Navigating Tough Decisions:  When Letting Go may be the Only Option

As the founder of CEFO Advisors and over 25 years of experience in financial management, my career has spanned roles from controller to CFO and then to CEO, giving me a comprehensive view of the challenges in our field. One of the most common yet difficult situations is when a controller’s role outgrows their capabilities. This not only affects the individual but also the entire organization. It’s essential for a management team to trust and collaborate in finding the right solution, whether it’s transitioning the individual to a better-suited role or supporting their departure. My journey has taught me valuable lessons in making these tough decisions.

Loyalty and Its Complexities

Controllers become trusted confidants and become the keepers of the historical knowledge of systems, processes, and the various “bones” that may be buried over the years. Their loyalty is often unquestionable. However, as companies grow, the controller’s skills may remain stagnant or are no longer able to meet the needs of the changes in the company dynamics.  The challenge for CEO’s and Management teams alike, become blurred between acknowledging the controller’s past contributions but also about making a decision that would benefit the company’s future.

Historical knowledge is a rare asset. However, when faced with modern financial challenges, this knowledge alone isn’t enough. A controller must adapt and grow with the company and in many cases a controller who is comfortable with keeping things as they are will be resistant to new financial software and analytic tools needed to keep the financial information moving forward.

Outdated systems and processes often result in inaccurate financial reporting.  These inaccuracies will directly affect the company’s future. We often read about publicly held companies who must restate prior year financial statements due to material errors in past financial reporting. This leads to a loss of investor confidence but also legal repercussions. This is not only an issue for larger, publicly traded companies, but can also be true for small to mid-sized companies. It’s a stark reminder of the importance of accuracy and the costly implications of failing to maintain it.

Addressing Poor Behavior

Behavior impacts more than just the individual; it affects the entire team.  We often hear about situations where a controller’s negative attitude created a toxic work environment. Despite the controller’s technical expertise, the team’s morale and productivity plummeted, forcing the company to make the difficult decision to make a change.  This also affects the morale of all other areas of the company as they too need to deal directly this the controller.  Working together to define the underlying reasons for the poor behavior is of utmost importance.  The controller may realize they are in over their head, and they are nervous about how that will impact their position.  This alone would weigh heavily on that controller and their sense of confidence.

Facing the Fear of Letting Go

Letting go of a key financial employee is daunting. The fear of a knowledge vacuum and operational disruption is real. However, in my experience, turning to fractional and outsourced financial services can be a lifesaver. These services provide not just a stop-gap but also an opportunity to bring in fresh perspectives and skills that might be lacking internally.

Making the Decision: Performance vs. Potential

Balancing current performance with the potential for improvement is crucial. I recall mentoring a struggling controller, and providing training and support. While we saw some improvement, it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the company’s growth, leading to the difficult decision to let them go. Companies with a solid succession plan build in the inevitability of change.  They spend time reviewing the performance of the controller and others and can often find another position for them that makes good sense.  It doesn’t have to mean the end of their career with the company.

The Termination Process

Terminating an employee should always be handled with dignity and respect. In these situations, the controller should not be surprised as regular conversations should be occurring. They may even be relieved that they can finally move on. Facilitating a smooth termination where the company provides support in their transition helps to show the company’s appreciation for the controller’s years of service.

Every termination is an opportunity to learn and improve. Reflecting on these situations has continually shaped my approach to hiring and talent development, emphasizing the need for adaptability and ongoing training.


Deciding to let go of a controller for poor performance is complex, requiring a balance between compassion and practicality. My experiences across different roles have highlighted the importance of these decisions for the health and sustainability of the organization. It’s never an easy decision, but sometimes, it is the most responsible course of action for all involved.

Additional Resources

The books noted below offer a blend of practical advice, strategic insight, and broader management principles that can be extremely helpful in understanding the complexities of a controller’s role and how to evaluate their success or failure effectively.

Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean” by Karen Berman and Joe Knight

This book is an excellent resource for understanding the nuances of financial reporting and analysis. It offers clear explanations of financial metrics and how to interpret them, which is crucial for assessing a controller’s performance. The authors also provide practical advice on how to use this financial understanding to make better business decisions.

The Effective Controller: 10 Easy Ways to Increase Profitability and Cash Flow” by Stephen A. Arbaugh

Arbaugh’s book focuses specifically on the role of the controller, offering insights into how to improve efficiency and effectiveness in this position. It outlines key strategies and best practices for controllers, which can be used as benchmarks for success. This book is particularly useful for understanding what distinguishes a high-performing controller from an underperforming one.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

While not specifically about the role of a controller, “Good to Great” provides valuable lessons on leadership and management that can be applied to any role, including that of a controller. Collins’ research into what makes companies successful over the long term can offer insights into how to define and measure success in key positions, including the role of a controller.

CEFO Advisors is often called to help clients assess people, processes, and systems within an organization.  We provide valuable guidance in working with CEOs and Management Teams in evaluating the overall strength of their people within the finance function.  This is often an opportunity to assist in training the controller to become more effective or adding the CEFO staff to assist with the monthly duties to help keep the controller in place. For more information, please visit or reach out to the office at 518.698.4264.

Mastering the Fluid Landscape of Financial Hiring: Insights from CEFO Advisors

In the ever-shifting world of finance, staying ahead of the curve isn’t just a goal – it’s a necessity. At CEFO Advisors, we’ve turned this challenge into our forte. Every day, we navigate the complex waters of financial hiring, where the right talent can make the difference between staying afloat and soaring high. In this industry, change is the only constant, and adapting to it requires not just skill, but foresight and innovation.

Finding the right talent in finance is like trying to capture the essence of a moving target. You need someone who’s not just right for today’s tasks but can adapt to what the future might hold. In this industry, where regulations and technologies are always shifting, finding that perfect fit is a fascinating challenge.

Once you have the right people on board, the journey doesn’t end there. The financial landscape never stops shifting, and keeping your team up to date is a continuous commitment. It’s about fostering a culture of learning and growth, ensuring that your team is always at the forefront of the industry.

Then comes the crucial part – retaining your top talent. In the dynamic world of finance, where new opportunities are abundant, it’s about more than just offering competitive salaries. Creating an environment where people can grow, feel valued, and see a future is key to keeping your best and brightest.

The Wisdom in Fractional Hiring:

This is where our approach at CEFO Advisors really shines. We’ve embraced the concept of fractional hiring – bringing in seasoned professionals on an as-needed basis. It’s a strategy that has allowed us to remain agile and effective, providing our clients with top-notch expertise without the overhead of full-time hires. These fractional professionals are not just temporary solutions; they bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge, enriching our entire team, and also yours.

A Personal Note:

Over the years, I’ve learned that sticking to traditional methods isn’t always the answer. By being open to innovative approaches like fractional hiring, we’ve been able to navigate the complexities of financial management with greater ease and effectiveness. It’s a strategy that has not only benefited our operations but also provided immense value to our clients.

If the challenges of financial hiring and management resonate with you, I’d love to share more about how we at CEFO Advisors approach these challenges. Reach out, and let’s explore how our experiences and strategies could benefit your business. Let’s have a real conversation about finding real solutions in the ever-evolving world of finance.

Riding the Wave: The Future of Finance and the Transformative Role of CFOs

In the dynamic world of finance, technology and global trends are creating transformative waves. This evolution is redefining the role of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) from traditional financial stewards to strategic navigators. With CEFO’s Assessment Program, prepare for this new financial era.

The Digital Revolution in Finance

The finance sector is undergoing a digital revolution. Innovations like blockchain, digital currencies, and AI are reshaping financial transactions and decision-making. As a business owner, it’s crucial to navigate these changes effectively. Are you leveraging the right technologies? Are your financial strategies adapting?

The Evolving Role of the CFO

The modern CFO transcends traditional roles, becoming a key player in strategic decision-making. They are not just finance managers but change architects, driving agility and innovation. The question is, does your current financial team embody this evolution? Could a fractional CFO be the solution you need?

Welcome to the Era of the Fractional CFO

Fractional CFOs offer strategic expertise without the cost of a full-time position. This model provides targeted guidance for critical business decisions – from cash flow planning to budget management. At CEFO Advisors, we’ve seen firsthand how fractional CFOs bring efficiency and focus, transforming financial management for businesses of all sizes.

CEFO’s Assessment Program

In today’s fast-paced financial landscape, CEOs need tools to stay ahead. CEFO’s Assessment Program evaluates your readiness for emerging challenges, identifies skill gaps, and assesses technology impacts. It’s a cornerstone for risk management and informed decision-making.

A Success Story in Action

CEFO recently transformed into a construction firm struggling with rapid growth. Through our comprehensive assessment, we implemented modern ERP solutions, introduced effective financial systems, and provided fractional CFO and Controller services. The results? Enhanced decision-making capabilities and continued growth.

Preparing for Tomorrow

The future of finance demands adaptability and foresight. Embrace change, stay abreast of technological advancements, and consider innovative financial strategies. If you’re looking to navigate these waters successfully, let CEFO Advisors be your guide. Contact us to harness the power of strategic financial management and steer your business towards success.

Elevate Your Business with a Strategic Financial Assessment

Have you ever considered how refining the intricacies of your business could dramatically enhance your capacity to scale and thrive?

Navigating the business landscape requires more than just passion—it demands sharp financial acumen. That’s where CEFO Advisors steps in. With an experienced CFO team with a sharp eye on operations, we are here to partner with you, offering a financial assessment that’s less about number-crunching and more about empowering your business strategy.

Decoding the Financial Assessment

A financial assessment is your business’s strategic health check. It’s a deep dive into your financials, where we unearth insights from your cash flow patterns, profitability, and capital management. This isn’t about just keeping your books in check; it’s about aligning your finances with your big-picture goals.

Unearthing Hidden Financial Insights

Every business has its hidden financial stories—areas where a little tweak can make a big impact or spots where opportunity is waiting just around the corner. Through a thorough financial assessment, we’ll reveal these narratives, positioning you to make moves that matter.

Benchmarking: Your Business’s Report Card

Knowing where you stand in the competitive arena is crucial. Benchmarking is your scoreboard. CEFO will help you understand how your financial performance measures up to industry peers, identifying areas for improvement and celebrating your wins.

Strategic Decision-Making: Your Financial Roadmap

Business decisions should drive you forward, not leave you second-guessing. CEFO is here to offer you a financial roadmap—grounded in data, informed by experience—that guides these crucial choices, whether they’re about scaling up, optimizing investments, or exploring new markets.

Cultivating Trust with Financial Partners

Lenders and investors are on the lookout for businesses that manage their finances with clarity and foresight. A comprehensive financial assessment demonstrates that your business doesn’t just talk the talk—it walks the walk.

Growth and Scalability: Your Financial Blueprint

If expansion is on your agenda, my role is to ensure that your financial framework is robust enough to support your growth. We’ll work together to tailor a strategy that fits your vision and scales your operations effectively.

Personalized Insights, Minus the Fluff

CEFO believes in custom-fit solutions—no one-size-fits-all advice here. Your business deserves a financial strategy as unique as your vision. Expect a partnership where meaningful insights meet practical, actionable advice.

Beyond Numbers: Assessing People, Processes, and Systems

But it’s not just about the figures on a balance sheet. A successful business is built on the strength of its people, the efficiency of its processes, and the reliability of its systems. CEFO’s financial assessment will also take a close look at the human and operational elements of your company. CEFO evaluates how your team’s talent is utilized, how your internal processes drive productivity, and how your systems either support or hinder your business objectives. This holistic approach ensures that the financial health of your business is not just sustained by numbers, but also reinforced by the people who make those numbers happen, the processes that define the workflow, and the systems that underpin your daily operations.

By understanding the interplay between these critical components, we can identify areas where changes or investments will yield significant returns. Whether it’s streamlining a process, upgrading technology, or fostering a stronger team dynamic, these elements are pivotal in crafting a resilient and forward-looking financial strategy. With this comprehensive assessment, you can be confident that every aspect of your business is tuned for success.


A financial assessment isn’t just about understanding where your business stands today; it’s about unlocking where it could go tomorrow. It’s about clarity, strategy, and real-world action.

So, if you’re ready to fortify your financial strategy and give your business the attention it deserves, CEFO Advisors is just an email or phone call away. Let’s sit down together to shape a financial future that lives up to your aspirations.

The Journey of an Empathetic CFO: From Rigidity to Understanding

My career as a CFO began in the mid-1990s, a time distinctly different from today. Back then, I was navigating the corporate labyrinth of New York City, a place where dreams are both forged and crushed. In that era, empathy in the workplace was virtually non-existent. Respect, especially in high-level positions like that of a CFO, was hard-won, more so for women like me. I was often the only woman in boardroom meetings, a testament to the gender disparity in corporate leadership at the time.

In those days, I believed that to succeed, especially in a domain dominated by men, I had to embody toughness. My persona in the workplace was that of a hard-driving, unapologetic, and, admittedly, difficult woman to work with. Yes, it’s true. I was the antithesis of an empathetic leader. My approach was shaped by the norms and expectations of the time – where showing empathy was often misconstrued as a sign of weakness, particularly for women in power.

But as the years passed, the corporate world began to evolve, and so did I. The transformation was gradual but profound. I witnessed a shift in the leadership paradigm – a growing recognition that empathy and understanding were not just desirable traits but essential ones for effective leadership. This change was not just external but internal too. I started to realize that being an empathetic leader didn’t diminish my authority; rather, it augmented it.

This realization marked a turning point in my career and leadership style. I began to see the power of empathy in action – how understanding and relating to my team’s challenges and perspectives could drive motivation, productivity, and loyalty. It was a stark contrast to my earlier years, where such considerations were often sidelined in favor of a more rigid, numbers-driven approach.

In the world of finance, a seismic shift has been underway, marked by the transformation of Chief Financial Officers from mere guardians of finance to strategic, empathetic leaders. This new era of financial leadership is exemplified by real-world CFOs who are breaking the mold and setting new standards for what it means to lead with empathy and understanding.

Amy Hood at Microsoft: A Paradigm of Empathetic Financial Leadership

Amy Hood, the CFO of Microsoft, stands out as a prime example. During the uncertain times of the pandemic, her leadership was not just about balancing the books; it was about balancing human concerns with financial imperatives. Hood’s approach to decision-making, particularly during crisis periods, demonstrated a deep understanding of how financial strategies impact employees and the broader ecosystem of the company.

Starbucks’ Patrick Grismer: Fostering Connection and Understanding

Patrick Grismer, former CFO of Starbucks, is another example of this new breed of empathetic financial leaders. During his tenure, Grismer was known for his efforts to understand the intricacies of the business beyond the numbers. His approach went beyond traditional financial metrics, focusing on how financial decisions would impact Starbucks’ employees and customers, thereby fostering a culture of connection and understanding.

Ruth Porat at Google: Balancing Empathy with Financial Rigor

At Google, Ruth Porat, the CFO, has been instrumental in navigating the company through turbulent financial waters with a blend of empathy and financial rigor. Her leadership style reflects an understanding of the tech industry’s nuances and the need to balance ambitious financial goals with the well-being of thousands of employees.

The Impact of Empathetic Leadership in Finance

These leaders represent a significant shift in the role of the CFO. No longer confined to the back office, dealing solely with numbers, today’s CFOs like Hood, Grismer, and Porat are at the forefront of strategic decision-making. They demonstrate that empathy and understanding are critical in making financial decisions that are sustainable and beneficial for the company’s long-term growth.

Their leadership styles underscore the importance of considering the human element in financial decisions – how these decisions affect employee morale, customer satisfaction, and the company’s public image. By prioritizing empathy and understanding, these financial leaders are not only ensuring the fiscal health of their companies but are also cultivating positive workplace cultures and enhancing their companies’ reputations in the broader market.

 The Future of Financial Leadership

The examples of these CFOs herald a new era in financial leadership, one where empathy and understanding are as crucial as financial acumen. This shift is reflective of a broader trend in business where success is increasingly measured not just by financial outcomes but also by social and human impact.

As businesses continue to navigate complex challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world, the role of the CFO will undoubtedly continue to evolve. The leaders who can blend financial expertise with a deep understanding of people – both within and outside the organization – will be the ones shaping the future of their companies and, by extension, the global business landscape.

In conclusion, the real-life stories of CFOs like Amy Hood, Patrick Grismer, and Ruth Porat offer powerful insights into the changing dynamics of financial leadership. They serve as inspiring examples for current and aspiring CFOs, showing that empathy and understanding are not just desirable traits but essential components of effective and forward-thinking financial leadership.

If you are looking for a book that delves into the concept of empathetic leadership, here are a few of the notable works that further explore this important aspect of modern leadership:

  1. “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman: This book is a foundational text on the role of emotional intelligence (EQ) in leadership. Goleman argues that EQ, which includes empathy, is a key factor in successful leadership, sometimes even more crucial than traditional intelligence (IQ).
  2. “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by Brené Brown: Brené Brown is known for her research on vulnerability, courage, empathy, and leadership. In this book, she discusses how empathy is a vital component of courageous leadership and how leaders can cultivate empathy and other emotional skills.
  3. “Leading with Empathy: Understanding the Needs of Today’s Workforce” by Gentry Underwood: This book offers practical insights into how leaders can develop and apply empathy in the workplace. It provides strategies for understanding and meeting the needs of diverse teams in a changing work environment.

Steering Your Business Finances: How Budgeting and Cash Flow Work Together

In my time as a CFO, I’ve learned a thing or two about what keeps a business running smoothly. It’s not just about having a great idea or a strong customer base – it’s also about getting your finances just right. Today, I want to share some straightforward talk on two things that are like the bread and butter of business finance: budgeting and cash flow.

The Basics: Planning and Tracking Your Money

Think of your budget as your plan. It’s where you write down all the money you expect to make and all the costs you expect to have. It’s a bit like a shopping list for the year ahead. But we all know what happens to the best-laid plans sometimes – they change when you’re out there in the real world.

That’s where cash flow comes in. It’s the day-to-day movement of money in and out of your business. It’s keeping track of the cash you actually have in hand to pay bills, buy supplies, or invest in new opportunities.

The Role of a Good Finance Guide

When I started in this job, I thought a solid plan (a budget) was all you needed. But I quickly saw that the real action happens when you start spending and making money – that’s managing your cash flow. It’s about making sure the money from your sales is actually there when you need it to cover the costs.

Sometimes, despite what the budget says, the money comes in late, or the bills come early. So, I’ve learned to adjust and not just stick to the plan when things change. This means always being ready to move money around to keep everything running smoothly.

Adjusting to the Real World

If you see that your cash flow – the real money you have – isn’t matching your plan, it’s time to update that plan. Maybe you’re spending too much, or maybe customers are taking too long to pay. Whatever it is, catching these things early means you can fix them before they become bigger problems.

Keeping it All Together

Keeping an eye on both your budget and your cash flow is important. It’s like having a map and a compass when you’re on a hike – they work best together. The budget sets your direction, and your cash flow tells you how you’re doing along the way.

Looking Ahead with Confidence

Drawing from my experience, I can tell you that having a good handle on both these areas will help your business stand strong, no matter what comes your way. It’s about more than just making it through the year; it’s about setting yourself up for success in the years to come.

By keeping your plan and your actual money in line, you’re making sure your business is ready for whatever lies ahead.

Here’s to smart planning and even smarter spending!

Here are a few of my favorite books that offer valuable insights into budgeting and cash flow management for small businesses:

  1. “Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” by Mike Michalowicz
    • This book takes a behavioral approach to accounting and cash management. It’s a great read for small business owners looking to understand how to structure their business finances to prioritize profit and healthy cash flow.
  2. “Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential” by Greg Crabtree
    • Crabtree offers a straightforward guide to financial management for small businesses. He breaks down the essentials of how to manage cash, how to read financial statements, and how to create a budget that works with your cash flow.
  3. “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber
    • While not exclusively about financial management, this book is a classic for small business owners. It addresses the importance of working on your business, not just in it, which includes understanding and managing the financials like budgeting and cash flow.
  4. “Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers” by Karen Berman and Joe Knight
    • This book offers a deep dive into financial metrics, helping business owners understand not just how to read the numbers, but how to use them to make better business decisions. It touches on budgeting and how cash flow impacts a business’s financial health.

Each of these books provides a unique perspective on the financial aspects of running a business, emphasizing the importance of balancing budgetary control with the realities of cash flow management. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or just starting out, they can offer valuable lessons and strategies to strengthen your financial acumen.


How Your Outsourced CFO Partner will Bridge the Communication Gap between Finance and the Rest of the Company

I’d like to tell you a true story about a fractional CFO and how he successfully became the glue that brought leadership, accounting, sales, and operations, working together successfully in his first 60 days.

When CEFO Advisors first met with this client, it was clear that there was something going on that was creating a growing sense of frustration and tension within the company.  The disconnect between management, accounting, and the other departments was growing.  Processes were weak, cross-departmental communication was reaching its breaking point.  Financial reporting was 45+ days late month after month and the owners of this company had little faith in the accuracy of the information.  To add insult to injury, there were several disparate systems and much of the operational data was compiled using very large, cumbersome spreadsheets. The owners were nervous about the volatility of the markets, and the accounting team was working against finding a solution to bridge the operational data with the financial data to ensure the financial reports were accurate and explainable.

CEFO started right away reviewing data, compiling processes, and interviewing each person on the administrative and finance teams.  It was clear that the rapid growth of this company had pushed everyone beyond their capabilities. Operational data was reviewed with the owners and a connection was built between the information disseminated in those reports with the actual changes in market volatility, versus what the recorded financial results were showing.  There were many errors in processes that were evaluated, and controls were put in place to quickly minimize the errors.  Weekly accounting and ownership meetings were established and led by our CFO.  Our CFO was instrumental in championing the finance team as well as management when appropriate.  He gained a lot of respect and trust through weeks of consistently reviewing the results with the team and helping to solve critical and non-critical issues.

CEFO developed a strong relationship, one of mentorship with the Controller and his team at the client.  Our CFO was able to drive financial reporting time from 45 days down to 30, then down to 15 within 5 months. A standard financial package was developed, with monthly deep dives into topics such as margin dilution, inventory tracking, and cost containment.  Our CFO continued to lead the weekly meetings, but after 7 months, he was able to turn that over to their Controller knowing that consistency was the key to much of the success. Our CFO continues to be onsite monthly to perform financial reviews, and quarterly to lead and conduct a leadership strategy summit.  Communication within the Company continues to be strong, and the Controller and his team continue to lean on our CFO whenever necessary.

The Company continues to grow, margins have stabilized, the client is ecstatic, and we can’t wait to continue to watch their success!

Excellence in Onboarding – The CEFO Advisors Way

At CEFO Advisors, we understand that the onboarding process sets the tone for our entire relationship with our clients. That’s why we take it seriously. In this blog, we want to share with the world how we approach onboarding with the care, expertise, and commitment it deserves.

Our Philosophy on Onboarding: Onboarding at CEFO Advisors isn’t just about getting the paperwork done. It’s about building a foundation for a strong, enduring partnership. We believe that effective onboarding is the first step in a journey towards mutual growth and success.

Understanding Your Business: Every client is unique, and so are their needs. Our approach begins with a deep dive into understanding your business culture, structure, and objectives. This enables us to align our services with your specific requirements.

Setting Clear Objectives: Clarity is the cornerstone of effective collaboration. We work with you to establish clear, achievable goals right from the start. This ensures that our efforts are always aligned with your vision and business objectives.

Building Relationships: Our team, including experienced controllers and CFOs, are not just service providers; they are partners in your growth. They engage closely with your team to build a relationship based on trust, respect, and collaboration.

Communication is Key: We believe in keeping the lines of communication open. Regular updates, feedback sessions, and open dialogue ensure that we are always on the same page and can quickly adapt to any changes or challenges.

Respect for Your Processes: Our goal is to enhance, not disrupt. We respect the processes and systems you have in place and aim to provide insights and improvements that can coexist with your established practices.

Active Problem Solving: Our team is committed to being proactive in identifying and solving problems. We don’t just advise; we roll up our sleeves and get involved in crafting practical solutions.

Professionalism and Integrity: At CEFO Advisors, we are committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity. This commitment is reflected in every interaction and decision we make.

Adaptable and Personalized Approach: We understand that business needs to evolve. Our team is flexible and adaptable, ensuring that our services remain relevant and tailored to your changing requirements.

The onboarding process at CEFO Advisors is designed to be as smooth and effective as possible. It’s not just about starting a project; it’s about laying the groundwork for a successful, long-term partnership.

Are you interested in experiencing the CEFO Advisors difference? Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business achieve its financial and strategic goals through our dedicated and personalized approach. Give us a call at 518.693.7446 or check us out at

Could value-based sales boost your company’s bottom line?

If your company sells products or services to other businesses, you’re probably familiar with the challenge of growing your sales numbers. At times, you might even struggle to maintain them. One way to put yourself in a better position to succeed is to diversify your approaches, so you’re not limited to a single method by which salespeople interact with customers. Have you ever considered value-based sales? Under this method, sales reps act as sort of business consultants, working closely with customers or prospects to identify specific needs or solve certain problems. The objective is to provide as much value as possible from the sales that result. This approach has its risks but, under the right circumstances, it can pay off. 

What is value? Before embarking on a value-based sales initiative, you’ll need to identify what kinds of value you may be able to provide. This can’t be a fuzzy concept; sales reps should be able to put dollars and cents to their value-based sales propositions or at least build a compelling case. Value generally takes four forms: 

Dollars gained; your product or service will lead to an increase in revenue for the subject based on a reasonable financial projection, Dollars saved; your product or service will demonstrably save the customer or prospect money, Risk reduced; your product or service will address and help minimize one or more identifiable threats to the business in question, and Qualitative; if you can’t make a case for one of the other three value types, you may still be able to argue that your product or service improves the quality of the subject’s operations in some way. 

At least one of these four types of value will be the ultimate objective when salespeople engage customers or prospects. However, to identify that objective, your sales team will need to put in considerable effort. How does the process work? Perhaps the biggest downside of a value-based sales approach is that it’s labor-intensive. As opposed to, say, making cold calls with a product or service list and a series of talking points, your salespeople will need to do a “deep dive” into targeted businesses. They’ll need to learn details such as each company’s mission, history, management structure, financial status, strengths and weaknesses. Then, when interacting with customers or prospects, they’ll need to focus on education — both their own and the subject’s. In other words, a sales rep will need to ask the right questions to learn as much as possible about the customer’s or prospect’s business needs and challenges. Meanwhile, the salesperson will need to act much like a consultant, informing the subject about industry trends, potential solutions and perhaps how comparable companies have overcome similar issues. 

As you can see, value-based sales is more about relationship building and knowledge sharing than straight selling. Because of this, it can be a gamble. Some sales reps may spend extensive time and effort with a customer or prospect, even helping that business in certain ways, only to reap little to no sales revenue. On the other hand, when the approach works well, your company may be able to build a dynamic, long-lasting relationship with a lucrative customer. Are there such sales in your pipeline? If value-based sales sounds like something that could benefit your business, discuss it with your leadership team and sales staff. You’ll likely want to review your sales pipeline and determine which customers or prospects would be good fits for the approach.

5 tips for more easily obtaining cyberinsurance

Every business should dedicate time and resources to cybersecurity. Hackers are out there, in many cases, far across the globe, they’re on the prowl for vulnerable companies. These criminals typically strike at random — doing damage to not only a business’s ability to operate, but also its reputation. One way to protect yourself, at least financially, is to invest in cyberinsurance. This type o f coverage is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of incidents — including data breaches, business interruption and network damage. 

If you decide to buy a policy, here are five tips to help make the application process a little easier: 

1. Be detail-oriented when filling out the paperwork. Insurers usually ask an applicant to complete a questionnaire to help them understand the risks facing the company in question. Answering the questionnaire fully and accurately may call for input from your leadership team, IT department and even third parties such as your cloud service provider. Take your time and be as thorough as possible. Missed questions or incomplete answers could result in denial of coverage or a longer-than-necessary approval time. 

2. Establish (or fortify) a comprehensive cybersecurity program. Your business has a better chance of obtaining optimal coverage if you have a formal program that includes documented policies for best practices such as: Installing software updates and patches, Encrypting data, Using multifactor authentication, and Educating employees about ongoing cyberthreats. Before applying for coverage, either establish such a program if you don’t have one or strengthen the one in place. Be sure to generate clear documentation about the program and all its features that you can show insurers. 

3. Create and document a disaster recovery plan. An effective cybersecurity program can’t focus only on preventing negative incidents. It must also include a disaster recovery plan specifically focused on cyberthreats, so everyone knows what to do if something bad happens. If your company has yet to create such a plan, establish and implement one before applying for cyberinsurance. Put it in writing so you can share it with insurers. Review your disaster recovery plan at least annually to ensure it’s up to date. 

4. Prepare to be tested. Some insurers may want to test your company’s cyberdefenses with a “penetration test.” This is a simulated cyberattack on your systems designed to uncover weak points that hackers could exploit. Before applying for cyberinsurance, conduct a thorough assessment of your networks and, if necessary, train or upskill your employees to follow protocols and be wary of “phishing” schemes and other threats. 

5. Consider a third-party assessment. To better uncover weaknesses that could result in a denial of coverage or unreasonably high premiums, you may want to engage a third-party consultant to assess your cybersecurity program, as well as your equipment, network and users. Doing so can be beneficial before applying for cyberinsurance because some IT security firms maintain relationships with insurers and can help streamline the application process. 

Like most types of coverage, cyberinsurance is a risk-management measure worth exploring with your leadership team and professional advisors.