14 Best CFO Services for Startups

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For  startups, financial expertise can significantly influence the trajectory of growth and success. However, hiring a full-time chief financial officer (CFO) might not be economically feasible, especially in the early stages of a startup company. A solution for startups looking for high-level financial guidance and expertise without the cost of a full-time salary is hiring fractional CFO services to fill the gap.

A fractional CFO brings strategic financial planning, modeling, and analysis to the table that can boost a startup's growth significantly. These professional executives can offer comprehensive financial reports for board meetings, assist with fundraising efforts, and even help make long-term decisions that drive company success. More importantly, they can provide financial clarity allowing startups to navigate the often complex landscape of finances confidently and accurately.

Top Outsourced CFO Firms

The increasing popularity of fractional CFO services has led to the emergence of many service providers. While some cater specifically to startups, others are suitable for businesses of all sizes. 

The key benefits of these services include access to experienced professionals from prestigious backgrounds, improved cash management strategies, visibility into spending patterns, and access to industry-specific expertise. In the next section, we’re going to look at some of the top outsourced CFO firms that startups should keep on their radar, especially if they’re ready to hire out a CFO position. Let’s jump into the list!

1. Zeni

Zeni is an innovative platform providing fractional CFO services and is particularly aimed at startups. By offering comprehensive financial planning, modeling, and analysis, Zeni helps startups navigate complex accounting and financial landscapes without incurring the cost of a full-time CFO salary. Zeni's approach empowers startups with strategic financial partnerships to support their growth, filling the critical gap in finance knowledge and time that founders often face. 

From financial modeling to budgeting and scenario planning, Zeni helps entrepreneurs stay ahead of the curve. They provide crucial support to startups by assisting with fundraising efforts, preparing financial reports, and offering guidance on investor presentations, ultimately helping these companies achieve financial clarity as they strive for success.

Their services extend to preparing comprehensive financial reports for board meetings, allowing founders to have a succinct understanding of their data.

2. Paro

Paro is a provider of strategic advisory and outsourced CFO services for businesses looking to increase profitability, attain financing, and navigate transitions. They offer these services with an innovative approach combining the best of AI-powered technology with a team of seasoned finance professionals. 

Paro's fractional CFO services allow businesses of all sizes to augment their team or outsource finance and accounting tasks at a lower cost than hiring a full-time CFO or larger firm.

3. Pilot

Providing CFO services to both startups and small businesses Pilot has built its reputation by helping them optimize their operations, identify growth opportunities, and impress key stakeholders. They ensure all clients are paired with experienced professionals stemming from top investment banks, private equity/venture capital firms, and consulting firms. 

Pilot's CFOs are excellent at delivering insightful financial forecasts, strategic guidance, and scenario modeling, empowering businesses with the knowledge to make informed decisions and steer toward success.

4. Preferred CFO

Preferred CFO offers outsourced CFO, controller, and bookkeeping services with a sharp focus on elevating businesses' financial strategies and maximizing their growth potential. Their team brings decades of experience to the field, working with numerous organizations in various sectors over the years. 

Their unique value proposition lies in their forward-facing financial strategy specialization, helping companies with foreseeing challenges and reaching their goals faster.

5. Ignite Spot

Ignite Spot differentiates itself by offering cost-effective virtual CFO services aimed at providing strategic financial forecasting and guidance. Recognizing that hiring an in-house CFO can be costly for small businesses, Ignite Spot offers outsourced CFO services starting at $950 per month. This competitive pricing makes enterprise-level financial strategy accessible to smaller businesses.

Ignite Spot's CFO services are adaptable to their client's evolving needs, offering scaling as the business grows and becomes more complex. They offer monthly services, further showing their focus on performance and long-term growth. Ignite Spot is one of those organizations that wants all of their clients to succeed.

6. CFO Hub

CFO Hub is great at providing outsourced CFO, controller, and accounting services that cater to businesses' unique financial requirements. With the CFO seen as a key part of any management team, CFO Hub’s financial controllers work toward optimizing a company's financials so that the business can focus on achieving its goals.

Their specific expertise is in identifying and correcting gaps in management reporting and revenue recognition policies. By outsourcing accounting to CFO Hub, businesses can save precious time on data entry and reconciliations, redirecting their focus toward other growth aspects.

7. Accountancy Cloud

Accountancy Cloud effectively caters to startups by providing strategic financial expertise and knowledge through their CFO services. Recognizing that startups often need financial support but may not be ready to hire a full-time CFO, they offer the innovative portfolio CFO service providing flexible access to finance expertise.

Their CFO service offers exceptional support in various areas, including growth forecasting, complex accounting, and achieving business objectives, such as expanding into new markets or preparing for fundraising rounds.

8. Level10 CFO

Level10 CFO stands out by providing outsourced CFO, controller, and accounting services designed to help businesses thrive and grow. They adopt an advisory-led, tech-forward approach that prioritizes the client's interests and aids in navigating critical business challenges. 

By partnering with clients throughout their business lifecycle—from formation to exit—Level10 acts as a fractional CFO, controller, and business advisor.

9. CPA On Fire

CPA On Fire offers a service where a virtual CFO (vCFO) can provide the expertise of an in-house CFO without the overhead of a full accounting department. They've carved out their niche by acknowledging that hiring a full-time in-house accounting team including a CFO may not be practical for small businesses with under $10 million in annual revenue. They argue that many accounting tasks can now be automated, reducing the need for a large full-time accounting staff.

CPA On Fire taps into the collective skills and up-to-date knowledge of their entire team to provide real-time financial guidance and allows business owners to focus on growth and profitability.

10. CFO Selections

CFO Selections is great at what they do, in providing CFO, controller, and executive search services in finance and accounting. They have previously shown the ability to quickly provide highly trained professional CFOs to fill urgent roles. 

The CFOs they provide not only maintain the status quo, but also enhance the quality and efficiency of strategic, financial, and business information required for managing growth.

11. Toptal

Toptal distinguishes itself by providing a platform to connect businesses with freelance CFOs. These professionals come from diverse backgrounds, having experience working in public companies, startups, investment banking, and consulting, among others. 

Many of them have advanced degrees and professional certifications like CFA and CMA. They have prior experience working in various industries such as healthcare, consumer, media, software, energy, and industrial, allowing organizations to find the perfect fit for their industry.

12. Now CFO

NOW CFO is a long established consulting firm that focuses on delivering comprehensive outsourced CFO, controller, accounting, and finance services. Their team of over 450 consultants, boosted by over 20 years of industry know-how, has catered to the financial needs of more than 15,000 clients across a network of over 50 locations. 

NOW CFO prides itself on tailoring an entire financial and accounting structure for businesses, from staff accountants to the CFO level. This customized approach is designed to align with the client's specific needs and budget.

13. GrowthForce

GrowthForce is a provider of tailored CFO services designed to meet businesses at any stage of their lifecycle. The services range from essential offerings such as KPIs, management reporting and systems integration, to more advanced options like budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and job costing. 

GrowthForce's unique proposition is to remove financial management barriers that hinder business growth.

14. B2B CFO®

B2B CFO® is a professional consulting firm that is deeply committed to improving the lives of business owners. Each business owner's uniqueness and contribution to society fuels their approach. They try to always understand the business owner's goals and actively work toward removing any potential barriers. The tools and processes they employ are proprietary, addressing the individual needs of each engagement.

The essence of B2B CFO® is in bridging the gap for business owners. They encourage potential clients to engage in discussions with their experts to ascertain the synergies in working together. B2B CFO® also offers the option of downloading key chapters that may pique the interest of potential clients.


What does a CFO at a startup do?

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at a startup plays a key role in navigating the complex landscape of accounting and finance. They serve as strategic financial partners providing comprehensive financial planning, modeling, and analysis to support the startup's growth trajectory. Tasks often include financial modeling, budgeting, and scenario planning to help startups stay ahead of the curve. CFOs also typically assist with essential elements like fundraising, preparing financial reports, and advising on investor presentations. 

How do I find a CFO for my startup?

There are several ways to find a CFO for your startup. One option is to hire fractional CFO services, such as Zeni, Paro, or Pilot, which provide access to experienced finance expertise without the cost of a full-time CFO salary. These services use technology to quickly match your business with the right fractional CFO experts. 

Other options for startups include Accountancy Cloud, Level10 CFO, and Toptal which offer a portfolio CFO model that allows startups to get the financial guidance they need without the commitment of a full time hire.

How much does an outsourced CFO cost?

The cost of an outsourced CFO can significantly vary depending on the complexity of financial operations and the level of expertise required. For example Ignite Spot's outsourced CFO services start at $950 per month offering a cost-effective solution compared to an in-house CFO which can cost up to $400,000 per year.

Virtual CFO (vCFO) services like CPA On Fire provide the expertise of an in-house CFO without the overhead of a full accounting department. Pricing details can often be adjusted based on the company's unique needs and growth stage, making it a flexible and budget-friendly option for startups and small businesses.