Serving Leaders Like You

You may be a visionary, a strategist, or a master technician.  You have vision and skill but need someone with high-level financial management skills to turn your ideas into business success. 

I’m Rob Stephens, Founder of the CFO perspective. CFO Perspective helps small business owners manage their business finances to achieve their personal goals. Most of my career has been serving leaders like you as a CFO or SVP of Finance for small and medium-sized businesses.

Below is more about me and the experience I bring to support you.

My Story

My grandpa was a small business owner.

My dad was a small business owner.

I rebelled and became a CPA.

Rob Stephens laughing

Over the years I’ve served in executive financial positions for companies with 30 employees to hundreds of employees.  I’ve served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of two community banks and a community health center system.  I was the Director of Operations for a $4 billion bank and Senior Vice President of Finance for a $2 billion credit union.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Rob for the past several years and I can say he brings a unique and highly desirable skill set to assist any business owner in making that business operate more efficiently and more profitably. He has the ability to assess a situation, get to the core issue or issues, come up with the best solution, and explain it in way that lets you know he considered multiple scenarios and still make the solution understandable and feasible. He is passionate about helping business owners succeed, is intelligent and knowledgeable, and is a great communicator, facilitator, and teacher. And he does all this in a fun and approachable manner. I would highly recommend him as part of my tool box in managing and operating a business.”

-Greg Hansen, SVP Business Services and Retail Lending, Numerica Credit Union

Rob’s Degree’s and Certificates
– CPA – Washington State
– Bachelors of Business Administration – University of Washington
– Masters of Personal Financial Planning – Kansas State University
– Graduate Certificate of Financial Therapy – Kansas State University
– Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt

I later received a master’s degree in financial planning and served as the Program Manager for a group of investment advisors with $170 million of assets under management.  I also rounded this out by building skills in Financial Therapy, which helps people think, feel, and behave differently with money to improve their well-being.

“Rob has the very rare combination of being “good with numbers” AND “good with people”. This shows in his ability to help those he serves reach their financial goals while addressing and resolving the emotional and relational issues that are inevitably intertwined.

– Jason Swain, Founder and President, Symbio

CFO Perspective is for small business owners like you who want additional insights into how to better run their business and have their business support their goals of profit and purpose.  Many owners with great ideas struggle without the clarity and vision an experienced CFO can provide.

Let me take the insights I’ve learned about banking, business strategy, and personal finance to help you make better decisions for your business.  Financial decisions are deeply influenced by our beliefs about money and how we’ve defined the purpose of our life and our business.  Business is about relationships. Relationships with business partners and life partners can make or break our business strategy.  I can help you improve communication about finances to achieve your shared goals.

Best business advice I’ve received:

It’s always about relationships.

Peg Hopkins, Former Executive Director of Community Health Association of Spokane.  One of my bosses and mentors along the way.

The resources on this site and the services I provide are my dream job of serving small business owners like you and helping you fulfill your dreams.  Thank you for visiting this site and I hope you find great value here.  Check out my Testimonials Page to see what others have said about me. It’s my honor to help you reach your goals.  It’s truly one of the most fulfilling things for me.  Go to the ACE page to see how I can help you.  

For Those Who Want to Know More about me Personally

I live in Spokane, Washington with my wife of 25 years.  We have two girls.  Here’s the most recent picture of all of us together.

I was born and raised in Spokane, Washington.  In 9th grade, I began to become deeply involved in the Christian faith.  I began college to enter the ministry but later decided my skills and interests better fit business as a career.  During college, I worked as the bookkeeper for the Seattle office of the March of Dimes and for an arts company that produces Bumbershoot, a massive arts festival in Seattle.

After graduating from the University of Washington I started with the “big four” accounting firm of Ernst & Young in Seattle.  My wife and I decided to move back to Spokane.

Most of my career has been working for financial institutions.  My specialty is cash flow management, profitability analysis, capital management, and forecasting.  I was on committees that made loans and on committees that tried to find the best solution for everyone when the borrower couldn’t pay.  A collections department reported to me.  These experiences taught me what smart business owners did to thrive and how others got into financial trouble.

I’ve been part of small companies where one minute I’m doing financial analysis and the next minute I’m shoveling the snow on the front sidewalk.  I know what it feels like to be in a small company where you feel like the jack of trades and master of none. 

My first CFO position was at a health clinic system where I worked with doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and mental health providers.  I’ve also worked for family-owned businesses where I learned how to balance the cash flow needs of the business with the cash flow needs of the owners.

I’ve seen tough times in business, too.  Early in my career, I was a financial analyst at a company that filed bankruptcy.  I was the CFO of a bank during the Great Recession that had some tough losses but survived.  However, during the tough times the Board asked all the executives, including me, and the auditors to leave.  I know what it’s like to have to pick myself up.

In the last six years before starting The CFO Perspective I served as the Senior Vice President of Finance of a credit union with over 140,000 members.  It was after reflecting on many of these experiences and wondering how to serve the members of the credit union better that I decided to pursue a Masters in Financial Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Financial Therapy.  Financial Therapy assesses the emotional, behavioral, relational, and economic aspects of financial health.  It’s a much broader view of a person’s financial wellness.  

Along the way, I’ve had the privilege to serve on the board of directors of some wonderful non-profit agencies.  I’ve been on the board of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Family Promise of Spokane, and Lutheran Community Services Northwest.   

“Rob Stephens gifted the Board of Directors at Lutheran Community Services with his financial wisdom while serving as Chair of the Financial Committee and then as Board President. Rob knew how to translate financial speak to make it relevant to those without professional training in finance and money management. Rob is a man of integrity. Although his board positions were unpaid, he approached his responsibilities with an earnest commitment. Rob shows a genuine interest in the well being of others, has exceptional interpersonal skills, and has shown a passion for helping others by bringing knowledge of money management to those for whom it is a foreign subject. “

Dr. Heavin Maier, Optometric Physician, Eyes For Life

When I’m not working or volunteering, I love to spend time with my family.  My wife and I enjoy wine tasting and have visited many of the wineries in the Northwest.  I used to ride my road bike over 1,000 miles per year but now you’ll find me walking quite a bit.  Often this is on a treadmill while working on my laptop.  I hope this site provides a lot of value to you and the next time you read a blog post you’ll know it might have been written while I was walking on the treadmill.

You can tap into the experience I’ve described above to build your business and reach your goals. Go to my Courses or Consulting pages to see how I can help you. I also have some Free Tools for your business.

As always, God bless and I wish you well.

– Rob