Facing a business transformation, in between permanent CFOs, getting ready for a sale, restructuring or needing a specific skillset. There are many times when your business could benefit from employing an Interim CFO to take charge of the financial, commercial and strategic reins.
An Interim CFO is an experienced financial, often executive, leader who will come into your business during a critical period of time to take charge of a particular project or to see your business through a phase of development.
For many organisations, hiring an Interim CFO proves to be hugely successful. Here’s why.
Interim CFOs have a broad, and often deep, range of experience gained from working in a wide range of industries. They’ve worked for businesses under different ownership models, transitional periods or companies going through the varying parts of the business cycle.
The breadth of experience an Interim CFO brings means they’ll hit the ground running so you’ll see benefits quickly. Onboarding is often faster than at other levels of recruitment, and you can rely on your interim CFO to support you almost immediately.
Many organisations bring in an Interim CFO to oversee a specific project, such as a merger or preparing for an IPO. There is a lot to consider, plan for, and much at stake with processes such as these so it’s imperative they are guided by a professional with the right expertise. Businesses may not have this expertise in house, so getting someone on board for this process makes sound business sense.
Regardless of the task at hand, you can expect your business to benefit from the skills and experience they bring on an ongoing basis. The measures, systems implemented, or changes introduced will continue to add value, long after the Interim CFO has left.
Employing an Interim CFO gives you access to the skills and experience they have, without the commitment of taking on a permanent employee.
At first glance, the cost of hiring an interim employee can look high. But keep in mind that the cost is temporary and they won’t have benefits such as bonuses or share options that form part of the package a permanent employee will have. Their commercial, strategic or governance skills will often mean you can recoup this cost quickly.
A seasoned leader will bring new ideas to the table or add a new perspective on an old challenge. This can really give your business the boost it needs to solve a problem or move on from an issue that is keeping you stuck. Often bringing in an Interim CFO who has particular industry experience will bring insights into how others operate in similar sectors. You can essentially buy in some trade knowledge (legally of course!!)
Wise option for start-ups
The needs of a start-up are quite different from those of an established organisations. Most start-ups will not need a full-time finance leader but your business will gain enormous benefit from being able to tap into the expertise of an experienced person.
Relatively new businesses who are growing will, at some point, need to hire their first CFO, and do so by testing the water with an Interim CFO. We refer to these as “Establishment CFO” positions.
Develop your team
An additional bonus is that your team will benefit from having a skilled professional come in, even if it’s only for a few months.
Employees may gain new skills from new systems and processes, while also gaining knowledge from being in a team led by an experienced CFO.
Without the need to go through a formal recruitment process, it will be quicker to find a talented CFO who can step in almost immediately. Speedy access to qualified support is a definite bonus, meaning your time is freed up to focus on other business.
Or if you’re recruiting for an interim to fill the gap while a permanent replacement is being sought, this option takes the pressure off finding someone. You’ll have more time to find the right permanent CFO.
Furthermore, if you are going through a period of growth or transition, the type of CFO you need there and then may differ from skills you need over the longer term.
More time to focus on the business
Safe in the knowledge that the finances are being well managed, having an Interim CFO frees up time for leaders to focus on other parts of the company and future growth.
Before you start…
If you think employing the services of an Interim CFO is a possible solution for your business, first think about what your objectives are and set a mandate for your Interim CFO. Be clear on the tasks, project or objectives the organisation needs to achieve, and allow this to help build the scope of work for the CFO. This will inform you of the skill set and type of person that will be best for the job at hand.
Hunter Campbell can consult with you on the business needs, assist in scoping the role and design the recruitment process to make sure you find the right person for your business that will set you up for future success and growth.