As president of Woodridge-based virtual cfos LLC, David Olson can do everything a chief financial officer can do, but he does only what businesses need and only when they need it. That means virtually all the benefits of a CFO at a fraction of the cost.

virtual cfos provides experienced financial management services to small and medium sized companies that otherwise are unable to afford a CFO.

Olson and his staff work as part-time CFOs. They offer expertise in accounting, reporting, treasury operations, sales support, strategic planning, and staff evaluation and training. And he has the credentials of a top-notch CFO, with experience across a broad swath of industries.

In all he has had 30 years of cutting-edge finance experience to offer companies in need of a CFO’s expertise, know-how and business savvy.

“I like accounting because I like business and accounting is the way you keep score,” he said. “When I started out, my only goal was to be a good accountant.”

But Olson goes beyond the typical independent consultant because he will directly manage a company’s existing staff. He charges only for the time he works and doesn’t require a long-term contract.

“Many of the companies I work with aren’t in a position to pay a CFO with 30 years of experience,” Olson explained. “I provide them with a great deal of expertise and knowledge on a part-time basis that they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.”

So how do business owners know when they need the help of a CFO?

According to Olson, it’s when they:

  • need to know if their company can be more profitable;
  • need to produce more timely and accurate financial information and operational statistics for reporting and decision-making purposes;
  • are not sure which factors are most important to their company’s growth and profitability and don’t know how to track and analyze those factors;
  • find that their company is growing and they need to plan
  • need to project future cash flow, profitability, growth, and the impact of outside factors;
  • think their policies, procedures, and internal controls seem loose and they need to be tightened;
  • find their collections are slow;
  • think the current financial staff would benefit from guidance and training

Jennifer Velarde owns 1154 Lill Studio, a Chicago company that makes custom purses. She started out small and found herself trying to stay on top of rapid growth.

Velarde asked Olson to analyze the financial and operational aspects of the company. Olson started by building a cost-accounting system. Then he analyzed the profitability of the products and the distribution network. After he finished analyzing the production process, he set up a regular consultation schedule with Velarde.

“I was looking for a certain kind of expertise,” Velarde said. “I wanted someone who could come in and build sophisticated financial tools. I wanted someone to do the books, but who would educate me as well.”

Velarde said that Olson’s services are perfect for a small company like hers that doesn’t have an in-house CFO.

The most common problem Olson sees is the lack of good accounting systems. He says that accounting software programs are not a substitute for expertise.

“Knowing how to use Quickbooks doesn’t make you an accountant,” he said.
Olson likes to work with a company’s existing staff.

“I try to utilize the staff on hand as much as I can,” he said. “I teach them to be more valuable employees.”

Olson markets his business through networking at community organizations, and direct mail. He envisions the day when he’ll be able to hire employees.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people understand their business better and be more successful.” Olson said.