The search for Accounting and Finance talent is tough and getting tougher. Therefore, I thought I’d share a strategy that many of our clients are effectively utilizing to counter this tough market – the part-time / “been there done that” CFO.
The economy is terrific. One might think that growth would be easy. Unfortunately, we talk to business leader after business leader frustrated by this market. The opportunity for growth is there, but the talent is not! Perhaps more frustrating is that many new hires don’t have the work ethic needed to maximize the advantages of today’s strong economy.
The fractional CFO offers a potential solution to this problem. There are two primary ways that our clients are utilizing these part-time CFOs: 1) on a project basis, and 2) to augment current teams.
In terms of projects, fractional CFOs are an excellent resource. Savvy companies are using fractional CFOs to plug in to long-term and short-term projects – conversions, due-diligence, acquisitions, process improvement, valuation, dashboarding, etc. Often, it is possible to find CFOs who have handled a client’s specific issue numerous times in their career – leading to a resource that can walk through the door with a proven toolbox of solutions.
The other use of the part-time CFO was rare a few years ago, but lately we have seen more and more companies using the fractional CFO to augment a current Accounting / Finance department. These CFOs join the team, sharing their expertise and assisting with day-to-day processes. The understanding that the CFO brings to the table allows for increased efficiencies and mentoring. We’ve seen huge impacts in productivity through this utilization of talent.
For an amount less than the annual payroll cost of a Senior Accountant, many of our clients are hiring these part-time CFO talents to help solve today’s accounting and finance challenges. Certainly, the hourly rate is higher than a Senior Accountant, but used twice a week at 8-hour increments, the annual cost is very similar.
Something to watch out for:
I always remind business leaders that want to use a part-time CFO to note that clarity on the front end of this arrangement is key. Part-time CFOs are hourly employees. That means that the responsibility of management is, at the end of the day, on the hiring manager / owner. Understanding this will make you and the part-time CFO much happier before, during and after the engagement.
The part-time CFO is a great way to bring talent to your team in a way that requires minimal training and maximum results. I hope you are able to utilize this excellent resource in today’s difficult hiring market.