5 Tips for Hiring A Fractional CFO

The Fractional CFO space is growing as more companies realize the value an experienced CFO can bring to their bottom line. One of the biggest challenges for the CEO/Business Owner is that in most cases they have never had a CFO working in their business and they are not exactly sure what to be looking for when they engage with a Fractional CFO firm. Here are five important tips to consider when you are looking to hire a Fractional CFO:

  1. Previous CFO experience matters: At the end of the day, you are looking for someone to bring experience and expertise to the table. Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a CFO. There is no test to take or other qualification process to earn the title. Do your research through LinkedIn and previous company websites to review past CFO experience.
  2. Industry expertise makes a big difference: I am confident that a qualified CFO can help any business, but imagine if a CFO can walk in already knowing your customers, vendors, software and quirks about your industry. The ability to bring someone in and have them hit the ground running is a big advantage to your company.
  3. Make sure CFO “style” fits your needs: If your biggest need is closing the books on a monthly basis, don’t hire a “visionary” forward looking CFO. If you need help with your forward looking growth plans, don’t hire a CFO whose expertise is “looking backwards” and closing the books.
  4. Match your expectations with your budget: Do you need someone two days a week, two hours a month or something in between? A Fractional CFO working 2 hours a month may be a good sounding board but won’t be able to move mountains. If you’re looking for major change management within your company, you need to be realistic about your needs and budget to have a CFO working on your behalf more often.
  5. Think long term relationship: Many of our engagements last for years and you should be looking for someone who is around for the long-haul vs. just looking for projects while seeking full-time employment. Does your personality mesh with theirs? You could be working with this person for years to come.

Every company and situation is different. While there is no perfect way to evaluate potential candidates, keeping the above points in mind will increase the success of your engagement and help you hire the right fractional CFO for your company.