A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a senior level finance professional who is responsible for your company’s complete financial operations. Their duties include preparing financial statements, developing business strategy and measures, monitoring cash flow and expenses, and providing professional financial advice.
Hiring a full-time CFO can cost anywhere between 100K to 300K annually. This may be costly for many growing companies to take on. However, there is still a need for a CFO’s expertise in guiding financial business decisions and developing the company’s financial structure. CFOs can give companies more freedom to focus on their day to day, while they focus on the company's financial growth and goals.
As you research options for CFO services there is a difference between a part-time (fractional) and interim (temporary) CFO, though the terms are often used interchangeably. Part-time and interim CFO services are outsourced, which means contracted services are hired from outside the business for financial decisions. Both of these options may be utilized virtually as opposed to having to visit a traditional brick and mortar.
Being able to outsource , as well as utilize the virtual option, smaller companies are able to hire from a larger pool of potential CFOs who may have experience in their specific industry.
Let’s examine the part-time and interim options a bit closer.
What defines a part-time CFO?
The part-time CFO has full-time experience as a CFO, but now works on a project basis and receives compensation hourly or through a contract. They work with one or more small companies that are not large enough to support a full-time CFO.
When do you need a part-time CFO?
You might need the part-time services of a CFO if:
- You want to develop short and long-term financial plans, as well as, risk-management strategies to push your business forward.
- The company is experiencing growth, but needs to raise capital to expand. A CFO can interpret financial reports, and offer guidance on which course of action to take. You need a financial expert to oversee your bookkeepers and accountants as well as help develop policies, procedures and practices geared toward growth.
- A complete financial picture would help guide your decisions, risk-taking and budgets.
- You need a sounding board before making large capital purchases.
- You want the comfort of knowing an expert is keeping an eye on the company’s financial picture and will communicate issues before they become problems.
What defines an interim CFO?
An interim CFO is an experienced CFO who is hired for a short, specified period of time - usually under six months. They are typically sought after when a company has some type of problem and needs temporary assistance.
When do you need an interim CFO?
- Interim CFOs are used to fill gaps left by the departure of the full-time CFO until a permanent replacement can be hired.
- If a company is going through an issue that needs expert financial guidance such as a merger or acquisition, bankruptcy, major operational change or a financial difficulty. Having someone in the CFO role can help smooth and guide the process.
What should I look for in a candidate for any outsourced CFO services?
While your needs and financial goals will help shape your search for CFO services, basic qualifications should include:
- A Bachelor’s degree in finance, operations, research, statistics, math, economics, or related analytical discipline preferred
- Master’s degree in accounting or business administration, or equivalent business experience
- Prior experience as a CFO, preferably in your company’s size range and industry
- 10+ years of experience
- Ability to see the big picture
- Excellent spoken and written communication
H2: Ascension CPA can provide the help you need
Ascension has the qualified candidates you need for your company’s CFO services! They bring decades of experience to help your business succeed. Their goal is to give business owners the opportunity to focus on their passion, and not their finances.