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What Are Financial Operations?

Vanessa Kruze, CPA, is a leading expert in startup taxes and tax compliance. Her team at Kruze Consulting has filed thousands of tax returns for companies that have raised billions in VC funding, and her work has been diligenced by leading VCs, attorneys, and M&A teams at the largest technology companies.
Vanessa Kruze, a highly-experienced CPA, brings valuable tax expertise to startups, drawing from her rich background at Deloitte Tax and as a financial controller for a $20 million startup. As the leader of Kruze Consulting, recognized multiple times in the Inc 5000 list, she specializes in navigating the complex tax landscape for startups. Her firm is known for delivering precise and strategic tax solutions, delivering tax credits utilizing advanced tools to ensure compliance and optimize tax benefits for startups throughout the United States.

Table of contents

Financial operations, often referred to as FinOps, are the activities and procedures that govern how a company manages its money. These operations encompass a range of functions from budgeting and forecasting to financial reporting (including accounting) and investment management. They serve as the backbone of any organization’s finances and accounting, ensuring that it remains financially viable and capable of achieving its long-term goals. 

Startups, my CPA firm’s clients, usually do not have complex FinOps organizations or teams. However, the best startup founders set up scalable fintech and accounting backends, which makes scaling operations and finances easier. 

Components of Financial Operations

Financial operations can be broken down into several key components, each playing a critical role in an organization’s financial health:

Budgeting and Forecasting

This involves planning how resources will be allocated for the upcoming financial period. It’s essential for avoiding overspending and ensuring that a company can invest in opportunities as they arise. For startups, this is usually accomplished in a spreadsheet - Kruze has free financial model templates you can use to build your own budget. Eventually, startups bring this into a cloud-based tool, but not until there is an internal finance team.

Accounting and Bookkeeping

These are the day-to-day activities like invoicing, payroll, and financial record-keeping. These tasks ensure the accurate tracking of income, expenses, and other financial transactions. The backbone of a startup’s accounting is a solid bookkeeping software like QuickBooks Online. 

Financial Analysis

Financial analysts dig into financial data to assess the company’s performance. They look at metrics like profitability ratios, liquidity, and debt levels to provide insights into how well the business is doing. These are often reported out in a dashboard, but many startups collect these manually. 

Treasury/Investment Management

This is the strategic allocation of capital to keep the business’ capital safe, easy to access and earning a yield. It’s a crucial aspect of financial operations for companies looking to expand or diversify. For VC backed startups, cash management is becoming increasingly critical as yield on safe investments like treasuries is now possible with higher interest rates. 

Risk Management

This involves identifying, assessing, and taking steps to mitigate financial risks. This could be market-related, like a drop in customer demand, or internal, such as cash flow issues. Usually this is handled by the CEO of a startup, until they have an outsourced CFO who can run scenarios in their budget. Of course, the SVB crisis reminded founders that their startup bank needs to be part of the risk management equation. 

Financial Reporting

Companies must report their financial status to stakeholders through balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. This allows for a transparent look into the health of the business.

The Importance of Financial Operations

A company’s financial operations serve as the linchpin that connects its various departments and activities. For example, ineffective budgeting could lead to cash flow problems that hamper a company’s ability to invest in research and development. Consequently, it could lose a competitive edge in the marketplace. Of course, for a startup, this mainly falls on the the CEO’s shoulders - which is why we are happy to help our founders manage their startups’ financial operations and fintech systems.

Challenges in Managing Financial Operations

Managing financial operations isn’t without its challenges. Among these are:

  • Resource Constraints: Smaller companies may lack the resources to manage complex financial operations effectively.
  • Data Accuracy: Inaccurate financial data can lead to poor decision-making.
  • Affordable Systems: Big businesses can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars implementing ERP systems, but startups have to rely systems that hopefully have APIs to share data automatically. 

Key Takeaways

  • Financial operations include budgeting, accounting, financial analysis, investment management, risk management, and financial reporting.
  • Effective management of financial operations is essential for the long-term success of any company.
  • Challenges include regulatory compliance, ensuring data accuracy, and resource constraints.

Being proactive in your approach to financial operations can be the difference between thriving and barely surviving. By understanding each component and implementing strong management practices, you can set your business on the path to financial stability and growth.


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