The Affluent Entrepreneur Show

How a CFO Can Transform Your Profits & Wealth with Michael King

April 03, 2023 Mel H Abraham, CPA, CVA, ASA Season 2 Episode 131
The Affluent Entrepreneur Show
How a CFO Can Transform Your Profits & Wealth with Michael King
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Running a successful business isn't just about having an exceptional product or service; it's a symphony of strategic planning, marketing, and financial management. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of operating a company, but with the right financial guidance, you can keep your business on the path to profitability.

That's why I’m excited to have Michael King on this episode, a seasoned fractional CFO with a diverse background in nuclear engineering and plywood manufacturing. Michael's unique experience in different industries offers a fresh perspective on the importance of financial management and how it can be applied to any business. From cash flow management to financial reporting, Michael knows how to navigate the financial complexities of running a successful business.

You don't want to be left behind in the race for profits and wealth, do you? So, join us on this episode as Michael King shares his insights on how a CFO can transform your business and your financial future. Trust me, you'll learn a lot.


  • How CFO consulting can help you make better business decisions
  • The importance of finding a fractional CFO with industry-specific experience
  • The skills you need to be a successful CFO consultant

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Know more about Michael:
Join 200 other virtual and fractional CFOs on May 16-18, 2023: The CFO Accelerator LIVE (Use the promo code ‘MEL’ to get $50 off)

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“The Entrepreneur's Solution The Modern Millionaire's Path to More Profit, Fans, & Freedom” –

Mel Abraham  0:00  
Oh my god, another great episode of the Affluent Entrepreneur Show. And this one, I'm talking to someone by the name of Michael King, Michael King. You know, he's a nuclear engineer, turns, CFO, I mean, he went from working in the military on submarines, to running a plywood company to build an a business. And he talks about that journey talks about what it means to be a fractional CFO, what it takes, why you need one, how it's going to elevate your business, how it's going to accelerate your profits, and also accelerate your wealth. I think you're gonna enjoy this conversation. All right, so check it out. I'll see you in the episode. This is the affluent Entrepreneur Show for entrepreneurs that want to operate at a high level and achieve financial liberation. I'm your host, Mel Abraham, and I'll be sharing with you what it takes to create success beyond wealth. So you can have a richer, more fulfilling lifestyle. In this show, you'll learn how business and money intersect. So you can scale your business, scale your money, and scale your life, while creating a deeper impact and living with complete freedom. Because that's what it really means to be an affluent entrepreneur. Hey there, Michael, so good to have you on the show. Man. I'm looking forward to this conversation, man.

Michael King  1:25  
This is gonna be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to being here and talking to you about some some exciting stuff today.

Mel Abraham  1:31  
Yeah, well, as y'all heard, in the intro, Michael, I have kind of walked in the same circles for for a little while. And, and we're only just meeting in the last say, you know, three, four months. But it was one of those things that when we we had our first conversation we got Honor, this is this is a place where we can keep having conversations, you're going to find as we talk to Michael as his journey, that one he's got a journey. That's, that's unique, but to he's, he's got a heart of gold, and three, he's smart as hell. So So let's just start for those that don't know who Michael King is, and what Michael King does, let's just start there. And let's just start where, you know, how did we get here what you know, because you have a unique kind of background.

Michael King  2:22  
It's not the classic story that you've heard 100 times to be sure, I actually started my career off as a nuclear engineer in the Navy on submarines, supervising the operation of nuclear power plants. And I did that for a little over 11 years, and decided maybe it's time that we don't live in a steel tube anymore. And, you know, tool around the Atlantic Ocean. So I made the traditional career transition from nuclear power into plywood manufacturing of all things. And I started off at a plywood manufacturing plants with as a staff engineer, and then through a random turn of events, I found myself running the plants about a year or so into my tenure there. And part of that Mel was my responsibilities was I had p&l accountability. But as you might imagine, with a degree in nuclear engineering, and, you know, submarine military service, I wasn't really sure what PRL stood for much less how to be accountable for it. And in that role, I'll never forget, I had a comptroller in some staff accounts that reported to me and every couple of weeks, they'd bring me this stack of papers, reports, you know, different accounting reports, finance reports and accountants to accounts that's artwork. So just just clicked in his in, I would tell him, like, ladies just put those in my inbox, and I'll take a look at them after lunch. And as soon as they left my office, I my fingers started going, and I'm googling, you know, what does IRR mean and trying to figure out, you know, long term and short term liabilities. But as you might imagine, you're not going to YouTube your way into a set of financials that a company is doing, you know, $90 million a year, you're not going to Google your way into understanding the financial. So one day I get up the courage, I go to the controller, and, you know, sweet southern lady, you know, kind of like my mom, and her name was Miss Denise. And when asked Miss Denise, gosh, can you help me understand what I'm looking at here? And she says, Bless your little heart sit out. And what happened? What happened Well, is she starts using accounting terms to explain other accounting terms and in my head spinning, and after a while, I said, timeout, Miss Denise, what I need to understand is how do I use these reports to make better decisions in the business tomorrow? And she pauses for just a second and she says, Well, sweetie, that's your job. Not mine. Said, Okay, fair enough. And so I decided to use my GI Bill and I go to get an MBA because I wanted to learn the language of business. I realized my passion was more aligned with business than engineers. But when I got to business school, first day and graduate level accounting, there's a PhD up there teaching, and he was doing a lot of the same stuff that the comptroller had done. You know, and when I start thinking about him, you know, accountants are a lot like engineers or software developers, they're great at communicating with one another. But a lot of times they struggle to communicate to others to decision makers in business in this example, and I later learned that, you know, 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years 80% That don't even make it to 10 years. But when you pull the data back, when you peel the onion back, what I've learned is most of them aren't failing because of a bad product or a bad service. Most of them are failing because of bad financial decisions. And so when I consider the fact that a lot of folks in the accounting and finance world struggle to communicate with these, these business owners that desperately need to understand what they what the accountants know, I said, this is a problem. And it was something that I got really passionate about solving. So seven years ago, I started my own company. We didn't call it this at the time, but it's, it's a fractional CFO service, in my mission was to help business owners understand their numbers so they could make better decisions. So and so yeah, seven years ago, next week, actually, is our we started serving small business owners as fractional CFOs. And, you know, about 18 months ago or so, I got bored. One day I kind of had my firm was was more or less on autopilot. I had a team doing all the things and as you know, Mel aboard entrepreneur is a dangerous entrepreneur. Yes. And one of our mutual friends, Shannon, actually was DMing me on Instagram. And she said, Mike, could you please work with me to coach me, like, show me how you built this firm? And I said, You know what, I had some free time on my hands. And so I that was the birthday of it of a new business called the CFO accelerator, where I work with accountants and other fractional feet CFOs, to help them learn how to start scaling, optimize their advisory services, because I, you know, I'm very passionate, like what I said earlier about the need to help business owners understand their numbers, I want to get that out. And we'll empower more people to learn how to do that, because those small business owners are the backbone of our economy. It's not Tesla, it's not, you know, Apple, it's small business owners. And so I said, this is a great opportunity for me to get out in front of more people, and empower them to not only build a firm that they're loving, and doing work, that they're that they're loving, getting paid more, but it's also a way to further impact small business owners.

Mel Abraham  7:41  
This is cool, and I'm gonna break it down for the for the watchers, the viewers, the listeners and all that stuff, because I think it's really important, too often, and as a CPA, okay, I get it. And I hear it all the time. Too often, we actually come at our financial information, whether it's personal finances, or business finances as a compliance issue. In other words, I just got to do the accounting because I had to do the tax returns. And I got to do that. It and nothing could be further from the truth, the most, the most elementary rudimentary use of your financial information is for compliance purposes, for filing reports and everything because you can, we talked about this, before we even started, we can farm that out. The value in your numbers is in the interpretation of those numbers, and the application of the lessons that you can extract from the numbers. And I think that's the thing that as entrepreneurs, and I hear it, especially in the space that I that I play in, while I'm a creator, I'm not good with numbers, while y'all your finances success, when business and personally is on the other side of that math problem. And his basic math. But if we don't, you know what, what Mike is doing, is he's standing between the reports, and you as the interpreter, the guide, and the one that will demystify the the stuff that's going on, so you can operate at a higher level, more profits, optimization, scaling, all those things, and you can do it without good numbers.

Michael King  9:34  
I've always remember what one of our mutual friends Brendon Burchard says, you know, yes, in business mission is everything but without money, we can't sustain the mission. Yeah. And I think it's it does a disservice to those that you want to go and serve to not understand your own numbers. Because when you and you're not making smart financial decisions, you're at the end of the day, you're limiting your impact. you're limiting your ability to serve more people. At a deeper level, and I like the way I like the way you worded that, Mel, the way I've always kind of looked at it is, you know, one slight nuance to what you said is, you know, is you've got the books over here. And then you've got your goals, you've got your dreams, you've got these big plans that you want to do for yourself. And a lot of times, we don't know how to bridge the gap between QuickBooks and those goals, we don't understand, you know, is it safe for me to hire somebody else right now? Do I have enough money? Do I have enough cash in the bank to be able to pay myself more? Can I invest in this, you know, new social media manager, we don't know those things. And so while I've seen so many times, that hurts my heart melt, people tend to do one or two things, when that happens, and this is especially true for creative types, is they'll do one or two things. They'll either cross their fingers, and close their eyes and pray to Baby Jesus that this decision will work out. Or they do nothing. Yeah, in both of those can be equally damning to the success of your business. There is another way there is a way to understand is this decision safe? Can I do this with confidence that it's going to produce the profitability and the cash so that this goal becomes a reality in three years. And that's where a CFO, a fractional or a virtual CFO can really step in, to help put numbers behind those dreams that you have.

Mel Abraham  11:21  
So cool. So let's just talk more tactically, so people understand because I look, you're preaching the choir here. I mean, I get it. And I think that if we truly are looking to one created business of impact that I call it, the legacy factor of business that outlasts us. And, and so, what we need is a business that can run without us, which means that we need team, we need systems, we need processes, we need all of those things. If we want financial freedom, personally, we need to create the business that the business has seen on one hand, but we need to create the money machine on the other hand, and it's the money machine, that's going to give you the freedom. And it's going to give you what you need. And so in both those machines that we're trying to build, there's numbers involved. There's management involved, there's ideas involved. And so if we truly want that, it's important now, we hear these terms, controller, CFO, CEO, visionary, you know, an implementer, or, you know, those integrator, we hear all those terms. Where does Where do you see a CFO fitting in? And when is the most optimal time in your mind to bring one on and the beauty of using a fractional CFO versus saying, oh, gosh, I gotta go hire someone?

Michael King  12:55  
Sure, sure. So let's start with this getting some common definitions or understanding of some of these roles. Let's start with like a bookkeeper. And we'll use the term bookkeeper and accountant interchangeably, they're not necessarily the same thing. But just for the sake of conversation here, let's assume those are the same thing. When you think of a bookkeeper or an accountant. Normally, with those folks, they they're passionate about what they've been trained to do their whole career, their experience is reporting on what happened in the past. What was my profitability last month? How much cash did I have last quarter? What was my revenue last year, they're really good at telling you what happened in the past. And just like you said, Mel, those things are really, really important for compliance purposes. The tax man wants to know what you did last year. So you can figure out how much you owe this year. Right? So it's really important to have those fundamental things like bookkeeping, and accounting in place. But like I mentioned earlier, a lot of times, as entrepreneurs, whether you're CEO or the visionary, you're not really thinking too much about what happened last quarter, or last year, you're thinking about next quarter, next year, five years, 10 years from now. And so just like you need help figuring out what happened in the past. You also need help figuring out what is going to happen in the future. So you've got these visionary ideas, you've got these bold goals that are out there. And you started putting the pieces in place to bring those to reality. But you started asking yourselves questions like, okay, in order for me to get to this three year goal, I'm going to need a full time marketing manager, or I'm going to need an operations director or I'm going to need to increase my ad spend in order to get there. And then you start worrying about things like, is it profitable to do that? Will I have enough money to do that? Does it make sense? What are the tax implications next year? If I do these things this year, that's where the CFO comes into play. This if the bookkeeper the accountant or rearview mirror looking than the fractional or the virtual CFO or forward looking. So as you start to have questions and uncertainties about the future, that's when you might start considering bringing on a virtual or fractional CFO. And I think it's also important to say that the difference between a virtual and fractional CFO is simply branding, its marketing, they're both the same thing. Anybody that tells you different is making stuff up. They're the same thing with just a different name on it. So that fractional CFO is the one that can help you kind of look towards the future and figure out the viability or the feasibility of those goals that you have there the person that can say, I see where you're trying to take the ship, watch out for these potholes. You know, I've worked with a lot of businesses that have tried this, this doesn't work, or this works really well. They're that first sentence looking into a crystal ball in helping you kind of predict what's going to come and give you more confidence around those decisions. Now, when should you get one? That's a question I get asked all the time. Now, the bookkeeper and the accountants, I would argue, that should be one of your first if not your first hire, you get into a business and you start generating any amount of revenue, I want you to go out and find a bookkeeper and bookkeepers, you can get them, I mean, they're all over the world. Now you can find them from $200 a month to $2,000 a month, when you're just getting started, I would lean towards more towards the 200 or $300 a month. But once you start getting into the high five figures, certainly into the six figures, you want somebody that's that's got their their game together, somebody that's got some miles behind them. And the reason that that's important is remember I said they're figuring out the stuff that relates to taxes. And so if you've got a bookkeeper, that's not doing your job, one of two things is likely to be true, you're either gonna overpay on taxes, or you're gonna under pay on taxes. Both of those are bad. So it's it's definitely an investment, not an expense to get a quality bookkeeper and an accountant. Now, where you'll get a lot of different answers is when does it make sense for to hire a CFO, and I've been doing this for seven years, I've coached hundreds of fractional and virtual CFOs. Now, I think the rule of thumb that tends to be the best guidance is, unless you're in a SaaS company, and I'll address them separately. If you're in a service based business, a product based business, somewhere around, you know, maybe half a million in revenue, it can start to make a lot of sense. Because when you're smaller than that, there's not enough variability or uncertainty. I know you want to help. But to get a CFO that's worth their weight, it won't, the expense just won't pay for itself. Yeah, there's no, there's really, there's not enough ROI, there's just not, now you can hire CFOs that are less expensive that you could afford it that price. But the reality is, most of them don't have enough experience, to be able to provide the strategic guidance that you need. And so I would rather you just hold off a little bit longer until you get your business to that point. Now, if you're a software company, like a SASS company, or you're somebody that's looking to raise significant capital early on, then it would make sense to get that fractional CFO that has experience in your industry that has experience with VCs or P E's, you might want to consider bringing them on super early, so that they can help you with the complex models and pitch decks and those kinds of things. There's a whole set subset of of experience and skill sets that you'll need if that's true for you. So kind of in summary, bookkeepers rearview mirror looking CFOs, forward looking, you want to think about bringing that CFO on if you're looking for big investors, or you're a software company early on, otherwise, I would say you know, half a million to a million dollars in revenue, you'll normally start to see a great payback on that investment.

Mel Abraham  19:01  
Cool. Now I can hear I can I can hear them all saying now, but I got an I got a CPA, or I have an advisor. Now I have my answer to this. Um, curious, what's your answer to this? And I'll give you mine afterwards. Okay, okay. Probably they're probably the say,

Michael King  19:20  
maybe. Now there's a lot of pressure like what would Mel say?

Mel Abraham  19:26  
The question is, how do you respond? How do you respond to so it says, But I already have a CPA.

Michael King  19:33  
So the way that I look at that is think about doctors. All right, the term doctors pretty broad. There's a lot of different skills in education degrees that constitute a doctor. And so if you've got a pain in your foot, right, but you go to a dentist to get help both of them, you know, a podiatrist and a dentist or both have doctors, but they have very different skill sets, they have different experience and they've gone to different schools for it. And it's the same thing with like, but I have an accountant and you have somebody that has a very valuable in necessary skill set. But they've been trained on a very different type of thing than what you're looking for help on on the forward looking. They're typically trained on what's happened in the past, not on the future looking stuff. Okay, now, there's some there are some amazing fractional and virtual CFOs that are also accountants. But they've also been working on the forward looking stuff. So I would say, you know, if you have that mindset of, you know, already have an accountant, then again, I just asked you, I would challenge you what questions are you asking for help with it, there's normally some some telltale signs that you're asking the foot doctor for the dental issues. Normally, the way that that kind of materializes, is people will start to get frustrated, they'll start to say things like this mill. Gosh, I've been asking my accountant to help me figure out what am I going to owe in taxes next year, I've been begging my accountant to help me figure out my cash flows. I've been asking my accountant to look at my p&l and figure out what are some things that I can do to increase my profit margins to increase my cash, and they just won't help. They tell me they will, but then I don't ever hear back from them. And normally, the reason is they want to help you. But again, they're not trained with that. And so they they end up ghosting in a lot of cases. So that's normally like the number one side, you're asking the right questions. You're just asking them to the wrong person. Yeah.

Mel Abraham  21:34  
So I, I am 100%, in agreement with what you say? Because it is really easy to believe. And and and this is really just because of a lack of understanding that, hey, they have a CPA, they should know this stuff. But if you're not specifically trained in it, you don't. Okay, correct. And so, not all CPAs are created equal. I have a CPA, most of my work is forward looking, because I'm valuing businesses, I'm looking towards the future, what's the value? What's the risks? What are the returns? You know, whereas the majority of them are, like you said, rearview mirror historical scribes, if you will, to do that. So and I want to bring this up, because I'm hoping that we get you the listener, the viewer to understand that just because you have an account, doesn't mean that you're out of the woods. Is it the right person? Do you have the right team? Do you have the right people to carry the ball with you, the next stage of your business the next season of your business, then that may be a fractional CFO, it may be other people, I know that I got put on a board of directors, this is now going back appears that's it'll be 20 years, in two months that I've been on this company, but I actually they brought me in to value the company because he wanted to sell now this was a company that was founded in the 1800s. Well, to the late 1800s, still privately held, I was going to value it. So we're going to sell but I noticed that they hate their their margins are shrinking, their market share is shrinking. And I Oh, and I'm looking at these, these, the Board of Directors, which were all shareholders and saying, Hey, you can do this. I mean, you can. But you're leaving a lot of money on the table. You don't jump ship when we're on the rapids. And we're ready to go over the edge of the falls. And they said, Well, what do you suggest? And I said, we look forward, we retrench we rebuild, we grow. And at that time, then you can choose to sell or not sell. Well, at that time. They were doing probably 20 mil and we just crossed 300. Wow. You know and n but the the what I want to get at is why I think that happened. One the management team changed but also that I thought a year so the long story short, they they I basically told them stop your dividends. Stop paying dividends to shareholders reinvest in the business. I thought they looked at me like I was the devil because I said you're not getting checks anymore. You know, but they did it. And a year later they asked me to be on the board. And I was their very first outside director. Well, since then they put we put three other directors on the board that are outside directors outside perspective, not inside perspective, that that we all get compensated. But what happened is that brings new blood, new vision new ideas, new use strategies to a business to a future to a financial future that wouldn't otherwise be there. Because as an entrepreneur, especially, you're entrenched in the day to day mix of stuff, and you can't see the other things that maybe other people might be able to see. And so this is the thing that I think becomes valuable with some of the stuff that you're doing is you get a chance to step in and give strategic vision to something that they may not see, that may be obvious to you. You hit a

Michael King  25:38  
word there that I say all the time. And I think it's important for everyone to understand a lot of the tangible deliverables that a virtual or fractional CFO can give you don't tell him I told you this, but a lot of the deliverables are kind of a commodity. So what kind of things should a fractional CFO be giving you, you should have things like financial health assessments, cash flow, forecast, budgets, projections, those things are all very important. And they're they're valuable to an extent, they're great for decision making tools. But the word that you use, bail is the thing that I want you to be looking for. If you're considering hiring somebody like this, it's perspective. Perspective is the great equalizer, it's the great differentiator, you want to bring someone in that has a different perspective, or a deeper perspective, based on their experiences and their education and all the things that they've done. So what I really want to encourage you is like, if you get to the point where you're like, I think it might be time, I want you to really focus on how are they going to deliver their perspective. And it's important a lot of times that they have perspective in your industry or a related industry. Because you know, again, if you go and I'll give you a great example, if you own a restaurant, and you brought my team in to be your fractional CFO, it would be a dumpster fire, it would be horrible, we would not serve you at the level that you deserve to be served at. Because we have no experience in the restaurant industry, we're not going to be able to offer perspectives on you know, best in practice, and what's his world class look like? What is the industry doing? And how do you need to respond to stay at the front of it? We can't give that to you. But there are those that can. On the other hand, if you're a service based business, if you're a plumber, an electrician, a construction company mover roofer, we come in there and tear it up for you, right, like because that's what we know. And so we were able to offer a lot of perspectives on those, like service based industry. So perspective is a really key word, I think when it comes to CFO services. And so if you're interviewing people, make sure that they understand and know how to offer their perspective. If they're just telling you about cash flow forecasts and projections, in that perspective isn't part of what they're selling you, you might have the wrong person.

Mel Abraham  28:04  
Yeah, so good. So that I want to shift gears just a little bit. Okay. Because there's another side of this, that I think is really important. There are people out there that are in, you know, the extra space, the authority space, they're their coaches, their mentors, their consultants, and they do business consulting. And this idea of potentially adding this element of CFO consulting or fractional CFO could be an interesting dynamic and and one of the things we talked about in the affluence blueprint is the importance. The first pillar is the Generate pillar, it's how do you scale and optimize your cash flow, because it's that cash flow that builds the assets that build the money machine to give you the financial freedom, and we need that cash flow. And one of the one of the best ways I know, to be able to do that was to take expertise, to pay take knowledge to take a experience, to take a perspective and, and bring that to the marketplace in a different way. And so, I know that, on one hand, you're doing the CFO stuff, but on the other hand, you're working with people to help them say, hey, there's another arm of your business, be it a CPA, be it a consultant, be it someone that you could bring in, that is a profitable can be a profitable income stream, beyond, you know, swapping hours for dollars and commodity type of work. Can we talk a little bit about that journey, that journey of someone that maybe wants to be that CFO that fractional reversal? CFO, be it a CPA or someone else?

Michael King  29:53  
Sure. I think there's a couple of things that have to exist and this is actually a very touchy point in the In the CFO industry right now, there's a couple of things that have to exist. Before you can get in the game. In my opinion, again, I've been doing this a long time, and I've coached hundreds of people. So I come at this from a position of, I've got some miles behind me now, you've got to have both technical skills, as well as what I call CFO leadership skills. Now, the technical skills are pretty obvious. Okay, so what are those forward looking skills that you've got to have? Well, you've got to have a fundamental understanding of accounting is one, okay? Do you need to be a CPA? No, I'm not a CPA, and I've been doing this a long time, I made a lot of money at it. I'm proof, I don't have to be a CPA. But you do have to have a fundamental understanding of how accounting works, you've got to understand how to put together things like a cash flow forecast, you've got to understand how to do budgets, projections, those types of things, you've got to understand how those work as a ticket of to admission to get in the game. But then you've also got to have what I call CFO leadership skills, CFO leadership skills, and that's where it leans more towards coaching than technical skills. Because at the end of the day, if you're not able to get people to take action, then what are you really doing? Yeah, so if you've got the technical skills, and you have the coaching skills, or the leadership skills, and I just defined leadership is the ability to motivate and inspire others to take action, very simple definition. If you have that, then offering CFO services can be an amazing offering for you, it can be great, because CFO services tend to be a lot less about dollars for hours. And more about like we said earlier, that perspective. So it's a much more value driven service than a time driven service. And so now what becomes true is three things. One, you're working fewer hours, you're making more money, but most importantly, you're having a higher level of impact, in my opinion, by offering those services. And so what do you do with all that? Well, if you have more time, you can serve more clients. If you have more time, you can spend more time with your kids traveling, doing whatever you want to do, the sky's kind of the limit when it comes to that. But I think you got to have those requisites, you know, you've got to have the tech skills. Now the cool thing is, you don't have to be, you know, what a lot of people misconception they have is like, Oh, I'm not an expert enough. I don't have enough technical skills. I'm like, remember, we're not you're not applying to be the fractional CFO of Tesla here, right? Looking at publicly traded companies that have, you know, billion dollar balance sheets, and GAAP is, you know, a massive concern, right? We're not talking about that we're talking about small and medium sized businesses that are normally run by, you know, just there's a CEO at the helm. They need help making better decisions, you know, so if you have some of those fundamental skills, you probably have enough to get in the game. Now, do you need to build on those skills? I think always, always, always gotta be building on both of those skills, or you start to die. But you can definitely get in the game with it. Does that answer your question? Yeah,

Mel Abraham  33:11  
I think it answered my question. And the other thing that I want to make sure people understand is that all skills are learnable. And so these are things that, that you can develop in the right environment, with the right training with the right coaches, with the right mentors to be able to do that. Look, I didn't know this is going to take me all right, I went to one of the large consulting firms in downtown Los Angeles, the very first job they put me on was an audit. It was an audit. And it was the inventory. It was the middle of August in Los Angeles, so was like 103 degrees, and they sent me out to inventory, a company by the name of Bandini. For those of you who don't know, Bandini, they manufacture fertilizer. So here I was three piece suit, galoshes all the way up to my thighs in mounds of steaming manure, gone. This is this is what I went to school for. Now, how I got into valuations, the forward looking the other skills was not because I had the skill set. He was simply because at the time, they said, Hey, we understood we understand kid that the merger and acquisition group came to me and said, We understand that you understand how to use a computer. And then you know, this thing called spreadsheets. Now, the spreadsheet we were using back then was something called multi plant, you know, and I said, Yeah, I can do that. And they go, we're doing a merger of three insurance companies, would you be willing to put the the what if and the analysis together, and I go, okay, so I did it and I immediately said, beats inventorying manure. I'm switching departments. But so I learned it. I it wasn't it wasn't something that that I knew I didn't know anything about valuations, the valuation theory, finance theory all that stuff's animal, an analyzing businesses with a forward looking mentality. So even if you may not sit back and say I have the skills, it doesn't mean I don't have the skills, it doesn't mean you can't get the skills. And I think that that's, but I do agree with you that that we need to have that. And then I would couple it with one other thing which is in your leadership, and is that is our ability to communicate? Oh, yeah. The numbers themselves are one thing. And I see a lot of my CPA colleagues, they tried to sit behind the numbers. But I did a lot of testimony, expert witness testimony, and I realized that it was the story, I get to tell around the numbers that made my testimony most powerful, most memorable, and most persuasive. And so that's what I had to look at. And I think if we when we do that, then it'll, it'll be a little a lot more, more powerful.

Michael King  35:59  
You know, I couldn't agree more storytelling is probably the second most under underdeveloped skill in business. And it's so important because business owners are demanding more now than just reporting. And so how do we communicate what's going on with the numbers and how they relate to goals? It's through storytelling. And I would say that to the extent that you become a relatable storyteller, you will become a successful fractional or virtual CFO. Storytelling is so important, especially when you start mixing perspective. And with it, right, all these things start to kind of tie together. And I'd say like, the other thing, Mel that's important with this is, do you have the heart of a teacher? Can you the type of person that can show up and be patient and explain things five different ways to people and until they get it, you're gonna get all these things are learnable, all these skills are learnable. So I would say, you know, that open mind and a growth mindset, you know, if you're like, Okay, I understand the basics over here. I want to learn I'm willing to invest the time, then you can be say, I was at Carolyn Dweck that said, the equation of success is effort applied over time, you know, if you're willing to put in effort and you're willing to put in the time, you can do extraordinary things.

Mel Abraham  37:18  
Absolutely. Now, so I'm gonna reiterate something that maybe they, if you haven't heard it, I want you to hear it. Again, if you didn't hear it, I want you to hear at this time, one of the key elements that I like about what you do, Mike, and what the people that you work with do is the fact that it it disengages your compensation. For from the clock, you know, you're not selling your sessions, you're not selling hours, can I buy an hour of your time you, you are driven by results, you're driven by value, and you get paid for the value. And I think that that, in and of itself, starts to elevate your ability to optimize your cash flow, increase your income, and ultimately, accelerate your wealth. And I want to make sure that everyone hears that loud and clear. Because this isn't just someone going in and doing I'm just going to go mentor and coach and sell a bunch of hours. That's not the way that this is, this is done. Right?

Michael King  38:31  
You get to a point. And I'll just be super transparent, because I talk about this stuff on YouTube all the time. So there's no secrets here. You know, what one of the hardest things for people to realize, as they get into that next level of business, is divorcing their their pricing from their time, and just embracing this concept of, but I'm adding so much value. And there's a couple of examples, I think bring home one is with us in our business. You know, we charge anywhere from 5500 to $8,000 a month for our services. It never once does a client say how many hours did you log, right? Because they're so focused on the fact that we're telling them how to you get their their net profit up by a million dollars over the next 18 months. They're they're more concerned about the outcomes. And so they don't care if we work one hour or 1000 hours to get there. And the same can be true for you in your business in virtually any industry. The same can be absolutely true when you get more focused on outcomes, and less focused on the tactical deliverables and the bullet points and the checkmarks. That's where people start thinking about ours. So I would just encourage you, you know, move move your discussions as far away from the decimal point as possible. And as you make that journey, people become less and less concerned about how many hours you're working in those in they're more concerned about those outcomes that you're providing and it can be true in Literally any industry, I mean, think about a plastic surgeon. You know that when was the last time a plastic surgeon build based on billable hours? You know, they that'll bill you buy it, they, they're gonna give you this new face or they're gonna give you the tummy tuck. It's the outcome. Yeah. Think about lawyer. Well, I guess lawyers are probably a bad thing. Yeah, not lawyers, but anybody else, you know, anybody else? I had a conversation earlier with with a marketing agency, you know, and they're, they're charging $30,000 for this program. But they're talking about outcomes. I'm not asking them how many hours are you working? Yeah, no, I don't care. Because they're telling me outcomes, revenue outcomes. So I really encourage and in fact, I would, I'd say, I challenge you to really think how can that be true for your industry as well, I bet there's a way

Mel Abraham  40:51  
So and then, and I totally agree with it, that we should be results and outcome driven, versus versus doing some mathematical equation on a timesheet, so and so now, there may be people out there that are listening, going, this is kind of intriguing, I'm wondering if I can add this to my business, or I want to expand my knowledge in this arena. And I know that you have something coming up, that's coming up, and I'm going to be there you are. And I'm so so excited. So let's, let's just talk about what this is, and what, what what's going on and, and everything. So, so they know and, and if they if they want, and then they see that this is a good fit. Let him Let him come and join us.

Michael King  41:38  
So a little bit of background, because it's important for context. I started my firm, like I mentioned seven years ago next week. And I got several years into it. And I found a couple of things to be true. One I was burnt out, I'm working a ton of hours, I was still very hourly, you know, billable hours kind of focused a lot, a lot more focused on the tactical work. I had clients that I didn't love, you know, because I just I was so hungry to get clients, because I needed money. You know, and so despite the fact I'm working all these hours, trying to get every client that we possibly can, I was actually making less money than I made when I worked in corporate America. And I reached this point now where I was like, I'm done, I'm not doing this anymore. And I got to work on this Monday morning. And I was just completely devastated. I felt like a failure. You know, obviously, this isn't the industry for me. And I said, You know what, I'm gonna fire all my clients today. I'm gonna fire all my clients. And I'm gonna give myself six months to rebuild this thing in a way that I'm proud of where I'm making more money than I made in corporate America where I'm serving clients that I love. And when I have a firm that actually works for me, not the other way around, gave myself six months, or I was going back to work for somebody else. And so I did like, I fired all my clients that day. And I rebuilt it from the ground up. And because I rebuilt it with intention, I spoiler alert, I made it right over the six months, I'm here. Oh, here we are, right. But when I was going through that rebuilding process, Mel, I said, You know what I'm gonna go, I'm gonna hire a coach, somebody that can show me the right way to do this thing, or I'm going to take a course. And I had, you know, luckily, I was in a position in life where I had some money that I could throw at it. And I couldn't find anybody at any price. There was nobody that was showing me Oh, how can you build advisory services the right way, there were a lot of kind of the old school CPA firm, folks, you know that. But again, that most of them were just showing you how to maximize the dollars for hours. And I said, That's not for me. And I said, you know, if I ever get to the point where I've like, figured it out, I'm gonna be that person that speaks to those that are coming behind me, that person that's willing to pour out and show others how I've done this. And so like I mentioned earlier, about 18 or 20 months ago, now I started that program called the CFO accelerator. And we've been blessed to serve, you know, a couple of 100 firm owners at this point have gone through the program. But people keep asking for something through COVID. And people like what are you going to have a what is there gonna be a conference for CFOs. And only now we're not doing a conference, we're not doing a conference. All right, well, so we finally decided, let's let's get an event together in person, where we can bring virtual and fractional CFOs and accountants that want to offer advisory services from around the world, get them into a room for three days, and just pour into them just literally leaving nothing behind, like what can what can we do in three days to just completely transform their services and their businesses and maximize the impact that they're having on their clients? Yeah, how can we do that? And so, you know, we figured that out, and that's what we're going to do may 16 through 18th Right here in Dallas, Texas. We are having to the best of my knowledge, the literal first ever are in person conference for virtual and fractional CFOs. And in the share of seven frameworks, seven frameworks that we that we use, I've never shared before, this is all brand new material, that's going to help with some of those things I talked about earlier, it's going to help with those CFO technical skills, it's gonna help with the leadership skills, and it's going to help with the firm building skills, right, so you're gonna leave this event with the playbook, you're gonna leave with your growth plan, to make those things true for you, you're gonna make more money than you would make in corporate America, you're going to have clients that you love, and you're gonna have a firm that works for you. And I, if you can't tell, I'm pretty giddy about it, it's gonna be awesome. I'm excited.

Mel Abraham  45:42  
So for those of you just to know, I'm actually going to be speaking there. So that's actually how Mike and I met, he had heard my name from a few people and, and reached out and we ended up connecting and, and so I'm going to be there speaking also about my journey. That was, as a forward looking financial professional and helping people do that we'll talk about my, my view of Pricing and Value and creating value at a level that that you start to eliminate the price question, because the value so good, and the way you present itself is going to be fine, it's going to be exciting. Three days to elevate your business three days to add an arm to your business three days to see a different perspective to your business. In in Dallas in in a couple months. So what were the dates again? And how can they get information on it?

Michael King  46:47  
Sure, the dates are may 16 through 18th. We're gonna be in downtown Dallas at the Hyatt Regency. So it's a little bougie you're gonna love it. We're doing it right. Now I like to tell people, This isn't going to be your like traditional accounting conference where you're like worried about getting CPE and your free drink ticket, this is going to be an experience. If you know Mel, you know, I'm very similar with Mel and how I show up and I teach so it's May 16 through 18th in Dallas. And if you'd like to know more, you can go to the CFO accelerator. the CFO accelerator, we'll put those in the in the show notes in the description right now.

Mel Abraham  47:26  
Yeah, absolutely, we'll make sure that.

Michael King  47:29  
Let's do, let's do $50 off for your listeners, if your listeners calm, I would love to extend them a gift so that they have more incentive to come and see you talk. So at checkout, if you use promo code, Mel me l will give you $50 off your ticket.

Mel Abraham  47:47  
That would be awesome. Thank you, thank you. And those of you that that are kind of let me know your comment, post it, let us know. And make sure that we get a chance I'm gonna go there. I'm not I'm not one of those guys, that's going to just fly in speak and get the heck out. I'm gonna be I'm gonna be hanging out for a bit. So. So it'll be a good time, we'll make a difference. We'll give you perspective and have some fun. So anything else, as we start to close this out that that we want them to know about you about this journey about them what they should be thinking about next?

Michael King  48:25  
Yeah, I'll just say this, whether whether you're in this industry, the CFO industry, if you're entrepreneur, my challenge to you is the journey to mastery has a lot of steps along the way. And I would just challenge you to get the coaching and the guidance that you need. You know, coaching and courses can be such an amazing thing. Look for those that kind of have that proven track record of helping you to on that journey towards mastery. Look for those folks that have the heart of the teacher. Because again, if you will, if impact is important to you, and and my guess is if you're listening to this show, impact is like everything to you find those folks that can help you on that journey so that you can maximize your impact.

Mel Abraham  49:13  
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. I want to just one more thing that I failed to say that I think is really important. At the time that we're we're recording this. We are in the midst of some uncertainty about our economic future, our financial future. I don't think that it shouldn't be fear based. But the fact is, is that look, we're coming out of inflation. It's slowly coming down. We've got interest rates are going up, we've got layoffs that are going in. So this is the time that I think all of the entrepreneurs, all coaches, mentors, consultants, this isn't the time to lean it. Because people need their help. They need your help. They need your perspective. This is the time to up your game, to build your game, because there's opportunity here not to take advantage, but opportunity to serve and the byproduct of that service becomes a benefit to you. So, with that, as I always, always say first off, Mike, thank you for being here. I can't wait to see you in May my friend and we're gonna have a lot of fun. And for the rest of you that are watching or listening, as I always, always say, to always strive to live a life that outlives you see in the next episode, cheers. Thank you for listening to the affluent entrepreneur show with me your host Mel Abraham, if you want to achieve financial liberation to create an affluent lifestyle, join me in the affluent entrepreneur Facebook group now by going to, and I'll see you there.

About Michael
Understanding the value in your numbers
When is the best time to bring on a CFO?
Discussion about having a CPA or advisor
The journey to becoming a fractional CFO
Highlighting the key element of Micaheal's work
The CFO Accelerator Program
Join the CFO Conference in Dallas, TX, May 16-18, 2023
Use this promo code to get $50 off