217. CFOs Help You Understand Your Business

VC Minute
It's invaluable having a CFO that can provide meaning and actionable business insights.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

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Rich Maloy:

This is Rich Maloy with SpringTime Ventures, bringing you the VC Minute, quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

One of the reasons I like to have service providers on the VC Minute is that they see hundreds of funding rounds throughout their careers. This enables them to provide generalized insight and specific advice. In much the same way that a VC could provide this information, but generally doesn’t, other than the VC Minute of course, service providers are able to provide that sort of a perspective.

This was also the reason that I wanted to have AVL Growth sponsor the VC Minute. When it comes to fundraising, they’re the ones building the financial model, reviewing the historicals, and prepping you for the finance side of the race. I’ve mentioned this before, but they’re also a trusted service provider. I’ve known them through the Colorado community for over a dozen years, and I’ve only ever heard good things.

Trust is crucial when it comes to outsourcing the functions of your business. Our guest this week is one of AVL’s CFOs, Karyn Miller. Karyn has a career of startup experience, most recently at Craftsy. We’ll hear from her about her experiences, helping founders fundraise.

Karyn Miller:

I’m Karyn Miller, and I work for AVL Growth. and we do fractional CFO, controller, staff accountant, and just added fractional HR services to clients who are anywhere from pre-seed, pre-revenue, to 50 or 60 million in revenue.

I consider myself to be a startup junkie. I have a ton of startup experience from the time I got out of college and ultimately became a CFO many, many years ago. The last exit that I had was a wonderful startup in Denver called Craftsy. We did online education in the crafting space. And sold the hard goods that went along with that. It was both an e-commerce and a digital business. I was with that company for about seven or eight years, and then we ultimately sold the company to NBC Universal in March of 2017.

For me as a fractional CFO, what I really do is sit next to the CEO and help him or her, or they understand exactly what makes a profitable business and how to think about the metrics of the business, and how to organize the business. A lot of times I’m just also a sounding board because they don’t have anybody else to talk to that isn’t part of the company. They can tell me what they’re feeling and what they’re thinking and they may not be able to tell other people within the company that.

In particular, one client that I have, their Series A investor, asked them to hire a fractional CFO, and the CEO is sort of like, I don’t even know what a CFO does. This particular company wasn’t paying attention to day sales outstanding and collections. It was really eye-opening to the CEO to have a CFO sit next to him and explain to him all of these financial metrics and how they should be thinking about it and how it can drive value in the business.

Having financial reporting that people could understand and it was meaningful and actionable, understanding how to think about take rate and gross margins, what goes into the cost of goods sold, and financial metrics like that. And I would tell you now that he feels he cannot operate without a CFO.

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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