How to Build a Strong Financial Team for My Startup

If you are a startup founder, you know how important it is to have a strong financial team to support your vision and growth. 

Small business startup accounting has a set of unique requirements and challenges that will only be successfully navigated by having the right team by your side.

But how do you build a winning financial team that can handle these challenges with ease and help your startup achieve its goals?

Let’s look at the details.

Assess Your Company’s Financial Needs and Goals

Before you start looking for a startup accountant and other financial professionals to join your team, you need to have a clear understanding of what your company needs and wants from them. To do this, you should ask yourself several questions as the answers will guide you.

These questions will help you define the scope and expectations of your financial team which will, in turn, help you determine which financial roles need to be filled.

Source the Right People

Once you have a clear picture of your financial needs and goals, you can start looking for the right people to fill them. 

Typically, a startup will require individuals who have expertise in areas such as accounting, investor relations, risk management, and budgeting. However, it’s not just financial skills that matter. Finding the right fit for your company’s culture and ethos is just as crucial.

Here are the key factors you must consider when sourcing a financial team:

Experience

Of course, financial expertise and qualifications matter. It’s essential that you pick people who have plenty of experience in the financial field and have proven their skills with previous employers.

But relevant experience is just as crucial. Startups have a very unique set of financial requirements. Since they are not yet an established business, they carry more risk and, therefore, require more care and attention than perhaps a long-running business would.

You want to choose people who have a solid background in working with startups or similar industries. They should be familiar with the challenges and opportunities that come with scaling a business, dealing with investors, and navigating regulations.

They should also be used to working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment – which is what startups usually are like.

Skills

Next, you must choose individuals who have strong technical skills in their respective fields, such as financial modeling, analysis, reporting, forecasting, etc. that align closely with your startup’s goals and requirements.

However, it’s not just technical skills at play here. Your team must also have excellent communication and problem-solving skills too. If you are hiring at the management level, strong leadership skills are also necessary.

Then there are interpersonal skills, which feed into the next heading. Essentially, your team should be approachable and make everyone feel comfortable to be around.

Personality 

You could have the best financial team in the world but if they rub you up the wrong way and don’t contribute positively to the office environment, it’s just not going to work. As we already mentioned, approachability is crucial as is the ability to work well with others in a dynamic environment.

There’s nothing worse for a business than someone grumpy, negative, and resistant to change or new ideas. This is the exact opposite of what a startup needs.

You also want people who share your vision and values and who are passionate about your product or service. If they don’t believe in what you do, how can they advocate for you when negotiating things like investments on your behalf?

Your team should also be adaptable, flexible, and resilient in the face of uncertainty and change. Startups go through many phases and there could be multiple storms to weather. A financial team that remains composed and stands with you, will help you through the trickier times.

Define Roles and Responsibilities

After you have sourced the right people for your financial team, you must establish each team member’s duties and key objectives to ensure successful collaboration. 

You can use tools such as job descriptions, performance plans, or OKRs (objectives and key results) to define what each person is expected to do and how they will be measured. Some of the common roles and responsibilities of a financial team include:

Clearly defining roles is a step you should not neglect. If your team doesn’t have a clear outline of what each of their responsibilities are, tasks will get left undone, and mistakes will be made.

Create Structure and Processes

Now you have defined the roles and responsibilities of your financial team, you must establish policies and procedures to guide all aspects of your financial operations. 

Creating a structure that allows for clear communication, coordination, accountability, and efficiency among your team members is paramount. Additionally, creating processes that ensure consistency, accuracy, quality, and compliance in your financial activities is also essential. 

Some of the elements of a structure & processes include:

Monitor Performance and Results

Finally, to ensure ongoing performance and ensure that your financial team is working optimally, you should conduct regular reviews and performance assessments.

By monitoring your team, you will quickly understand how well it is meeting its objectives, how efficient it is being, and how well it is supporting your startup growth journey.

This is also your opportunity to provide feedback and adjust roles, responsibilities, processes, and tasks as needed. Additionally, it is vital that you recognize a job well done and reward your team members accordingly. 

Doing this fosters a healthy working environment and keeps your team happy and motivated.

Some tools for ongoing performance evaluation include:

  • Dashboards: A dashboard consists of a visual display that shows key financial metrics and indicators in real time. They help to monitor your financial health, performance, and trends quickly.
  • Reports: Written documents that provide detailed financial information and analysis help communicate your financial results, insights, and recommendations to various stakeholders, such as investors, board members, or management.
  • Meetings: Team meetings allow for discussion and collaboration among your team members and ensure clear communication is maintained. It’s an opportunity to share information, solve problems, make decisions, and align on goals and plans.
  • Reviews: Performance reviews can be formal or informal evaluations that measure your team’s performance against its objectives and expectations. They give you insight into the team’s strengths and weaknesses and provide feedback and guidance for improvement.
Vector graphic demonstrating a financial team of four supporting a startup company

Provide Resources and Support

Now you have a strong start-up accounting team in place, you must ensure that all your team members have access to the tools, materials, and guidance they need to succeed. If you don’t do this, you’re setting yourself – and them – up to fail.

You need to provide resources and support that enable your team to perform their tasks efficiently, effectively, and professionally. Whether that’s through accounting software, an upskilling program, multiple communication channels, or something else, your team will have a much better chance of success with the right tools at their side.

Additionally, it’s up to you to foster a culture and environment that promotes learning, growth, and innovation among your team members. 

Tools

Financial tools consist of software or hardware that facilitate your financial operations. For example, accounting systems, financial software, spreadsheets, calculators, etc. Most commonly, cloud-based accounting software is used because it allows all team members to access and modify the same data sets as required.

Moreover, accounting software includes automation. This means many repetitive tasks can be set to autopilot. This reduces the likelihood of an error being made and frees up your team’s time to allow them to concentrate on other important jobs.

Other important tools include communication methods such as Slack, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. Proper emailing software is also a must.

Materials

Like tools, there are several materials also required for business start-up accounting. For example, your team needs the right hardware to allow them to utilize the tools provided. Decent laptops and phones will allow your team to work effectively.

If your team is office-based, basic stationery such as notepads, pens, calculators, etc., all need to be thought about.

The best way forward is to ask your team what materials are required for accounting for startups. After all, they are the ones doing the job so they should be able to communicate their requirements.

Guidance

Lastly, advice, guidance, or assistance should be offered to the team and readily available when required.

Too many businesses fail to provide this and it leads to a confused and unmotivated workforce.

Accountants for startups require ongoing training, coaching, mentoring, feedback, etc. You must provide your team with ongoing guidance that allows them to develop and increase their skills, knowledge, and confidence.

EvolveCFO for Strong Virtual Financial Teams 

Accounting for start-up business may not have a requirement for full-time individuals. Furthermore, your startup may not even have the office space necessary to accommodate them

This is where a virtual financial team could be an extremely effective solution. 

This is where you hire all the financial professionals you need from an outsourcing provider such as EvolveCFO. We specialize in bookkeeping for startups, accountancy, CFOs, payroll experts, and more.

Our team has a deep understanding of what a startup needs and we will ensure we match your startup with the right person. 

Additionally, EvolveCFO already has all the tools and materials our virtual financial experts need, so you don’t have to worry about it.

And, best of all, you only pay for the level of service your startup requires saving you even more money. If you need to scale up or scale down the service, we can do that too, so you’re always getting exactly what you require.

If you’re interested in EvolveCFO and how we can help make your startup a success, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

*This blog does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. This blog should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.*

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