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Good to Great: How to Scale With an Outsourced CFO

Small to medium-sized businesses reach a point in their growth where access to the skills and talents of an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is required.  The question they often have? Is there enough work to warrant a full-time CFO? The answer is yes.....

Strategy - 6 min read

Business strategies sound great on paper. They’re logical and tidy, and they make sense. But when it comes to the real world, business strategy can get lost in the daily to-do’s.

If you haven’t yet successfully implemented a business strategy into your operations, you might wonder where to start. So we’ve put together three real-world examples of an effective strategy. 

And here’s an important thing to keep in mind: business strategy is important for every organisation, from a one-person start-up to a massive enterprise. Without a strategy, your business is likely to drift, and you don’t always know which ways the waves will blow you.

Big W: Adopting Innovation

Retail department stores have been around for years, and that’s all the more reason that industry companies should focus on strategy. Big W is a force in Australia’s retail store industry, with over 160 stores across the country. To stay out front, the chain has remodelled its cost leadership to prioritise operations efficiency in several key areas: evaluation systems, monitoring tools and technology.

Let’s look specifically at its business strategy in regards to technology. First, to offer competitive prices and substantial discounts, the chain must maximise gains. And one way to do this is to embrace the latest tech. 

Over ten years ago, Woolworths (Big W is a division of Woolworths Group) invested heavily in self-checkout machines, cutting costs and improving customer satisfaction. Shoppers could get through checkout lines quickly, and they loved the features. Building on that technology, Big W has recently incorporated Visa payWave into some of their stores, and this innovation speeds up the frequency at which checkout queues are cleared. Again, customers love the change, and at the same time, efficiency is improved.

Woolworths’ strategy of early technology adoption has allowed Big W to expand across Australia.

Harvest Hotels: Achieving Scalability and Mobile Agility

But most Australian businesses aren’t as large or old as Woolworths and Big W. For instance, Harvest Hotels, headquartered in North Sydney, has a collection of pubs and hotels scattered across the countryside.

Trying to keep tabs on these various small operations required hours of driving and a great deal of coordination for the owners. So, to achieve scalability and make the business more mobile-friendly, the leadership developed a strategy that brought their organisation up to speed.

Implementing cloud accounting and software made it possible for the business owners to view everything from one dashboard. For example, instead of driving many hours to check up on a pub, they started using video conferencing. Additionally, they can check in on a pub’s finances and operational logistics, such as inventory and payroll from any location.

With real-time data at their fingertips, the owners are in a position to make informed decisions at a moment’s notice, and this flexibility has allowed them to take advantage of significant opportunities.


Smith Construction Company: Cash Flow Forecasting

Smith Construction Company had been growing every year, but the owner hadn’t kept on top of the books. They were dealing with:

  • Months of unreconciled accounts
  • Missed ATO lodgement dates
  • No knowledge of the company’s actual financial position
  • Constant cash flow pressures.

Obviously, the business owner faced immense pressure, and the most pressing tasks were to lodge missed statements with the ATO and get the books up to date. But the most strategic move at this point was to implement cash flow forecasting to deal with the company’s constant growth.

We can help you set up automatic accounting systems that keep things running smoothly while you’re busy with other details. Additionally, the introduction of monthly cash flow forecasting can analyse your expenses and revenue as well as project completion and payment dates. 

Additionally, Smith Construction implemented continual monitoring and process improvements for debtor ageing. As a result, they began to see an improvement in accounts receivable, and the cash flow shortages lessened and then disappeared. 

To complement these new processes, Smith Construction also instituted project budgeting combined with variance analysis; these strategies helped to ensure that costs wouldn’t grow beyond their predictions. And because they started monitoring their numbers weekly, they got early warning of expenses that didn’t meet projections. In other words, they could address overages before they got out of control and ate into their profits.

With an eye on cash flow forecasting and other processes that worked hand-in-hand, Smith Construction finally got its finances under control and could focus on the work at hand.

Effective Business Strategy for Your Organisation

Whether they’re small local companies like Smith Construction or massive enterprises like Big W, Australian businesses need an effective business strategy to help them succeed.

You might need a cash flow strategy that allows you to grow, or you might need to develop systems that let you oversee remote workers in various locations. Alternatively, you might need a technological upgrade to keep up with your competitors or leave them in the dust. 

Whatever you need, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at Altus for a consultation. We can bring years of business expertise to the table and help develop a custom solution for your organisation. Talk soon!


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