Is It Time for a Full-Time CFO?

11/11/2016 - By Jayme Gabes

Personnel and staffing issues often weigh heavily on a business owner's mind. It's important, of course, to have the right people in the right jobs, but executive hiring decisions aren't always easy. 

One of the crucial C-level players is the CFO. This individual's skills go far beyond those of a controller or senior accountant: The CFO should be an experienced, forward-looking executive with strategic business skills.

Although you should discuss the timing with your accountant, you may benefit from hiring a full-time CFO if:

  • Your business is growing exponentially and your reporting needs are getting more sophisticated.
  • Your accounting staff lacks the day-to-day expertise and oversight needed to effectively run your business.
  • You are underutilizing technology. For example, your systems aren’t integrated and you can’t access the financial information you need. 
  • Your strategic plan involves acquiring or divesting of business lines within three years, or obtaining external financing sources that may require tracking loan covenants, benchmarking or more sophisticated analytics. 

Because your CPA knows your company, he or she can be an excellent resource, helping you craft a job description and possibly helping vet CFO candidates. 

Of course, finding the right CFO takes time. Until that person comes along, you might consider outsourcing. An outsourced CFO provides the strategic input and oversight of an in-house CFO, but can be hired on a project basis or for a certain number of hours per month. 

This type of arrangement can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example, if you need help with outside financing, you can find a CFO-for-hire with those specific skills. Sometimes, these “no strings” relationships allow for a level of honesty and frankness that aren’t as easy or forthright with a new full-time employee.  

 

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