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In this episode, we learn what a CFO does for a company, the misconceptions of hiring CFOs, and how Deborah Harris is as a CFO and strategist for her clients.

Deborah also shares with us the challenges her company faced during this pandemic, how they are coping, the different strategies they are implementing for them and their clients, and her passion for social, philanthropic projects.

In this episode:

  • Who Deborah Harris is and and what she does
  • Deborah is the Director and Co-Founder of Grow CFO Co. She leads a team of virtual Chief Financial Officers to find solutions and key strategies to maximise revenue and profit while making sure the cash flow is available to position for growth. 
  • Why do you hire a CFO and who are their typical clients?
  • “That’s why our name is Grow CFO because we’re really positioning those fast-growth companies or the companies that are really positioned to take it to the next level, and then making sure their financial strategy underneath what they do is really sound.”
  • Do you have to be big to have a CFO?
  • Deborah shares that their ability to interpret what a small business needs is different from what a big company CFO might require, and they are able to take cross-industry experience and being across multiple countries to allow them to suggest what services they offer work for a specific sector.
  • Deborah’s biggest challenge since COVID-19 hit
  • “Our biggest challenge was to work out exactly how we could get our customers pivoting as fast as possible, so that they had a plan in place so that they could continue paying us.”
  • This challenge has led Deborah and her team to develop interesting strategies for them and their clients and ways to be paid.
  • One client in the events industry went from almost having their doors shut to having a six-figure month.
  • Another client experienced a three-times valuation rise since October and are listing their education-based company on the New York Stock Exchange towards the end of this year
  • “Remember that even though people are struggling with cash flow, there’s no less money in the world. It’s actually more money being printed. It’s just not flowing. So it’s a matter of actually securing that cash and securing that capital.”
  • “Never leave anyone that is unhelped. That is part of our core philosophy.”
  • “It was fairly obvious to me that we had to have a solution that as long as we had sufficient cash flow ourselves, we would be okay. So let’s work out how we can make sure that everybody else has sufficient and not worry about there not being enough.”
  • According to Deborah, it is non traditional thinking that she learnt prior to Covid that is helping her and the company for their clients. She mentioned that she has to find a way to not work outside of the system but to make the system work for her, and that the system should work for you, not against you.
  • What is Deborah most proud of what’s happened and what has been her biggest achievement?
  • The commitment to give, considering that one of their core values is philanthropy, even in these pandemic times is her biggest achievement.
  • “I want to just keep that (giving) as a core perspective of ours. So I’m really proud of that for us we make sure that 1% of our revenue goes completely to projects and to giving. So through this stage, we’ve just committed to keeping on growing so that we can grow that giving commitment.
  • “All business exists to solve a problem. And it’s just about working out what the problem is.”
  • “Our business exists to solve the problem of fast-growth businesses not having enough cash flow. How we solve that problem changes in the context of what’s happening in our environment.”
  • How Deborah sees their business operating in the next 6 to 12 months
  • How was it working with clients prior to Covid and how does Deborah see herself working with clients, local and international, in the future?
  • The current and future plan for Deborah and her business is developing the space for education. They are looking at doing short and long-term courses with some consulting work or some mentoring alongside that. They are planning to roll this project out in the next couple of months.
  • Deborah also shares their current and developing social projects locally and abroad.
  • What does Deborah do currently in between that she can’t do international travel?
  • The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • How Deborah keeps motivated each day
  • “The reason why I’m so passionate about it is that I know that we can make a difference.I know accounts can make a difference.”
  • Deborah happily shares the importance of the number 7 in her family, life, passion for giving, and business mindset.
  • “Our number one B1G1 goal is that education should be available to everybody. It shouldn’t matter who you are, where you live, the colour of your skin. It shouldn’t matter. We should all be able to get access to education.”
  • “And one of the reasons why I’m promoting as many people as possible to get their training online is so that we’re able to get out there to more people whether it’s in Australia or overseas.”