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In today’s episode of ‘From the eLearning Trenches,’ we asked one of our learners, a partner in an accounting firm, to document the top 3 issues that affect their ability to get new vCFO clients across the line.  What actions can they take to address these issues?

Learner Reflection

Issue 1 – Pricing Flexibility and Transparency

Prospective clients may express concerns about the transparency of pricing for vCFO services. They may feel that pricing is not adequately tailored to their specific needs, leading to uncertainty.

Current Actions:

We engage in one-on-one consultations with potential clients to understand their unique requirements and provide customised pricing proposals. However, this process can be time-consuming and may lead to perceived pricing opacity.

Recommended Actions:

To address this issue, we should consider developing more transparent and flexible pricing structures that clearly outline the scope of services and associated costs. This can be achieved by creating standardised pricing tiers with clearly defined inclusions and add-ons for customisation.

Issue 2 – Client Education and Understanding

Many potential clients, especially those new to vCFO services, lack a comprehensive understanding of the value and benefits our services on offer. They may view vCFO’s as a less committed alternative to traditional in-house CFOs.

Current Actions:

We conduct in-depth client consultations to explain our services and their advantages. However, this approach can be time-intensive and may not effectively address the lack of general awareness.

Recommended Actions:

To overcome this challenge, we should develop educational content and resources that explain the role and impact of vCFO’s clearly. This content can take the form of whitepapers, case studies, webinars, and blog articles that illustrate success stories and the tangible benefits we bring to clients. Additionally, we should incorporate these educational materials into our initial client interactions to ensure potential clients have access to comprehensive information from the outset.

Issue 3 – Scope of Work Customisation


Each client has unique financial needs and challenges, and they expect our vCFO services to be tailored to their specific requirements. However, accommodating diverse scopes of work can be complex and time-consuming.

Current Actions:

We currently engage in extensive discussions with clients to customise the scope of work, which can lead to delays in service commencement.

Recommended Actions:

To streamline this process, we should develop a standardised approach for scoping and proposal customisation. This involves creating a structured questionnaire or intake process that helps us gather essential information about the client’s needs. Additionally, we should maintain a library of predefined scope templates that can be easily customised to align with specific client requirements. This approach will enable us to provide tailored solutions more efficiently while maintaining consistency in our service offerings.

By addressing these three key issues, we can enhance our ability to attract and acquire new vCFO clients. Implementing transparent pricing structures, providing comprehensive client education, and streamlining scope customisation processes will not only address current challenges but also improve the overall client onboarding experience. This, in turn, will contribute to the growth and success of our vCFO services.

Feedback from our experts

In providing advisory services, there is often a perceived conflict between the need to individualise client engagement and communication and the need to standardise systems and processes.

By creating standard approaches to client engagement and work completion, time is generally freed up to focus on communication and strategic advice. This starts with the engagement process.

We recommend that advisory firms develop ‘service agreements’ that focus on the quality of communication and ongoing engagement as well as the ‘end product.’ Standard engagement letters generally are seen as legal documents confirming scope of work and fee for service and may create the perception of a ‘commoditised’ service. It’s a fine line.

Some key elements of a strong service agreement:

  1. Scope of Work
  • Detailed description of the services to be provided.
  • Duration for which the services will be rendered.
  • Any specific projects or assignments to be undertaken.
  • Limitations or exclusions, clarifying what is not included in the agreement.
  1. Level of Ongoing Communication
  • Preferred methods of communication (e.g., email, phone calls, video conferencing).
  • Frequency of updates and status reports.
  • Designated points of contact for both the advisory firm and the client.
  • Expected response time for queries or requests from either party.
  1. Regular Review
  • Scheduled intervals for performance reviews, such as quarterly or annually.
  • Metrics or benchmarks used to measure the effectiveness or success of the advisory services.
  • Processes to adjust strategies or goals based on review outcomes.
  1. Mutual Expectations
  • Expectations regarding client’s involvement, cooperation, and provision of necessary information.
  • Advisor’s commitment to confidentiality, due diligence, and adherence to industry best practices.
  • Provisions for dealing with unforeseen challenges or changes in project scope.
  • Clear guidelines on dispute resolution.
  1. Fee for Service
  • The fee structure: whether fixed, hourly, or based on a percentage of assets under management.
  • Schedule for payment (e.g., upfront, monthly, or upon project completion).
  • Details of any retainer fees, if applicable.
  • Provisions for additional costs or expenses, such as travel or specialized resources.
  • Clauses related to early termination or changes in the fee structure.

Key take-away

Giving clients the opportunity to better understand the value of vCFO services and letting them decide what service options they will take on creates strong engagement and improves the chances of getting them across the line.

This assessment task and response is taken from the Virtual CFO Advanced eLearning Course. Click here to explore this course

Also, take a look at the Virtual CFO Essentials eLearning Course

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