For some local businesses, getting the accounting support they need in a cost effective manner can be challenging, particularly if they are not in a financial position to hire a full time CFO or accounting staff. Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP (CTBK) has a large menu of contract services that can help those businesses achieve stability and growth.
CTBK is a local accounting firm that has been in business for over 27 years, with a reputation for its diverse knowledge and expertise in professional CPA, accounting and consulting services. CTBK prides itself on its “one team approach” in serving its clients, by providing them with a variety of services to meet their needs.
“We have that human connection, we’re very outgoing,” said Kaitlyn Affuso, Marketing Manager. “We try to strive to go past technology and provide innovative solutions and convenience. We want to stay with that small town Buffalo feel in the way we provide a personal service.”
Many local businesses, from start-ups to established organizations, work with CTBK’s Outsourced Solutions team to handle their accounting and finance functions so that the owners focus on the day-to-day operations. CTBK’s team of contractors can provide support on a continuous or as-needed basis to meet a business’ unique needs.
The Outsourced Solutions team can provide services including bookkeeping, general ledger maintenance, monthly account reconciliation, cash flow analysis, financial statements, sales tax processing, audit preparation, and other services. CTBK can also assist with QuickBooks conversion, as well as staff training and support.
Karen Penfold, CPA, Senior Manager of Outsourced Solutions
“We have the expertise and robust resources,” said Karen Penfold, CPA, Senior Manager of Outsourced Solutions. “We’re highly qualified and experienced, versus someone hiring an employee not knowing what they bring to the table. We take the risk out of vacancies. We have continuity because our team is cross trained, so we can always supply someone. All of CTBK is available for referral, so it’s a complete fulfillment of needs.”
The Outsourced Solutions team recently worked with a retail food product supplier that was using archaic accounting software that was no longer being supported, so they helped them migrate to QuickBooks.
“When we went into the office there was paperwork everywhere,” Penfold said. “They didn’t do any kind of scanning so they weren’t using any kind of PDFs. It took a good six to eight months of working with them and getting everything rolled into the QuickBooks software, but now they’re happy, they were successful in training, and we’re thrilled because we can get what we need.”
The Outsourced Solutions team is very hands-on in their approach, and they continue working with their clients on a maintenance or as-needed basis to ensure long term success.
“No one really likes change, and there’s the fear that a new system won’t work the same as what they’ve had,” Penfold continued. “So they were very nervous and it seemed like an insurmountable task to learn the new software. They kept saying, ‘You’re going to be here for us, right?’ And now we’re still working with them on a maintenance basis, so we can answer questions if they need anything and we’re able to solve those problems.”
For some growing businesses, their accounting needs may be extensive enough to warrant hiring a CFO, but their budget can’t accommodate a full-time position. Here, CTBK can offer the services of its affiliate, cfoSOLUTIONSPlus, which maintains a team of professional CFOs who can provide hourly support on a consistent, temporary, or project-based basis. Companies can receive the financial guidance they need, in a cost effective manner.
“cfoSOLUTIONSPlus was organized in 2003 by a couple of highly experienced financial professionals who saw a need in the area for companies that had the financial needs to have a full time CFO, but couldn’t afford one,” said Tom Huebsch, Director of Outsourced Solutions. “cfoSOLUTIONSPlus was started to provide that level of services on an hourly basis. We started out as an office of two CFOs, then grew to seven. In January 2020 we joined CTBK and we now have 10 CFOs.”
Services provided by cfoSOLUTIONSPlus include finance department management and mentoring, preparation of monthly, quarterly or annual reporting, budgeting, cash flow analysis and forecasting, lender and investor relations, ERP selection and implementation, crisis management services, strategic financial planning, internal control and process improvement, and assessment.
If it’s a start-up, they can help with getting an organization set up and understanding how to create budgets. With larger companies, the CFO may be buried in the day-to-day work and need temporary support from cfoSOLUTIONSPlus for a special project.
The cfoSOLUTIONSPlus team can provide services on a fractional or interim basis. In an interim situation, a business may have a CFO who has to be out for a period of time, and the team can come in to fill their shoes temporarily. “We have the experience and the knowledge with computer systems and finance, so we can understand what the company is doing and provide that gap coverage,” Huebsch said.
For organizations that have the need for a higher level of financial guidance, but can’t afford a full-time CFO, the cfoSOLUTIONSPlus team can fulfill the role of the CFO by providing services on a fractional basis.
“We can help companies reduce their risk,” Huebsch said. “If they don’t have good internal controls and only one or two people doing the books, opening checks, etc. we take the risk out of that situation. We’re cost effective, because they don’t have to provide us with pension, health insurance, vacation benefits, and they’re saving on payroll tax liabilities, workers comp, etc. They don’t have to bother with training, they don’t have to worry about HR or equipment.”
For businesses, the advantage of working with cfoSOLUTIONSPlus is that they get access to a team of CFOs with experience ranging from 10 to 40 years in a variety of industries, as well as access to the entire menu of services and staff at CTBK, meaning they get the wraparound support with bookkeeping, tax preparation, consulting and business development.
“In the past we would just go in and provide those CFO level services, but there were times when a client needed additional services that we could provide, but it would be costly,” said Huebsch. “One of the biggest benefits of teaming up with CTBK is that now we can provide it in a more cost effective manner. We’re always looking for ways to make it cost effective for the organization we’re working with.”
cfoSOLUTIONSPlus worked with a privately owned company whose owner was having trouble getting accurate financial reports on a consistent basis, and then their CFO left. CTBK’s team was able to stabilize the situation and provide the company’s leadership with timely, accurate financials, and continues to assist them on a monthly basis.
“Success isn’t necessarily measured in dollars and cents,” Huebsch said. “Sometimes it’s the critical information they’re getting, and the timeliness of that information.”
CTBK’s Outsourced Solutions team works with companies of all sizes in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, construction, not-for-profit, healthcare, retail, real estate, investment partnerships, and start-ups. They are able to work remotely or on-site with clients, providing training and 24/7 access for assistance.
Team Photo, 2019
“It’s all about relationships,” Huebsch said. “We’re there for them and we’re there for their success. We’re very invested in our clients, even though we’re not employees, we become part of that organization and their team.”
Businesses interested in seeking out support from CTBK’s Outsourced Solutions can submit an RFP for services through their website.