Running a business in Siouxland is not for the faint of heart, or for those who despise financial analytics. Whether a company has two employees or 40, business owners often have to grapple with historical data, current performance, and forecasts; a tough job in and of itself when you aren't also wearing at least five other executive hats.
It can be tricky to know when you can handle the role as an executive finance officer on top of your other duties and when your company is best served by hiring a part-time CFO. If you are contemplating the decision, consider these three questions.
1. Do you know what a part-time CFO does?
If the title of Chief Financial Officer sounds important, it's because it is. Finance executives are uniquely equipped to go beyond financial reports and create an organizational plan that translates data into decisions, employee involvement, opportunities, and initiatives. Conversely, a CFO also helps predict and brace against situations that may negatively affect the bottomline. Whether or not you need to hire an interim CFO will largely depend on the scope and size of your business and your own ability to interpret your financial reports. You may find it more useful to hire a controller or a really strong accountant in the meantime.
2. How well can you predict the future in your financial forecasting?
If finances are your strong suit, chances are, you can hold off on the decision to hire a part-time CFO--for now. The key is being able to naturally thrive on budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning for your business, and to be able to use the data you are collecting to understand potential risks, rewards, opportunities, and challenges. The better you are in your role as CFO, the better you business is equipped. Alternatively, should you get to the point when you are spread too thin to encompass all that a CFO does, at least you will be well positioned to hire an interim CFO who can step in without missing a beat.
3. Can you afford NOT to hire one?There are some critical milestones when hiring an interim CFO or a part-time CFO is not only a good idea, but a wise investment. A CFO is trained to identify your most valuable resources and assets, where you should place your biggest bets, and how to handle your most significant investments. This is especially true in the following situations.
- When you are contemplating selling your business
- When you are considering expanding your business
- When you are considering a new direction for your business
- When numbers aren't budging despite your best efforts
If any of these situations are coming up on your horizon, it may be a good idea to hire a CFO sooner than later; the longer you wait, the harder the job becomes--and the fewer ways you can benefit--once he or she is on board.
For most companies in Siouxland, hiring a part-time CFO or interim financial executive isn't a question of if, but when. It's an important question, and one we are happy to help answer.