The CFO'S Perspective

How does Uncertainty affect a CFO’s Role?

It is being mentioned on the news, among coworkers in team chats, and over dinner with family day after day. It is keeping Americans (especially business leaders) up at night. In fact, every client meeting we have these days has some discussion around it. What is it? Uncertainty.

Today’s culture is wrought with uncertainty that is absolutely sweeping through every industry. Rising inflation, COVID surges, interest rate hikes, a dramatic increase in the cost of living, the war in Ukraine, and a potential recession all have business leadership mired in a constant state of uncertainty. From professional services and hospitality to tech and manufacturing, uncertainty is taking a toll. And unfortunately, it does not show any signs of dissipating any time soon.

In response, many organizations have begun leaning even more heavily on their CEOs and CFOs to guide them through these tumultuous waters. Consumption patterns have changed, new buying trends have emerged, and supply chains have become murky, reducing confidence levels in business forecasts. And amid it all, CFOs are being asked to manage cash flow, oversee new business priorities, and aid in constantly shifting strategic planning initiatives.

Topics: CFO Planning Leadership CFO Responsibilities Change Management

How Do I Let Go of an Underperforming CFO?

According to CFO.com the most common reasons for a CFO change are:

  1. As a follow-up move to a CEO change
  2. A voluntary decision to pursue a better opportunity
  3. To get the right personnel in place to take a growing company to the next level

The article goes on to say, “Finding out precisely how many finance leaders have been asked to take a hike in the wake of accounting fiascoes, earnings disappointments, failed mergers, or unsound investment decisions is trickier, since most of them are effectively silenced by generous severance packages.” While this article speaks directly to publicly traded companies, the same rationale holds true for private companies. We know that firing a CFO for performance-related reasons is by no means the most common reason for separating. However, it is difficult to pinpoint the percentage of companies that have let their CFO go due to underperformance because neither party is going to readily admit that was the reason for dismissal. However, it certainly happens. And when it does, the process poses a uniquely difficult scenario.

Firing an executive of any sort is a daunting task, but letting your CFO go provides an added host of challenges. Since companies task their CFO with the financial management of the company a CFO may possess critical financial knowledge and planning information that can be lost when they are terminated.

Topics: CFO Staffing HR Leadership Change Management Interim CFO Transition

Should I Sell My Business Now or Wait?

Our CFOs get asked about business exit options a lot, especially these days. Business owners that are looking to step away to pursue other endeavors, interested in cashing out to get the full value of their hard work, or nearing retirement all wonder when they should make their move to maximize their gain.

While last year’s expected Federal tax rate increases did not happen, there is still lingering apprehension around the timing of exiting your business. So, though the urgency we witnessed last year has dissipated, the ongoing question still remains: should you sell your business this year, next year, or not at all?

Topics: Mergers and Acquisitions Change Management Strategy Start-up

The Great Resignation – The Accelerated Evolution of Work

A prospective consultant told me that he loved what he did during a recent interview. He had been working up the ranks for a long time, continually added skills and experience, and was in a place of high trust and value to his organization. He shared with me that he loved his profession had excellent skills but was not interested in working 70 hours a week at this point in his life and career. He asked, "Were there other options?"

Topics: Trends Change Management

How Do I get My Accountant to Come Back to the Office?

Employers that want their employees back in the office again are asking themselves the question, “How do I get my employees to return to work?” However, many employees are asking their employers, “Why should I return to work?” in response.

The resulting dichotomy has created a sticky situation for companies that are facing labor shortages and revenue challenges well over a year and a half into this crisis. For key departments like accounting and finance, the pressure is further elevated because these kinds of skilled roles are a hot commodity right now, making them even harder to replace.

Topics: Trends Staffing HR Leadership Change Management Transition COVID-19

Why A Business Change of Ownership Needs CFO Services

At CFO Selections, we work with many types of companies, from the large and complex to those more straightforward and easier to understand. They have vastly different finance and accounting structures. One size or type certainly does not fit all.

Topics: Planning Change Management

Do You Need a Professional Services Firm for an Interim Hire?

When a key employee leaves, hiring a replacement is of paramount importance. But when it is going to take considerable time to find the right person to fill the vacant role or a hired replacement cannot start right away, an interim hire is used to bridge the gap.

So, who do you turn to when you need help with interim employment?

Hiring managers may ask, “Does it matter who we bring in to help us hire an interim position, anyways?” and “Do we need to spend much money to hire someone that we only plan on keeping around for a short time?” The ubiquity of staffing companies makes them an attractive choice for inexpensive hires in individual contributor roles. But what about interim executive leadership roles?

A role like the CFO position needs to be filled with an experienced professional who is ready to lead the organization. As CFO Magazine explains,

“Leadership voids are particularly perilous when it comes to the CFO position. CFOs are the ultimate utility players in an organization — they’re captains of detail orientation. They need to seamlessly interact with all parts of the company to gather and disseminate information. At the same time, they need to be a strategic thought partner with the CEO. Having this seat empty can cause the best of companies to stall. Interim CFOs keep a company in a safe pair of hands. They provide stability by offering critical financial reporting and business intelligence and moving key projects forward. Interim CFOs enable proactive companies to keep the momentum going. They also, maybe most importantly, allow them to take their time to find the right next full-time finance chief (vs. rushing to hire whoever is available at a moment’s notice).”

The importance of the CFO role begs the question, do professional services firms provide an advantage for these types of hires? What sets them apart from staffing agencies? And do these advantages justify their premium pricing?

Topics: Recruiting Hiring HR Change Management Interim CFO Transition

Weathering a Prolonged Recession – Expert Tips from Senior Leadership

Regardless of what precipitates a recession, economic ebbs and flows are to be expected over time. Recessions can be caused by a period of contraction that inevitably comes after economic expansion or a sudden and unexpected economic shock.

While the coronavirus recession is fresh on our minds, it is not the first nor will it be the last recession that today’s businesses face. Knowing how to weather a recession is an essential management skill regardless of how long it lasts. However, facing a prolonged recession poses unique challenges that can test even the most adept leaders.

Our team of experienced CFOs shares their top tips on getting through a recession and coming out stronger on the other side:

Topics: Economic Trends Planning Cash Flow Leadership Risk Management Change Management Transition Strategy COVID-19