A Fractional CFO may be part-time, but the impact they will have on your business and its bottom line warrants taking your time in hiring one. CFOs provide a seasoned perspective and diverse skillset to the table that allows you to effectively scale the business while you focus on what you’re good at – driving value for your customers or clients.
You will likely be looking at several candidates, and you should! Even if you’re only looking for a handful of hours a week in CFO services, the guidance you take from them will shape and reshape your business.
An early-stage, venture-backed startup company InfoScout (now Numerator) brought on a Greenough Group CFO consultant to mentor their Finance Manager and advise on financial best practices. Six months later, the company doubled in size and the Finance Manager was promoted to Director of Finance.
That result could not have happened if the CFO did not have the right experience of communication style to suit that particular situation. There are plenty of CFOs-for-hire out there – Here are the questions to ask to make sure you onboard the right one.
Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Part-Time CFO Consultant
Just like with any job interview, you want to make sure that you ask thoughtful questions to ensure the professional you ultimately bring on board has the right blend of experience, strategic insight and culture fit.
To ensure the candidate has the financial strengths to drive success for your business, here are the important questions that should be at the core of your interview:
1. Ensure they have experience working in your industry and know it inside and out
Read their rap sheet and included materials carefully; do they have a breadth of experience working in your industry and with companies your size? Have they helped companies your size thrive and grow? By asking them what the 3 biggest accomplishments are from their career, they should provide you with relevant examples of how they helped
Finding someone who has extensive experience in your industry but has also worked across several others is definitely a boon. They will be able to provide unique perspectives to your operational problems that someone with a narrower focus might not.
2. Ask various situational questions that help establish how they would tackle your various needs
Ask them to describe their experience with strategy development in their various roles, and how they helped implement those strategies to drive measurable success. You are looking to see that they have clear examples of the tangible value their actions drove.
Another valuable question is to ask how they would pitch your company in a sales meeting so you can ensure they understand how your business is positioned, inside and out.
3. Ask where they see gaps in your organization’s structure and strategic planning
Ask them what they already know about your company’s financial success, initiatives, and business strategy. Ask them what the biggest opportunity is that they see to help drive the most value for your company. You should be looking for an answer that shows they have independently identified gaps that you’re aware of – and hopefully ones you haven’t.
Another way to ask this question is to ask them what is the one thing they would change about your company today if they could.
4. Check that they have experience with the services you need
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that their experience and strengths line up with your needs. You should be looking for answers to your experiential questions that align with any of the following services your business can benefit most from.
Financial Planning and Forecasting
CFO provides direction and oversight for the financial and accounting functions of your business, as well as dynamic financial forecasting – a 12-month plan with flexible goals that projects your cash requirements and needs so you can intelligently control expenses. A CFO can also help you develop your internal financial processes including accounting controls as well as checks & balances.
Designing and Implementing Accounting and Reporting Systems
Along with your quarterly and end-of-year reporting, a CFO will help you implement robust accounting and reporting systems that help you and your stakeholders easily interpret data to make smarter decisions and scale your business.
Cash Flow Management
Develop cash flow statements that incorporate net income, long term assets, stockholder equity, and liabilities. Through regular evaluation of cash flow, they also help incorporate cash improvement programs.
Puts together presentations and attends business meetings to aid in the acquisition of more funds from investors and lenders.
As you expand into international markets, a CFO will help you with strategic planning and aid with subsidiary set-up, tax strategy, multi-national registration and foreign exchange management.
5. Ask for references or case studies from previous clients in your industry
At the end of the day, the proof should always be in the pudding. The professional or representing outsourced CFO services firm should have plenty of references and relevant case studies that will help you make your decision.
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Any search for a Fractional CFO should include multiple candidates – and we highly encourage you to consult with GCG as part of that process.
Our CFO leadership team has extensive knowledge of the financial considerations of several industries and has provided value to early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. Our consultants and Virtual CFOs have the ability to implement all the systems and procedures you need for a solid financial future so you can concentrate on growing your business.
We have the ability to implement all the systems and procedures you need for a solid financial future, and provide a cost-effective way for businesses to grow.