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How New Technology is Changing the Role of an External CFO

New technology is changing the province of CFOs from custodians of the past to navigators of the future. Instead of confining their expertise to producing balance sheets and regulatory documents, external CFOs are tapping new revenue sources and fueling fresh .....

Strategy, Growth, Business - 2 min read

Fast growing businesses will inevitably confront the challenge of balancing their priorities. Importantly, keeping existing clients happy, gaining new clients whilst ensuring the business remains profitable.

The consequence of this is the difficulty in meeting clients’ expectations; in terms of price, quality and timeliness.

The common reflex is for businesses to buy more capacity, either by hiring more people, buying more equipment, working longer hours, or doing all three. Although this may seem like the only option, an evaluation of other strategies may reveal opportunities for time and/or resource gains. One such strategy is to look at client management.

Client management is more than asking if your client is happy. It’s about managing expectations.

Clear upfront communication in relation to the cost and benefits of your services or products reduces uncomfortable pricing conversations. Often disputes related to pricing are more about a client’s lack of clarity in relation to the services or products, than the client’s lack of spending appetite. Additionally, timeliness of payment demonstrates the client’s perception of the benefit.

Internal processes that provide guidelines/framework for employees are key to successful client management. Selling processes should enable the sales team to effectively communicate the perceived benefits of the product or services. This must be teamed with a consistent pricing model and strict payment terms.

Discussing payment terms with your clients is critical. This should be a conversation rather than relying on the Terms of Business at the back of a contract. The reluctance to clarify payment terms during the sales process is to avoid having to deal with “push back”. However, dealing with “push back” can often highlight the client’s unclear perception of value, and provides the business with an opportunity to reassert that perceived value. When clients breach the contract a business can charge interest, or stop supplying services or products. For most growing businesses these are not viable options, highlighting the importance of upfront conversations.

In simple terms, it is your business’s responsibility to set expectations if you want to successfully take control of client management. Simply riding the momentum of growth by saying yes to everything will eventually catch up with you. 

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