Do you need a consultant?
August 10th, 2023
Clarifying your company's needs and objectives is essential to ensuring you have the right talent in place to hit your targets. And in situations of unprecedented growth, organizational change, or uncertain economic conditions, the right talent may require engaging with a consultant (or two!). External consultants, including the team at Siegfried Advisory, offer companies a more cost-effective option that flexes to fit your business needs. Engaging an experienced outside consultant is a decision that only you can make, but here are a few things to consider that may help with your determination.
Assess what skills you need in both the short- and long-term
What does your company want to accomplish in the next six months? The next year? The next five years? For example, if your goal is to sell the business, you will likely require audit-ready financial statements and thus a CPA with relevant experience to ensure a successful audit. If your goal is to fundraise, it is generally important to critically assess historical financials and create a strong financial plan for future expansion activities, which could require a CFO-level skillset.
Conduct a skills gap analysis
Once you have identified your business goals, conduct a skills gap analysis to determine which skills and expertise your current team possesses, and which are missing. This will help you identify areas where you need to hire talent or provide training to existing staff. Perhaps you have an accounting team that has managed the books well, but lacks a CPA who can create GAAP financial statements and the required policies and procedures.
Evaluate the workload and your budget
Touch base with your team to understand their current workload and determine if additional bandwidth is needed. If you find that you do need some help, keep in mind that hiring new employees is expensive. Do you have the available budget to bring in a new full-time person, complete with salary and benefits?
For many small to midsize businesses, there is often a need for additional skills in the finance and accounting function, but they lack the workload to justify a full-time hire. Consider factors such as upcoming projects, seasonal demand, and employee turnover. It can be helpful to think about what the employee’s experience would be. Would they be bored because there is only 20 hours of work a week? Is the type of work you’re asking them to do interesting and challenging to them? Would they be overwhelmed for six months and then left with nothing to do once the project in question is complete?
The benefits of a consultant
In addition to salary and benefits, there are other costs that come along with a full-time employee — including training, incentives, and overhead costs such as technology and equipment. In contrast, a consultant can be hired on an as-needed basis and paid for only the support they provide. This type of arrangement generally results in cost savings, particularly if the workload is variable and unpredictable, like in the context of rapid expansion, restructuring, or M&A.
By nature of their role, consultants are exposed to a variety of businesses, projects, and challenges, which means they bring a broad range of experience to the table. They often offer specialized skills and knowledge in areas such as tax planning, financial analysis, technical accounting, risk management, and due diligence that can be helpful in making better business decisions based on your company’s immediate needs. And in the case of Siegfried Advisory, a consultant would also have access to a broader set of resources that they could leverage to increase the value they provide to your company.
In the process of creating a healthy and sustainable finance and accounting function, there are many considerations in finding the appropriate balance of full-time staff and third-party support. As companies grow, it’s common that a consultant or other temporary solution is effective in bridging the gap until a full-time position is required, or if circumstances require specialized knowledge or skill.
Siegfried Advisory’s Value Proposition
Technical experience and unique intangibles are crucial for achieving success, but fostering an exceptional client-consultant partnership is equally important. At Siegfried Advisory, our higher purpose is to help people transform themselves into better leaders to exponentially improve their lives, and this extends beyond our team to our clients.
Through our leadership advisory services, we help leaders clarify and simplify their vision, so they can agree and commit to making the best decisions for their organization. As a result, our team can execute alongside you with precision and alignment. For us, it's not just about financial expertise — it's about nurturing individual leadership and driving your long-term success. When it comes to considering a consultant, we know that our professionals are uniquely suited to efficiently filling gaps and helping you achieve your business goals. Contact the Siegfried Advisory team if you’d like to discuss your current needs and learn how we can assist.
This article was contributed by Jenna Linville, Senior Manager in Financial Advisory Services at Siegfried Advisory. You can contact Jenna directly at [email protected].