We have a CPA. Why would we need an Interim CFO?
A CPA is intensively trained in accounting and is primarily focused on tax returns and tax-related advice. Your CPA has an ethical obligation to remain independent from key aspects of your business and the running of your business. A CPA also tends to function outside of your organization, so is not necessarily familiar with the inner workings of your business. A CFO is focused on long-range business objectives, and supports the day-to-day operations of the company, including marketing, development, sales, and employee relations among other things. My years of being a full-time CFO inside the company have provided me with vast, hands-on experience in the areas of strategic management, business planning, staff development, cost reduction, and other critical functions. I will not displace your CPA, but work as his/her partner, and facilitate his/her role by providing the information they require in the format they expect.
How does your practice differ from all the other part-time or interim CFOs out there?
Two important ways:
1 – I have over 25 years of combined, in-depth experience providing interim CFO services and as a full-time CFO in both public and private companies. Many contractors who bill themselves out as part-time CFOs have never been an actual CFO in a business environment. They may not even have the education and credentials required to be a CFO. No amount of interim work experience can compare to the skills, judgment, and instincts honed over the years in the trenches as a full-time CFO. Conversely, interim work requires tremendous flexibility, breadth of experience, acute ability to prioritize, and rapid execution, as well as a time-tested formula for servicing companies with interim needs.
2 – My goal is to come in, assess and address your needs, set up the proper processes and business models, train existing staff and assist you in hiring, and then exit your company. In some cases, this can be accomplished in as little as one month. I also provide specific support for finite, one-time projects. My goal is NOT to come onboard and make myself indispensible to your company. That would not be in the best interests of your company nor its finances. If you have had a consultant inhouse for more than a year, you are not getting what your company needs out of the arrangement. No engagement is too small.
What if we can’t afford an Interim CFO at this stage?
Some of the most costly engagements have been in companies that had a “bookkeeper” or friend of the family handling the finance function, until a major event surfaced that needed to be handled by someone with broader experience. In some cases, this event was a crisis. It is far costlier to unwind mistakes and reconfigure a company’s chart of accounts and business processes than to set it up properly in the first place. When a major event such as a financing, sale, or acquisition arises, your company can lose critical time and credibility by not having your financial/corporate governance house in order. But this does not have to be a costly investment. The Interim CFO Services model is project-based, and will provide as little or as much support as you require, and you retain control over your expenses.
An Interim CFO does not need to represent a large expense. Once the general framework has been established (or a major event executed), many companies find that their Interim CFO needs decrease dramatically. For a few hours a week or a month, you may find that your company can benefit from the experience of an interim CFO at roughly the same cost you had paid for a full-time accountant or bookkeeper.
Why would we want to have mission-critical responsibilities held by a long-term contractor?
You don't - ever! But typically, when you engage an outsider to fill a key role in your company, that is exactly what you are doing. The Interim CFO Services model, however, is designed to put processes in place that your existing employees can manage. I will train your employees and exit your company on your timetable. If together we determine that your needs are greater than what your existing employees can manage, I will assist you with assessing job requirements and hiring the right full-time or part-time people to fill the gap.
Do you work onsite or remotely?
Whichever you prefer. I have worked engagements onsite, managing staff and participating as part of the management team; and have worked remotely on project-based engagements. I have done projects for clients I have never met face-to-face! Geographically, my clients have ranged from New York to California. I can service your account onsite throughout the Greater Boston area, Southern New Hampshire, and Cape Cod.