Often startup founders handle many things – product, sales, marketing and finances. Each and every department has its own share of learning, but one place where startups cannot afford to go wrong are finances. Lot of startups struggle to manage funds and this is one area where expertise is a must. SuperCFO, founded by Bhairav Kothari provides Interim and virtual service offerings, full time high-end sourcing and placement services. The company focuses on Start-ups and SMEs who are increasingly recognizing the need to access professional CFO services. Their CFOs engage with clients as a Strategic Partner, ensuring quality CFO services, on a continuous on-going basis and at a frequency as desired by them.
We had a short chat with Mr. Bhairav, who tell us about SuperCFO, mistakes made by young entrepreneurs and the state of finance professionals in the Industry.
Major MileStones and 5 Successful Years
SuperCFO was founded in January in 2008. We launched Virtual CFO Services and formed SuperCFO group on LinkedIn (Today this is one of the most active groups on LinkedIn for CFO’s and finance professionals with about 30K members and growing). In 2009, we launched Special Purpose CFO Services (undertaking one-time special projects) and CFO Health Check Services.
I received Best Young Entrepreneur Award from SME Chamber of India in 2010. This year, we also launched Interim CFO Services. In 2011, we expanded our offering by providing Full Time & Interim CFO Services, and Smart Business Intelligence and CEO Dashboard Solution for growing Companies.
Over the last 5 years we have serviced different types of companies, with diverse situations and have stayed ahead with innovative solutions in the domain of CFO Services.
On CFO’s handling Rival Clients
First of all we don’t let a CFO to handle rival clients. Second, we suggest our clients to setup email accounts for Virtual/Interim CFO’s on their mail server, so they always have a copy of all correspondences. Third and most important, we take client confidentiality very seriously and have implemented various checks & controls towards the same.
On Overseas Expansion, IPO and Goals for Coming years
Currently, I am evaluating Singapore & London and am researching these markets to evaluate business opportunity. If we are able to tick all the boxes, we will launch our service offerings there soon. No IPO Plans at present, but will certainly evaluate a possible PE fund raise after about 2 years. Right now, I am keen on putting all the blocks together to scale up the company.
For this financial year, we aim to launch Business Intelligence Solution for Small/Medium Enterprises (bi.supercfo.com) and start our operations in good international location. For FY 2014-2015, we plan to provide few technology enabled CFO service offerings and launch CFO solutions for mid/large corporates.
On things you wish you knew when you started out
No regrets about anything. In fact, I have enjoyed every single day of my journey facing new challenges since that has only made me stronger. One thing that has helped me is by planning for the worst, but giving my best to every single opportunity/situation.
On Young Entrepreneurs who start big but falter in execution
I have seen some entrepreneurs faltering in execution for either of the following reasons. There may be many such reasons, but I have come across these very often
1. No Planning
2. Excessive Planning
3. Over Leveraging
4. Over Commitment / Under Delivery
5. Poor financial planning & management
Bhairav’s book pick for entrepreneurs is “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.
Current Quality of Financial Professionals in the Industry
It is a mixed bag. There are some very good professionals, but we are also seeing few disappointing trends:
1. Writing things on resume which may not necessarily be true or being depicted wrongly as an expertise, while the individual barely has high level knowledge about the subject
2. Finance professionals switching jobs frequently and/or quitting at short notice
We are continuously meeting finance professionals, and since we understand this domain we are able to better identify the right candidate. We are constantly identifying good profiles and therefore have a good large pool of finance professionals at any given point in time.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as we enjoyed doing it. Here’s wishing SuperCFO team the very best.