Beyond just quickbooks and a part time accountant, what do most startups/small growing companies use for a CFO and or financial planning? I have seen some outsourced CFO firms but they seem somewhat pricey. What have other people done?
I get that there are a bunch of outsourced solutions, however are there any automated solutions or software platforms which can help small businesses at a lower price point? I am looking for something a little more software focused.
A CFO is not an accountant; they are operational leaders. They have an understanding of corporate governance, HR, legal, funding raising, among many other skills. Best is that they have experience in avoiding issues. The downside to them is if they are fulfilling the role well, you will never know they did because you will not have those issues rise. In my first major startup, after being an angel and a VC, I failed to grasp this and regretted it. I advocate getting a CFO first. If you cannot afford/do not need a full time CFO, then outsourced CFOs are very valuable.
I've helped several startups get off the ground as a financial consultant. They usually need help with creating a budget/projection model and a pitch deck for raising the next round of funding. You could try paying for just these projects, then hire a CFO when your company has a need for a full-time financial person.
CFO are absolutely accountants, but also finance ops leaders. Depending on the fund raising method, most startups per SEC law are required report financials per US GAAP, which generally requires an individual that is a CPA with public auditing experience. Most startups outsource the CFO position till a Seed or A round.