The CFO'S Perspective

Hiring a CFO – Do You Need the Tortoise or the Hare?

Aesop’s fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare provides a story to show how a race is not always for the swiftest. In the business world, some companies are very focused on short-term financial results while others are managing for the very long-term time horizon. Some companies are working to improve their operations and financial results in order to sell the business in a few years, while others are building a business for the next generation of owners.

When there is a need to hire a new CFO, the question the CEO and the owners should consider asking is: do I need a tortoise or a hare as my next CFO?

Topics: CFO Hiring Leadership CFO Responsibilities

Artificial Intelligence – Bane or Boon to the CFO?

As CFOs, we have a full plate of responsibilities for financial reporting, planning and analysis, and risk management. We’re often skeptical of “breakthroughs” that promise to “transform the finance function” and “shift the paradigm of accounting and finance.” To us, these types of phrases just sound like more of the same – another overhyped management consulting fad based on a Harvard Business Review article. All we hear is just “blah, blah, blah” and we tune it out.

Should we feel that way about the current wave of Artificial Intelligence as well?

The name itself suggests, AI is a technologically derived intelligence. But AI models mostly just repeat what they have been taught. They don’t really “know” things or think like people do. When truly original “thinking” is required – such as creating an original, testable scientific hypothesis – it turns out that current AI models are quite dumb.

Looking at it through this lens, is AI a bane or boon to today’s CFOs?

Topics: CFO Artificial Intelligence

How Outsourced CFOs Handle Ethical Considerations

As outsourced CFOs we are brought in to assist in a variety of situations across many different types of organizations. Every instance is unique in terms of what kind of financial position they are in, where they are excelling and/or struggling operationally, and what they are looking to get help with across their financial functions. As a result, their expectations can get hazy for the consulting CFO coming into the role. When this unclear view of what a fractional CFO should be doing is combined with financial management activities that are (either unintentionally or purposefully) against best practices or downright unethical, an outsourced CFO can find themselves in a sticky situation.

So, whether you are a consulting CFO looking for advice or a business leader looking for an idea of what to expect from the engagement, we have put together a quick resource to offer some guidance on how external CFOs handle ethical questions and issues.

Topics: CFO CFO Responsibilities

When Should I Hire a Fractional CFO?

If you’re looking to hire a CFO, have you stopped to consider whether you actually need one? Too often companies, especially successful small to mid-sized companies, rightly understand that they need strong financial leadership to maintain their growth and incorrectly conclude that they need to hire a full-time CFO to get it.

Now, as a company comprised entirely of seasoned CFOs and Controllers, we certainly understand the importance of having this kind of strong financial leadership! However, our experience also allows us to understand that executive financial leadership is not one-size-fits-all.

Often, companies that think they need an in-house CFO are better served by utilizing a fractional CFO or Controller instead. This is especially true for businesses below $50M in revenue, because at that level either the primary responsibilities of an in-house CFO are not needed, or they are handled by the business owner/CEO. What this means for your company is you may not need a CFO …at least in the traditional sense of the role!

Topics: CFO CFO Responsibilities

What Does a Nonprofit CFO Do?

Our team is used to discussing what’s included in a CFO’s job description. But this type of conversation usually centers around the commonalities that unite all CFO roles, not the nuanced differences for a specific industry or type of organization. But when talking about what a CFO for a nonprofit does, there are some unique elements to the role that are important to understand.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations CFO

Speaking the Love Language of CFOs

Love is in the air, which got us thinking… what is the love language of a CFO?

For those of you not familiar with “love languages” the basic premise is that different people have different personalities, which means they give and receive love in different ways. And while this may sound like it’s only related to romance it certainly doesn’t have to be! Fundamentally, love languages are a way to discuss how people build connections, feel appreciation, and perceive their value. The conversation around love languages focuses on giving someone else what they need and what they will appreciate the most.

So, what do CFOs really want?

Our team weighed in during a planning meeting, and their answers were too good not to share:

Topics: CFO

So, You Want to Be a Fractional CFO...?

A new breed of finance professionals is emerging, known as fractional CFOs."

In the ever-evolving world of finance and business, the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has undergone significant changes. Gone are the days when CFOs were primarily responsible for managing a company's finances in a traditional 9-to-5 role. Today, a new breed of finance professionals is emerging, known as fractional CFOs. These individuals are redefining the traditional CFO role by offering their expertise on a part-time or project basis to multiple companies. If you're considering a career as a fractional CFO, this article will provide insights into the role, the benefits, and what it takes to succeed in this dynamic field.

What Is a Fractional CFO?

A fractional CFO, also known as an interim CFO or part-time CFO, is a financial expert who works with multiple organizations on a contract or project basis. Rather than being a full-time employee of a single company, a fractional CFO offers their financial expertise to multiple clients. This arrangement allows businesses to access high-level financial management and strategic guidance without the cost and commitment of a full-time executive.

Topics: CFO CFO Responsibilities Interim CFO

Tesla Lost their CFO – How and When this Will Happen to You

According to news reports, Tesla’s CFO, Zachary Kirkhorn, has unexpectedly stepped down after 13 years with the company. This came as a shock to many because he was widely viewed as a possible successor to Elon Musk for the CEO role. He announced that he will remain on until the end of the year to help with the transition, but that the company’s Head of Accounting would replace him within the week in an interim capacity.

What happened? And could this happen to you as well? Let’s dig in to understand more.

Topics: CFO Leadership