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A SaaS CFO is a chief financial officer with specific experience in the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry. A SaaS business is different from traditional businesses that require a one-time purchase or otherwise brief relationship transaction as a SaaS company depends on subscriptions for revenue.  Cash is king to any business but crucial to a SaaS business while it builds recurring, predictable revenue and generates significant losses in the process until profitability can be reached.  This means SaaS companies require long-term relationships with customers to fuel the predictable revenue stream and relationships with investors and creditors to fund the operations allowing the business to achieve profitability and increased shareholder value.

In this short guide, we address the intricacies of the SaaS industry and how a CFO specializing in SaaS services may increase a company’s ROI. Specific topics covered in this article include:

What Does a SaaS CFO Do?
Does Your SaaS Business Need a CFO?
What Services Does a SaaS CFO Offer?
What are the Advantages of Hiring a SaaS CFO?
Where Can You Find SaaS CFO Services?

What Does a SaaS CFO Do?

A SaaS CFO provides financial strategies, reporting, and performance optimization for companies within a SaaS model. SaaS businesses differ from traditional B2B or B2C companies in that they include subscription services as opposed to one-time purchases. A SaaS CFO utilizes industry specific  knowledge and tools to strategically monitor and optimize company performance.

A SaaS CFO is a key player in ensuring the company’s overall revenue growth, sustainable cash flow, path to profitability, and Increased shareholder value.

Does Your SaaS Business Need a CFO?

As with any business, a SaaS company requires a Chief Financial Officer to manage its finances and drive strategic financial decision-making. A CFO can help ensure the financial stability and growth of a SaaS company while ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

A CFO provides invaluable financial guidance and leadership for a SaaS company. The SaaS CFO ensures that the business is financially stable, makes recommendations to optimize growth and profitability, and protects the company from financial risks. Without a CFO, a SaaS company may lack the financial expertise and strategic vision necessary to reach its full potential.

Here are some reasons why a SaaS company may need a SaaS CFO:

  • Financial Accounting. A SaaS CFO ensures the perfunctory aspects of financial accounting are performed timely and accurately facilitating management reporting and decision making as well as compliance with governing tax and regulatory bodies. Subscription revenue streams create unique challenges to an organization in reporting revenue, billing customers, and maintaining crucial SaaS metric.  The CFO’s industry experience and knowledge are invaluable in this process.  Equity and Debt instrument accounting typical to a SaaS business require certain expertise to ensure proper accounting treatment.
  • Forward-Facing Financial Strategy. A CFO is responsible for creating and implementing a financial plan for the company that aligns with its overall business goals. Using the financial accounting framework, financial analysis, and modeling techniques, the SaaS CFO forecasts future revenue, expenses, profits, cash flows, and SaaS metrics typical to the industry. A SaaS CFO uses the unit economics of the business to drive the modeling.  These financial projections guide all financial decisions and measure performance in relation to the goals and objectives of the business.  A SaaS CFO will help the business share with investors what they can and will do and then measure to demonstrate that the business can be trusted to perform according to shared expectations.
  • Raising Capital. SaaS companies continually raise debt or equity funding to maintain their growth trajectory. The CFO plays a critical role in building and maintaining relationships with potential investors and financiers, as well as presenting data in a clear and concise manner.  A SaaS CFO not only maintains relationships with debt and equity investors but also guides on which instruments to use at a given time to maximize shareholder value.
  • Cash Flow. A SaaS CFO ensures the company has sufficient cash flow to operate efficiently, pay expenses, and invest in growth. This is done by analyzing cash inflows and outflows to identify potential cash flow issues and create strategies to ensure that the business remains financially stable.
  • Regulatory Requirements. SaaS companies are subject to numerous regulations, including tax laws, securities regulations, and general business reporting requirements. A SaaS CFO will ensure financial compliance, including the accuracy and timeliness of financial reports and tax filings.
  • Risk Management. A SaaS CFO identifies financial risks that could negatively impact the business, such as sales tax compliance, market volatility or competitive threats. The CFO develops strategies to mitigate these risks and ensure that the SaaS company is resilient in the face of potential financial setbacks.
  • Opportunity Analysis. Opportunities come and go like unto risks, a CFO will help a SaaS company analyze opportunities and position the business to seize  major business decisions such as a product pivot, sale, merger, or geographical expansion.  With the proper preparations, opportunities may be discovered and decided upon with financial confidence.

What Services Does a SaaS CFO Offer?

A SaaS CFO differs from traditional CFOs because they have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of the SaaS industry, including best practices, industry specific KPIs known as SaaS metrics, challenges, market analysis, and emerging trends. They should also have strong communication and leadership skills, as well as the ability to collaborate effectively with other senior executives, board members, and external stakeholders.

The primary responsibilities of a CFO in a SaaS organization include the following:

1. Forward-Facing Financial Strategy

The first benefit a SaaS company will notice with an expert CFO is a more confident, planned out financial strategy. We term this “turning on the headlights,” which transfers financial focus from record-keeping to a forward-facing strategy. A SaaS CFO will create detailed financial forecasts to guide long-term strategy which acts as a blueprint to help the company know exactly what performance metrics they need to hit to achieve their short and long-term goals. A CFO will develop dashboards and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor financial performance and provide real-time information on revenue streams. The result is a more effective, efficient, and profitable path to achieving goals.

2. Managing Financial Operations

The SaaS CFO plays a critical role in managing the financial operations of the company, including accounting, tax planning, and financial reporting. Having a clear understanding of the business’s financial status and goals enables the CFO to provide accurate financial reporting to help company executives make data-driven decisions. The CFO will help regularly review finance documents with company stakeholders to adjust strategy as needed.

3. Reviewing Financial Performance

A CFO is also responsible for providing insights into the company’s current financial performance, including revenue, expenses, and cash flow. By developing and implementing SaaS-specific financial reporting tools, the CFO can ensure that the company receives timely, accurate, and actionable information to inform wise decision-making.

4. Cash Management

A CFO is in charge of the company’s treasury and cash management, including forecasting and monitoring cash flow, managing working capital, and ensuring that the company has access to ample capital resources. This can help a SaaS company weather financial storms and take advantage of opportunities for growth and expansion.

5. Shareholder value and Profitability Strategies

A SaaS CFO will implement strategies that maximize shareholder value and profitability. However, short-term profitability may need to be sacrificed to maximize long-term shareholder value.  A savvy SaaS CFO guides the business on what levers to pull and when by scenario modeling for the best possible returns.  To deploy the best strategy, they will analyze thesales revenue streams, subscription pricing models, cash flow needs, vendor contracts, profit margins, staffing needs, and customer acquisition costs. The CFO can also identify areas of your business that are not generating a positive return on investment and recommend changes to improve profitability.

6. Pricing Strategy Development

A CFO is also responsible for developing and implementing a pricing strategy that enables the business to sustainably monetize its SaaS offerings. The CFO will work closely with marketing and sales teams to understand market demand and other factors affecting price elasticity, such as competitive trends.

7. Risk Management

A SaaS CFO will identify and mitigate the risks that could hamper company growth and profitability. Ensuring the company has the right insurance coverage and sales tax policies, managing foreign exchange risk, and reducing exposure to regulatory risks are all essential responsibilities of a SaaS CFO.

8. Raising Capital

A SaaS CFO has extensive experience raising capital for early-stage and growth companies. They will help prepare the necessary reports and models to present to lenders and investors, as well as determining valuations and helping to seek and interact with potential investors to secure the funding you need. When you work with a SaaS CFO, you receive the benefit from their investor network (as well as the investor network of their partner CFOs if you utilize an outsourced CFO firm). By maintaining good relationships with investors and financiers as well as maintaining a robust financial plan, a CFO can help the company attract funds from external investors and creditors

9. Planning and budgeting

CFOs are responsible for developing a company’s financial plans and managing the budgeting process. This includes forecasting revenue and expenses, allocating capital, building financial models, and analyzing financial metrics. By creating accurate financial plans and forecasts, the CFO can help the company achieve more predictable and reliable financial results.  Through the budget-to-actual process, the CFO demonstrates to management that they do what they say they will thereby creating and maintaining trust with investors and creditors.

10. Mergers and Acquisitions

A SaaS CFO understands that now is the time to prepare for future opportunities. For most companies, this means strategizing for an eventual strategic exit. SaaS CFOs have specific expertise in helping SaaS companies strategize and prepare for an exit. This includes improving athletic positioning to be able to better take advantage of opportunities that arise, helping optimize company performance and profitability to become more attractive to potential buyers, assisting in due diligence and negotiating terms, and more. Click here to explore relevant SaaS CFO case studies.

If your business goals include a purchase-side transaction, your CFO will help identify targets, evaluate potential impact, and negotiate terms, as well as assisting with the integration and change management after the transaction has been completed.

5 Advantages of Hiring a SaaS CFO

Hiring a SaaS CFO should be looked at as an investment, not an expense. If a company cannot see a path to a direct ROI through the benefits the CFO provides, they don’t have a CFO with a high enough level of expertise in the industry. For small to medium-sized SaaS companies, a fractional solution can offer expert-level SaaS CFO expertise without the cost of a comparable in-house hire.

While any expert CFO will be able to provide some level of financial expertise and ROI, for most companies it is worth finding a CFO specializing in SaaS businesses. Here’s why:

  1. SaaS-Specific Metrics & KPIs. SaaS companies are unlike most traditional B2B or B2C companies, with subscription services as opposed to a one-time purchase. Because of this, a SaaS CFO will focus on KPIs most relevant to the SaaS industry, including churn rate, lifetime value, monthly recurring revenue, customer acquisition cost, and more.
  2. Industry Competitor Knowledge. It’s important that your CFO have knowledge specific to the SaaS industry when making profitability and expense comparisons, marketing tactics, etc. An inexperienced or unspecialized CFO will be starting from scratch in finding and analyzing these comparisons, while a SaaS CFO will have prior knowledge and experience in the industry, allowing for more specific and accurate comparisons.
  3. SaaS Relationships. A SaaS CFO will have connections within the SaaS industry, including vendors, investors, financiers, and even developers or marketing experts. Relationships are a valuable yet underrated benefit of working with an expert CFO, but can make the difference in a successful fundraising round, strategic exit, or vendor contract negotiations.
  4. Track Record. An experienced SaaS CFO will have a track record showing their prior success with companies similar to yours. This allows you to compare apples to apples when choosing which CFO to invest in, whereas a CFO specializing in something like manufacturing or construction may have impressive, yet unrelated success stories.
  5. Hit the Ground Running. When it comes to business, time is money. A CFO experienced in SaaS will already have the knowledge, relationships, and metrics to start providing needle-moving changes faster than a CFO without this prior knowledge. For comparison, a full-time employee can take up to one year to start generating financial benefit to a company. A CFO experienced in the SaaS industry, especially a fractional/outsourced CFO used to producing faster and more measurable results, will require significantly less time to get up to speed and begin producing real, measurable improvements.

Where to Find SaaS CFO Services

Obtaining Software as a Service (SaaS) CFO services can be done in several ways. Here are three common methods:

1. Hiring a Full-Time CFO:

The most straightforward way to obtain SaaS CFO services is to hire a full-time CFO for your company. This individual will be permanently employed and will be responsible for all financial management activities, including overseeing budgets, managing cash flow, and making strategic financial decisions.

Many SaaS companies are bootstrapped, with lean protocols that maximize growth while minimizing cost. In this case, a common error SaaS companies may make is hiring an underqualified SaaS CFO or looking to a Controller or CPA for CFO-type duties. (if you’re unsure of the difference between these financial roles, read our article on Financial Expert Roles & Responsibilities here.) In most cases, the use of an underqualified individual for a CFO role can cause more issues than benefits or can minimize actual returns from CFO services.

If you choose to hire a full-time CFO, look for one that has direct SaaS experience and proven success, as there are specific metrics, KPIs, and strategies associated with SaaS companies that a CFO lacking SaaS expertise would not be experienced in. A high-quality in-house CFO may cost upwards of $160k-$200k, so ensure your needs and budget can accommodate this cost.

2. Outsourced CFO Services:

Another option is to outsource CFO services to a third-party provider. This can be an attractive option for businesses that do not have the financial resources or needs to justify hiring a full-time in-house CFO, but require the expertise of an experienced financial professional. Outsourcing allows a business to access the expertise of a CFO on a per-project or ongoing basis at a decreased cost.

Outsourcing services is a familiar strategy for most SaaS companies because they fit the lean model that most SaaS experts prefer to implement. It allows for maximizing expertise where needed without committing to long-term, full-time in-house services that may not be necessary at the time. This can significantly reduce salary costs, as well as material costs, bonuses and benefits, and more.

3. Part-Time CFO:

Some companies will opt for a part-time CFO to receive SaaS CFO expertise without necessitating a full-time commitment and reducing costs associated with HR benefits and bonuses. This can be a good option if you can find a well-qualified CFO with significant SaaS experience—early retirees or those looking to decrease their workloads for personal reasons will often take on part-time projects to augment income without a full-time commitment.

If you choose to go this route, be wary of underexperienced CFOs or intern-level experts that are still working on their degrees. While you may get the hours put in, a less experienced CFO will greatly reduce the potential benefits and ROI you would receive from an expert CFO.

In Conclusion

Remember that cash is king to any business but crucial to a SaaS business while it builds recurring, predictable revenue and generates significant losses in the process until profitability can be reached.  This means SaaS companies require long-term relationships with customers to fuel the predictable revenue stream and relationships with investors and creditors to fund the operations allowing the business to achieve profitability and increased shareholder value.

The CFO of a SaaS company plays a crucial role in driving the business’s financial growth, profitability, and sustainable cash flow by providing access to the capital markets. By leveraging a deep understanding of financial and business management, as well as strong leadership, communication skills, and an understanding of SaaS best practices, the SaaS CFO can help steer the organization successfully through changing economic conditions and support strategic growth initiatives.

To learn more about CFO services, we encourage you to reach out to Preferred CFO today.

What Does a SaaS CFO Do?

A SaaS CFO provides financial strategies, reporting, and performance optimization for companies within a SaaS model. SaaS businesses differ from traditional B2B or B2C companies in that they include subscription services as opposed to one-time purchases. A SaaS CFO utilizes industry specific  knowledge and tools to strategically monitor and optimize company performance.

A SaaS CFO is a key player in ensuring the company’s overall revenue growth, sustainable cash flow, path to profitability, and Increased shareholder value.

Does Your SaaS Business Need a CFO?

As with any business, a SaaS company requires a Chief Financial Officer to manage its finances and drive strategic financial decision-making. A CFO can help ensure the financial stability and growth of a SaaS company while ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

A CFO provides invaluable financial guidance and leadership for a SaaS company. The SaaS CFO ensures that the business is financially stable, makes recommendations to optimize growth and profitability, and protects the company from financial risks. Without a CFO, a SaaS company may lack the financial expertise and strategic vision necessary to reach its full potential.

Here are some reasons why a SaaS company may need a SaaS CFO:

  • Financial Accounting. A SaaS CFO ensures the perfunctory aspects of financial accounting are performed timely and accurately facilitating management reporting and decision making as well as compliance with governing tax and regulatory bodies. Subscription revenue streams create unique challenges to an organization in reporting revenue, billing customers, and maintaining crucial SaaS metric.  The CFO’s industry experience and knowledge are invaluable in this process.  Equity and Debt instrument accounting typical to a SaaS business require certain expertise to ensure proper accounting treatment.
  • Forward-Facing Financial Strategy. A CFO is responsible for creating and implementing a financial plan for the company that aligns with its overall business goals. Using the financial accounting framework, financial analysis, and modeling techniques, the SaaS CFO forecasts future revenue, expenses, profits, cash flows, and SaaS metrics typical to the industry. A SaaS CFO uses the unit economics of the business to drive the modeling.  These financial projections guide all financial decisions and measure performance in relation to the goals and objectives of the business.  A SaaS CFO will help the business share with investors what they can and will do and then measure to demonstrate that the business can be trusted to perform according to shared expectations.
  • Raising Capital. SaaS companies continually raise debt or equity funding to maintain their growth trajectory. The CFO plays a critical role in building and maintaining relationships with potential investors and financiers, as well as presenting data in a clear and concise manner.  A SaaS CFO not only maintains relationships with debt and equity investors but also guides on which instruments to use at a given time to maximize shareholder value.
  • Cash Flow. A SaaS CFO ensures the company has sufficient cash flow to operate efficiently, pay expenses, and invest in growth. This is done by analyzing cash inflows and outflows to identify potential cash flow issues and create strategies to ensure that the business remains financially stable.
  • Regulatory Requirements. SaaS companies are subject to numerous regulations, including tax laws, securities regulations, and general business reporting requirements. A SaaS CFO will ensure financial compliance, including the accuracy and timeliness of financial reports and tax filings.
  • Risk Management. A SaaS CFO identifies financial risks that could negatively impact the business, such as sales tax compliance, market volatility or competitive threats. The CFO develops strategies to mitigate these risks and ensure that the SaaS company is resilient in the face of potential financial setbacks.
  • Opportunity Analysis. Opportunities come and go like unto risks, a CFO will help a SaaS company analyze opportunities and position the business to seize  major business decisions such as a product pivot, sale, merger, or geographical expansion.  With the proper preparations, opportunities may be discovered and decided upon with financial confidence.

What Services Does a SaaS CFO Offer?

A SaaS CFO differs from traditional CFOs because they have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of the SaaS industry, including best practices, industry specific KPIs known as SaaS metrics, challenges, market analysis, and emerging trends. They should also have strong communication and leadership skills, as well as the ability to collaborate effectively with other senior executives, board members, and external stakeholders.

The primary responsibilities of a CFO in a SaaS organization include the following:

1. Forward-Facing Financial Strategy

The first benefit a SaaS company will notice with an expert CFO is a more confident, planned out financial strategy. We term this “turning on the headlights,” which transfers financial focus from record-keeping to a forward-facing strategy. A SaaS CFO will create detailed financial forecasts to guide long-term strategy which acts as a blueprint to help the company know exactly what performance metrics they need to hit to achieve their short and long-term goals. A CFO will develop dashboards and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor financial performance and provide real-time information on revenue streams. The result is a more effective, efficient, and profitable path to achieving goals.

2. Managing Financial Operations

The SaaS CFO plays a critical role in managing the financial operations of the company, including accounting, tax planning, and financial reporting. Having a clear understanding of the business’s financial status and goals enables the CFO to provide accurate financial reporting to help company executives make data-driven decisions. The CFO will help regularly review finance documents with company stakeholders to adjust strategy as needed.

3. Reviewing Financial Performance

A CFO is also responsible for providing insights into the company’s current financial performance, including revenue, expenses, and cash flow. By developing and implementing SaaS-specific financial reporting tools, the CFO can ensure that the company receives timely, accurate, and actionable information to inform wise decision-making.

4. Cash Management

A CFO is in charge of the company’s treasury and cash management, including forecasting and monitoring cash flow, managing working capital, and ensuring that the company has access to ample capital resources. This can help a SaaS company weather financial storms and take advantage of opportunities for growth and expansion.

5. Shareholder value and Profitability Strategies

A SaaS CFO will implement strategies that maximize shareholder value and profitability. However, short-term profitability may need to be sacrificed to maximize long-term shareholder value.  A savvy SaaS CFO guides the business on what levers to pull and when by scenario modeling for the best possible returns.  To deploy the best strategy, they will analyze thesales revenue streams, subscription pricing models, cash flow needs, vendor contracts, profit margins, staffing needs, and customer acquisition costs. The CFO can also identify areas of your business that are not generating a positive return on investment and recommend changes to improve profitability.

6. Pricing Strategy Development

A CFO is also responsible for developing and implementing a pricing strategy that enables the business to sustainably monetize its SaaS offerings. The CFO will work closely with marketing and sales teams to understand market demand and other factors affecting price elasticity, such as competitive trends.

7. Risk Management

A SaaS CFO will identify and mitigate the risks that could hamper company growth and profitability. Ensuring the company has the right insurance coverage and sales tax policies, managing foreign exchange risk, and reducing exposure to regulatory risks are all essential responsibilities of a SaaS CFO.

8. Raising Capital

A SaaS CFO has extensive experience raising capital for early-stage and growth companies. They will help prepare the necessary reports and models to present to lenders and investors, as well as determining valuations and helping to seek and interact with potential investors to secure the funding you need. When you work with a SaaS CFO, you receive the benefit from their investor network (as well as the investor network of their partner CFOs if you utilize an outsourced CFO firm). By maintaining good relationships with investors and financiers as well as maintaining a robust financial plan, a CFO can help the company attract funds from external investors and creditors

9. Planning and budgeting

CFOs are responsible for developing a company’s financial plans and managing the budgeting process. This includes forecasting revenue and expenses, allocating capital, building financial models, and analyzing financial metrics. By creating accurate financial plans and forecasts, the CFO can help the company achieve more predictable and reliable financial results.  Through the budget-to-actual process, the CFO demonstrates to management that they do what they say they will thereby creating and maintaining trust with investors and creditors.

10. Mergers and Acquisitions

A SaaS CFO understands that now is the time to prepare for future opportunities. For most companies, this means strategizing for an eventual strategic exit. SaaS CFOs have specific expertise in helping SaaS companies strategize and prepare for an exit. This includes improving athletic positioning to be able to better take advantage of opportunities that arise, helping optimize company performance and profitability to become more attractive to potential buyers, assisting in due diligence and negotiating terms, and more. Click here to explore relevant SaaS CFO case studies.

If your business goals include a purchase-side transaction, your CFO will help identify targets, evaluate potential impact, and negotiate terms, as well as assisting with the integration and change management after the transaction has been completed.

5 Advantages of Hiring a SaaS CFO

Hiring a SaaS CFO should be looked at as an investment, not an expense. If a company cannot see a path to a direct ROI through the benefits the CFO provides, they don’t have a CFO with a high enough level of expertise in the industry. For small to medium-sized SaaS companies, a fractional solution can offer expert-level SaaS CFO expertise without the cost of a comparable in-house hire.

While any expert CFO will be able to provide some level of financial expertise and ROI, for most companies it is worth finding a CFO specializing in SaaS businesses. Here’s why:

  1. SaaS-Specific Metrics & KPIs. SaaS companies are unlike most traditional B2B or B2C companies, with subscription services as opposed to a one-time purchase. Because of this, a SaaS CFO will focus on KPIs most relevant to the SaaS industry, including churn rate, lifetime value, monthly recurring revenue, customer acquisition cost, and more.
  2. Industry Competitor Knowledge. It’s important that your CFO have knowledge specific to the SaaS industry when making profitability and expense comparisons, marketing tactics, etc. An inexperienced or unspecialized CFO will be starting from scratch in finding and analyzing these comparisons, while a SaaS CFO will have prior knowledge and experience in the industry, allowing for more specific and accurate comparisons.
  3. SaaS Relationships. A SaaS CFO will have connections within the SaaS industry, including vendors, investors, financiers, and even developers or marketing experts. Relationships are a valuable yet underrated benefit of working with an expert CFO, but can make the difference in a successful fundraising round, strategic exit, or vendor contract negotiations.
  4. Track Record. An experienced SaaS CFO will have a track record showing their prior success with companies similar to yours. This allows you to compare apples to apples when choosing which CFO to invest in, whereas a CFO specializing in something like manufacturing or construction may have impressive, yet unrelated success stories.
  5. Hit the Ground Running. When it comes to business, time is money. A CFO experienced in SaaS will already have the knowledge, relationships, and metrics to start providing needle-moving changes faster than a CFO without this prior knowledge. For comparison, a full-time employee can take up to one year to start generating financial benefit to a company. A CFO experienced in the SaaS industry, especially a fractional/outsourced CFO used to producing faster and more measurable results, will require significantly less time to get up to speed and begin producing real, measurable improvements.

Where to Find SaaS CFO Services

Obtaining Software as a Service (SaaS) CFO services can be done in several ways. Here are three common methods:

1. Hiring a Full-Time CFO:

The most straightforward way to obtain SaaS CFO services is to hire a full-time CFO for your company. This individual will be permanently employed and will be responsible for all financial management activities, including overseeing budgets, managing cash flow, and making strategic financial decisions.

Many SaaS companies are bootstrapped, with lean protocols that maximize growth while minimizing cost. In this case, a common error SaaS companies may make is hiring an underqualified SaaS CFO or looking to a Controller or CPA for CFO-type duties. (if you’re unsure of the difference between these financial roles, read our article on Financial Expert Roles & Responsibilities here.) In most cases, the use of an underqualified individual for a CFO role can cause more issues than benefits or can minimize actual returns from CFO services.

If you choose to hire a full-time CFO, look for one that has direct SaaS experience and proven success, as there are specific metrics, KPIs, and strategies associated with SaaS companies that a CFO lacking SaaS expertise would not be experienced in. A high-quality in-house CFO may cost upwards of $160k-$200k, so ensure your needs and budget can accommodate this cost.

2. Outsourced CFO Services:

Another option is to outsource CFO services to a third-party provider. This can be an attractive option for businesses that do not have the financial resources or needs to justify hiring a full-time in-house CFO, but require the expertise of an experienced financial professional. Outsourcing allows a business to access the expertise of a CFO on a per-project or ongoing basis at a decreased cost.

Outsourcing services is a familiar strategy for most SaaS companies because they fit the lean model that most SaaS experts prefer to implement. It allows for maximizing expertise where needed without committing to long-term, full-time in-house services that may not be necessary at the time. This can significantly reduce salary costs, as well as material costs, bonuses and benefits, and more.

3. Part-Time CFO:

Some companies will opt for a part-time CFO to receive SaaS CFO expertise without necessitating a full-time commitment and reducing costs associated with HR benefits and bonuses. This can be a good option if you can find a well-qualified CFO with significant SaaS experience—early retirees or those looking to decrease their workloads for personal reasons will often take on part-time projects to augment income without a full-time commitment.

If you choose to go this route, be wary of underexperienced CFOs or intern-level experts that are still working on their degrees. While you may get the hours put in, a less experienced CFO will greatly reduce the potential benefits and ROI you would receive from an expert CFO.

In Conclusion

Remember that cash is king to any business but crucial to a SaaS business while it builds recurring, predictable revenue and generates significant losses in the process until profitability can be reached.  This means SaaS companies require long-term relationships with customers to fuel the predictable revenue stream and relationships with investors and creditors to fund the operations allowing the business to achieve profitability and increased shareholder value.

The CFO of a SaaS company plays a crucial role in driving the business’s financial growth, profitability, and sustainable cash flow by providing access to the capital markets. By leveraging a deep understanding of financial and business management, as well as strong leadership, communication skills, and an understanding of SaaS best practices, the SaaS CFO can help steer the organization successfully through changing economic conditions and support strategic growth initiatives.

To learn more about CFO services, we encourage you to reach out to Preferred CFO today.

About the Author

Tom Applegarth Human Resources Expert Preferred CFO

Tom Applegarth

Human Resources Expert

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