Question: What should I look for in a part-time CFO?
Financial Modeling Experience
"The CFO should have strong financial modeling skills that improve forecasting of the business, which greatly assists the CEO in planning capital allocation. In addition, the CFO should help create a data-driven culture so that strategic decisions can be more informed by sound data analysis."
The Ability To Be a Partner
"Being great at financials/taxes/etc. is just the point of entry for a great part-time CFO. The right candidate needs to have the personality and expertise that lends to being a sounding board, advisor and partner; not just a CFO who answers your questions about money. Our CFO, Adam Falk, has advised us on everything from when to hire to how to negotiate discounts."
An Eye for Every Detail
"When hiring a part-time CFO I was looking for someone very detail-oriented, who could look at the bigger picture for our company and finances and point things out to me that others I interviewed did not. When a woman I was interviewing showed up with loads of advice and ideas, I knew I had found the person I was searching for. She has been an integral part of my success."
Experience with GAAP
"Your CFO should be able to set-up all of your financial reports and controls using Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP). GAAP is the common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures that companies use to compile their financial statements. Adhering to GAAP will be necessary should you ever want to raise capital, sell your business or take your company public."
A Forward-Thinking Mentality
"If you are looking for a part-time CFO, you need someone who — besides organizing your finances — can help you build a financial structure that allows you to grow and move from a startup to a more established company."
Ability to Offer Financial Analysis
"A primary role of a CFO is to offer financial analysis versus financial reporting. The difference here is key. Financial reporting simply tells you how your business performed during any period of time, but offers little insight into the future, which is where your CFO comes in. Financial analysis offers insights into how you are likely to perform in the future."
Leadership and People Management Skills
"Even at the part-time level, your CFO will be leading others and managing teams -- probably HR at first, finance later. They'll also be managing your C-team, in a sense, because they'll be guiding the discussion on how much money to spend and where. For the health of your business, choose someone who knows how to win others and inspire them to work toward shared goals."
"Since your CFO will not be in your office at all times, you need to make sure that you find a part-time CFO who is proactive and driven to get their work done and be great in their position. Just because they are not full-time doesn't mean they don't have to complete all the tasks at hand that any other CFO would handle. Look for individuals who commonly go above and beyond!"
Boldness to Put on the Brakes
"Many entrepreneurs are hard-charging and vigorously pursuing their passion. Just like your car has a gas pedal and brakes, the CEO is often pushing for the gas to accelerate; it's the CFO who needs to be the one reaching for the brakes to grow at a slow, more tempered pace. Both roles are vital in avoiding an accident, so look for a CFO who has the boldness to confront you."