Toptal Finance Blog

The Toptal Finance Blog is a hub for in-depth studies and analysis on all facets of finance, ranging from innovative strategies on raising capital to detailed coverage of new finance trends and technologies.
Scott Hoover
Good-Bye, Overdue Receivables

Overdue receivables are one of the most common and serious frustrations entrepreneurs face. The hidden costs can be staggering, from lost time dealing with the problem to the cost of hiring dedicated experts, to the serious and long term damage to a business’ reputation with its clients.

In this practical and comprehensive guide, Toptal Finance Expert Scott Hoover shows that overdue receivables are actually easily avoidable. Scott outlines six steps all businesses should take, which will make a material difference to accounts receivable and tackle any issues up-front.

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Natasha Ketabchi
How to Craft a Successful Go to Market Strategy

As a venture investor, Natasha Ketabchi spends most of her day evaluating tech startups as potential investments. In early-stage investments, Natasha finds that the three things that matter most are team, product, and sales and marketing approach—including their go to market strategy. In this article, Natasha lifts the veil on what venture investors look for in a solid GTM plan.

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Scott Hoover
The Street Guide on How to Hire a Part-time CFO

When does it make sense for a business to consider hiring a part-time CFO? Are there situations in which it doesn’t make sense at all? What attributes and criteria should businesses use to filter and select candidates? This article by Toptal Finance Expert Scott Hoover looks at answers to all three questions, and is intended to be a practical guide based on nearly a decade of experience as a freelance CFO for privately held companies.

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Dalibor Pajic
Pricing Strategies for Success: A Practical Guide

Pricing strategy is one of the most important functions that any business engages in. Prices are a foundational element of a company’s revenues—If managed carefully, they can generate high profits and consequently cash. But setting prices appropriately is tricky, and when mistakes are made, companies suffer.

In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Dalibor Pajic draws on his 15+ year career in corporate finance to outline seven practical examples of when pricing strategy plays a crucial role, with the aim of illustrating how pricing decisions can be approached in different situations. Pending

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Elizabeth J. Howell Hanano, CFA
How to Get Consulting Clients – An Interview with Steve Blank

Consultants often struggle to find new, solid clients. We asked Steve Blank, the founder of the Lean Startup movement (and someone who has helped hundreds of companies get a better product to market faster and worked with dozens of consultants along the way) how consultants can attract clients.

Steve’s advice is a bit counter-intuitive. But it’s something that Toptal’s best consultants have already been doing for years.

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Edwin Petersen
Adapting for Success – A Guide to Change Management

With today’s rapid pace of technological progress, organizational change is perhaps more necessary than it ever has been. But change is hard. Countless studies show that more often than not, corporations fail to implement change successfully, losing money, time, and employee morale in the process.

Based on his 20+ years of international finance experience across a range of industries, and over a decade of experience as a CFO, Toptal Finance Expert Edwin Petersen outlines his thoughts on why change management often fails and how to get it right.

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Scott Hoover
Financial Clarity at Last: How to Reboot Your Chart of Accounts Structure in 7 Steps

It is quite common for financial reports to fall short of executives’ expectations. Accounting teams tend to focus on doing things the “right way” rather than asking readers of the financial statements what they want to see.

In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Scott Hoover runs through an often overlooked way of solving this situation: the chart of accounts. A well-structured chart of accounts is often the single best and most effective way to raise the financial reporting of an organization to the next level.

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Kresimir Profaca
The Rules of Motivation: A Story About Correcting Failed Sales Incentive Schemes

Rewards programs and sales incentive schemes are necessary for any business that operates outbound customer acquisition channels. They encourage certain behavior and that, if poorly constructed, can lead to perverse results and conflicting interests. Creating a holistic plan that stimulates positive company-wide behavior is an art that has huge benefits.

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Sean Heberling, CFA
The Undeniable Importance of a Business Plan

We often hear about business plans in the context of early-stage companies; however, constructing excellent business plans is difficult and time-consuming, so many entrepreneurs avoid them. But, is this a mistake?

While most people may be aware of the “soft” arguments for and against writing a business plan, in this article, a Toptal Finance Expert takes a data-driven approach to addressing the debate. In it, he finds strong evidence to support the notion that writing an excellent business plan is time well spent.

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Carolyn Deng, CFA
AI Investment Primer: Laying the Groundwork (Part I)

Over the last few years, the world has witnessed an explosion of interest surrounding Artificial Intelligence. A concept once confined primarily to the Sci-Fi genre, AI has become part of our everyday lives. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into AI companies, and investors all around the world are keen to put money to work in this space.

Nevertheless, there still exists a significant gap in understanding and knowledge about AI applications, particularly amongst the investor community. This article, the first of a two-part series on the topic, is a collection of thoughts and advice by Toptal Finance Expert Carolyn Deng, based on her experience having founded an AI startup as well as having worked as VC Investor.

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Ellen Su
Exploring Excel's Get & Transform Functionality

Hidden in Excel and Power BI is a powerful data analysis pack named Get and Transform (previously known as Power Query). It is an ETL pack for cleaning and sorting raw data from a range of input sources, such as CSV and text files. This tutorial demonstrates how Get & Transform can help the data analyst both save time and uncover more insight.

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Javier Enrile
Representations and Warranty Insurance: An M&A Tool Every Seller Should Know About

Relatively unknown until recently, representation and warranty insurance is an interesting—and often extremely effective—tool for helping M&A deals cross the finishing line. By shifting the financial risk for breaches of representation and warranties to an insurance firm, these arrangements can enable sellers to receive all the purchase price proceeds at closing as opposed to being exposed to liquidity risk post deal close.

The first of a two-part series, this primer on reps and warranty insurance by M&A expert Javier Enrile is aimed at educating readers on what representation and warranty insurance is and how it works, followed by an overview of the drafting process.

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Erik Warren
How to Build a Budget that Lasts the Full Year

Budgeting can be a drawn-out process, yet oftentimes once the year starts and results diverge, they become forgotten. Instead of budgeting just with qualitative methods, managers should combine them with quantitative tools. Comparing regressed historic trends with future expectations can be more accurate and ultimately ensure the budget survives the year.

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Josh Chapman
Business Plan Consultants: Who They Are And How they Create Value

Due in part to the unceremonial nature of its title, the value-creation potential of business plan consultants is often misunderstood and underappreciated. Questions such as, “What do they do that I can’t?”, “Why do they cost so much?” and, “Don’t you think we can handle this ourselves?”, all too often haunt their practice.

Having prolifically added value to 25+ clients across a range of industries, sizes, and mandates, Toptal Finance Expert, Josh Chapman, sheds light on the full scope of business plan consulting. What it is to be a great business plan consultant, how they create value, and what skills, attributes and experiences constitute the greats vs. the pretenders.

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Emilio Labrador
Working Capital Optimization: Practical Tips from a Pro

A decidedly less sexy, albeit critical, part of a CFO’s job description is working capital management and optimization. There are countless examples of companies that are forced to incur unnecessary debt and other financial obligations to meet their short-term financing needs, when in fact ample cash is sitting idly stuck in working capital.

But working capital optimization is hard to get right and often requires significant cross-functional efforts to execute effectively. In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Emilio Labrador draws on 25 years of professional experience across multiple industries to outline some of his main suggestions and approaches on how to tackle working capital management projects.

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