03: One Surprising Change That Will Lead to More CFO Clients

Jun 17, 2022

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03: One Surprising Change That Will Lead to More CFO Clients

Jun 17, 2022

Hey my friend! 😎

Welcome to The 5 Minute Fractional CFO.

Here's 1 actionable tip to help you start, scale, or optimize your fractional CFO firm.

This edition will take you about 3 minutes to read.


Most fractional CFOs try to "get in the door" with compliance work. The idea is that you'll upsell them to CFO work later. 

The idea itself seems solid. You think you will hook them with bookkeeping work for $500 a month. You'll wow them with excellent work that is always finished on time. After a few months, you'll hit them with advisory services. Win win.

This approach is flawed and rarely works.

The reason is that the client has identified you as a tactician. They see you as someone that provides a commodity service. The result? You won't ever be seen as a strategic partner (aka CFO).

When a client agrees to hire you as a bookkeeper, a psychological anchor takes hold. They only think of you as a bookkeeper despite all the other value you could bring to the table. This is a bad thing.

Several years ago, I came across a company that I wanted to work with. I pitched them on our accounting services hoping I could upsell them to CFO shortly. Two months later, the client asks if I knew any good fractional CFOs because he hadn't been able to find one. He didn't even consider us! 

This wasn't the first time that this method failed me.

I decided to change my approach ever so slightly and it was a game changer.

You have to lead with advisory services and then offer accounting services.

The fix is simple: 

Be a CFO that also offers accounting services. 

Do not be an accountant that also offers CFO services.

The difference between the two is small but mighty. It's easy for a client to mentally justify having a CFO also help with bookkeeping work. It's a stretch to justify a bookkeeper also helping with strategy. 

People don't think that way.

Accounting services are becoming more and more of a commodity.

Leading with a commodity service and upselling to a strategic service doesn't work.

If your goal is to offer CFO services sell that first. You can still offer bookkeeping, but only after the client has bought into you as a CFO. I would encourage you to not even offer bookkeeping services as a standalone service.

If you lead with CFO, you'll be much more successful in getting the kind of work and the kind of pay that you're looking for.

That's all for this Friday.  1 small but powerful change to get more CFO clients.

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Your coach, 
Michael King


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