By Jacques Santucci
The cannabis industry is evolving rapidly and so is your organization. Having a great business plan and running that business are two very different things. And your success depends on your team, particularly your financial team.
One important point to understand when hiring your financial team is the difference between a bookkeeper, controller, and chief financial officer. For small and medium-sized cannabis businesses, these terms can get tossed around rather loosely, but a better understanding of them can contribute positively to your bottom line by shoring up accounting practices and better delineating roles.
A bookkeeper performs basic financial record keeping and can create simple financial reports. A bookkeeper will typically perform the following basic tasks:
Although the tasks are basic, attention to detail is of the utmost importance in the bookkeeping profession. A few data entry errors can cost your company a significant amount of time and money. The bookkeeper or the accountant, of your company is an essential element of your administrative team, and particularly in a new company.
Adding a controller adds more power to your financial management. In fact, a good controller will pay for itself in a growing company that needs more advanced systems by helping to keep costs under control and by helping to better manage cash flow. A controller performs the following tasks:
A good controller is worth their weight in gold to any small or medium size business where cash management is a strategic factor in success.
Chief Financial Officer
The CFO oversees the overall financial management of a company. Planning, projecting, measuring and tracking financial and operational progress as well as financial compliance fall under the CFO’s umbrella. A CFO’s duties include:
In conclusion, there is a significant strategic and tactical difference between the value a CFO brings to the leadership of a business and that of a Bookkeeper. Because most small and medium size businesses cannot afford a full-time CFO, then a part-time CFO would be an ideal arrangement. The key is to find a CFO that can be your trusted advisor and provide financial, operational and business insights.
The industry is maturing, so should your financial team.
Jacques Santucci, President of Opus Consulting (formerly Nucleus-One Consulting), a leading business performance management providing specialized management and growth strategies, assisting clients nationwide navigate the complex and evolving challenges of license acquisition, starting and operating a cannabis business, founded on the premise of sharing his experience and proven best practices, to define cannabis success at the intersection of finance, operations and strategy.
He is co-founder of Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s largest group of medical marijuana dispensaries as well as Stage Cannabis. A cannabis entrepreneur for over 10 years, Jacques has played roles as founder, operator and advisor for several different cannabis companies throughout the United States, as well as founder of Strimo, a business platform software for the cannabis industry.
Jacques can be reached at [email protected] or 207-619-1899
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