Is a Part Time CFO always the Right Option?
It’s easy for large companies which can afford a CFO. It’s not so easy for other businesses which also need certainty about cash flow and financial management.
In theory, it is easy: outsource your finance function, or hire a part time CFO. In practice, finding a solution is not straightforward.
There are choices to be made, and when we started with our blank sheet of paper we examined all of them. See if your conclusions match ours:
- The Do Nothing Option: the easiest and most dangerous solution. Rarely the right thing to do.
- The Training Option: if only my current person/people could do more, or do things better. Training works, and improves things, but it rarely really changes things enough to make a real difference to the business. A soft solution in a hard world.
- The Recruitment Option: get a Finance Manager, or a credit control person or…Certainly, if current staff are not good enough, then changes need to be made, but often accounts people are a little sheep-like, and they need to be led. No leadership, no change.
- The Outsourcing Option: heaven! Get rid of the problems completely, and let someone else deal with them, except you wouldn’t do that with core parts of your business. The fact is that outsourced accounting companies demand that you deliver perfect data to them, and costs spiral out of control if you provide anything less.
- The Full Time Finance Director/CFO: OK, you can’t afford the world’s best, but someone young…or old? The first and last question is: can you absolutely trust them with something so crucial to your business survival and success?
- The Project FD: there’s a problem, a bulge, and an interim FD could be the solution – and they could be, but they don’t know your business, take time to catch up, and they can’t care, really care – they won’t be involved long enough. It’s a job, a money earner for them, nothing more.
The truth is that each of those options has merit in certain circumstances for certain companies.
But our conclusion was that for most companies in most circumstances the Part Time CFO solution was the best one.
We also decided that we would not try and offer a Jack-of-all-Trades service, but just be the masters of one – offering director level solutions only.
Our view is that it is the job of the CFO – and MD – to appoint lower level staff, and as that was not our area of expertise we would be doing a disservice to our clients to “dabble”.
The choice for us was simple: provide Part Time CFOs that best matched the particular needs of particular companies: owner-managed companies with a turnover typically between £1.5 and £15 million.
That’s what we do, and that’s what we do best.
And that’s what we would like to do for your business. Do contact us for an exploratory chat.