WRITTEN BY HELEN SUSAN EDELMAN
PHOTOS BY SUPER SOURCE MEDIA
It’s 11 a.m. on a cold Wednesday morning and Sabrina Houser is at home in Saratoga Springs with her beloved dog, Pearl. Looked at another way, it’s 11 a.m. on a cold Wednesday morning and Houser is fully immersed in her job as CEO of CapitalCFO LLC, albeit with all the comforts of home in the company of her canine muse. That’s because Houser – who works from home - founded CapitalCFO to help companies and organizations that need remote or on-site professionals to fulfill vacant – but critical – roles in their workplaces.
First and foremost, Houser listens. She makes sure she understands the scope of a client’s “pain points,” the areas in which the lack of staff is slowing down or impeding the stability or growth of a company. It may be that nobody is there to answer the phone when potential clients call, it may be that payroll functions don’t fall into anybody’s job description, it may be that recruitment expertise is nobody’s bailiwick, but one thing is sure: Sabrina Houser has a solution.
“Some of the companies we serve need someone full time, some only need a professional for 20 or seven hours a montah. We can fill those needs on all points on the spectrum,” Houser says. “Some companies need one person who can do a lot of things, some companies need a single person to do a single specific thing. We can help. If a company is running up against a brick wall trying to get something done without someone to do it, I encourage them to outsource the function to us.”
"Businesses often think about outsourcing purely in terms of cost savings, but outsourcing can do more than just lower expenses. As your business grows, outsourcing can be a way to promote innovation, disrupt your industry, and access new skill sets that reposition your company in the market."
- “How to Think Strategically,” Working Knowledge,
Harvard Business School
Prior to her current career, and brushing aside a brief flirtation with the idea of being a lawyer, Houser spent 20 years as the CEO/CFO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, where she served in multiple roles, as many nonprofit leaders must for organizations with limited budgets and seemingly endless demands. So, the versatile Houser knows how to work with smaller companies that can’t afford to hire full-time staff, which incurs the costs of recruiting and onboarding, overhead, office space and equipment, and benefits. Instead, she finds the right person for the right fit for the right amount of time. Some of her professionals will come to an office site, others work from their homes. Houser tailors CapitalCFO contracts to fit the tasks and budgets of clients. It’s a win-win-win for Houser, the client company, and the contractor she places in the position.
“It allows everybody involved to be flexible,” points out the wife of a teacher and mother of two young kids, who can testify personally to the importance of being flexible when there are other people whose priorities require her attention. “Everyone’s needs can be met. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here.”
To pair the appropriate contract employee with the job, Houser and her company’s directors have created a roster of diverse professionals annotated with specifics like whether they’re willing to travel to a job site or prefer to do everything remotely, and whether they’re interested in a long-term assignment or a short-term gig. Houser peruses Indeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and other sources in search of both clients and professionals she might pair. (In addition to the Capital Region, because of her company’s flexibility, she has been able to serve clients in California, Florida, Chicago, and even London, England.)
“My commitment is to hire two new employees per month to keep our company competitive,” says Houser. “We have a phenomenal team.”
"Outsourcing is as old as the corporation. One business arranges with another to make a widget or provide a certain service that it cannot do itself, or does not wish to do, so that it can focus on the parts of the business it does best. Outsourcing is not a tactical option that can help a firm save a few dollars here and there, but a strategic necessity. By outsourcing, firms can achieve more than cost-saving, but also access to better processes or efficiencies, or learning more effective management procedures. By outsourcing, you gain knowledge to superior knowledge and capacity."
- “It’s Time to Talk Sense About Outsourcing,” By Morris Cohen, professor of management and logistics, in Knowledge@Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
"Outsourcing allows you to get more done and trust important tasks and processes to professionals without having to actually grow your team in a significant way, including for accounting, marketing, sales, information technology management, administrative tasks, customer service, manufacturing, shipping and logistics, research, and human resources."
- United States Small Business Association
Despite what Houser calls her “Chicken Little mentality” – always thinking the sky was about to fall - her company has taken off like a comet. “When the pandemic started, I felt validated, like ‘Yup, the world is going to end now’,” she recalls, laughing at herself. “Instead, I stayed inside and wrote my own success story.”
"Part of what the company is doing is listening to the pain points and filling a need. Business owners and employees are looking for what model works best for them when a full-time person is not necessary. For example, who’s going to answer the phone and talk to clients when the business owner is out in the field doing the work? That’s where we come in as a phone concierge, to talk to customers and filter out spam."
- Saratogian Sabrina Houser, founder and president, CapitalCFO
CapitalCFO LLC provides professional:
• CFO services
• Nonprofit consulting
• Virtual phone concierge
• Personal finances consulting
• Payroll management
She adds that since the pandemic started, people have gotten used to working remotely and many now prefer it, which is a plus for her business, “because it allows for more flexibility. Yes, some of our contract employees do travel to an office, but many we meet over Zoom.” Her company even offers online professional development courses created in-house.
“I help people find people. Instead of viewing us as a cost, we are ultimately a savings to a company that doesn’t have to waste time, energy, and resources on the wrong person in a job, or have to say ‘no’ to potential business. I do have – let’s be honest here, always have – some ideas for next steps, a vision of how to help companies outsource their C suites. It’s challenging to network remotely, but we have to develop strategies for that as well and see what other pain points we can help clients with. There’s a lot of juggling to make it all work, but the good news is: It works!”
Reach Sabrina Houser at 518-350-4020.