Road Map of a Start-Up and the Entrepreneur


A start-up venture is not just about product development, marketing and sales. It is a constant search for a business model that ultimately will result in a great product market fit.

During the course of this endeavor, the financial needs of both the entrepreneur and the business can be complex. The financial needs of the entrepreneur and the business model run on two parallel paths and can change substantially over the life cycle of the venture.

To complicate things further, few founders have an interest in dealing with financial matters. In addition, most do not have a budget for financial advice nor do they have a Chief Financial Officer as part of the founding team. There are some founders who are “Do It Yourself” CFO’s. Although they are very bright, motivated and tend to focus on addressing the information and accountability needs of the venture and possibly its investors - it is less likely that they have the depth and breadth or specialized expertise needed to deal with a fast growing global business and/or interstate matters.

Just as technology, such as open source software and cloud computing, are enabling entrepreneurs to develop their products in a cost effective manner with just the right amount of computing power to meet the needs of a scaling business, the start-up and the entrepreneur also require a similar scaling of CFO services in order to develop and thrive. Such “scaling CFO services” should include the multiple and complex planning issues which arise for both the start-up and the entrepreneur over the life cycle of the venture. Initially, it should also include execution or implementation of some of the more immediate financial, accounting and tax needs of the venture.

Some CPA firms that are small enough to focus on small or mid-size clients but are also large enough to have centers of competency in specialty areas often have a business model that can accommodate itself to playing the role of a “scaling CFO”.

Below is an illustration of some of the financial issues – both immediate and longer term - that must be addressed for both the entrepreneur and the business over the life cycle of the


1. Intro to the Road Map

2. Early-Stage Decisions

a. Business Agreements

b. Individual Financial Matters

c. Entity Type & Jurisdiction

d. Managing IP and Operations

3. Mid-Stage Decisions

Strategic Initiatives For Both the Start-Up and Entrepreneur

4. Late-Stage Decisions

Exit Strategy and Wealth Management for Owners


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jeanne Goulet, Marks Paneth & Shron LLP Certified Public Accountants & Consultants | Attorney Advertising

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Marks Paneth & Shron LLP Certified Public Accountants & Consultants on:

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