and true needs of all involved. Many organizations would be thrilled to know that less expensive alternatives may be available based on their circumstances. A trusted advisor will get to the bottom of things before quickly recommending the most expensive option.

If your construction company is in need of outsourced financial or advisory support, it may be time to reach out to the professionals at Maner Costerisan.

Tim Bograkos, Director of Business Development - Maner Costerisan

Tim Bograkos

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