The CFO'S Perspective

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

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

Is Office Space Obsolete?

With a large segment of the workforce still working from home, what does this mean for the future of commercial real estate? According to recent data, office vacancy rates are over 16% right now (up from 9% in late 2019) and subleased space is coming back on the market. This has led many analysts to wonder whether companies still need the offices they had before and what will happen to all the vacant office space if companies do not return.

What does the future hold? Will the office building survive COVID-19, or is office space now obsolete?

Topics: Economic Trends Planning Transition

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

How to Deal With the Retirement of Your Accounting Leader

A business owner should always have a succession plan, yet at the same time be ready when a member of their executive team is ready to implement their own exit strategy, i.e., retirement. The Great Recession caused many people to need to work longer until retiring because of the loss of income and value of retirement assets. But now, a decade has passed, which has given some the time to replenish their retirement savings. As a result of the COVID19 pandemic many people are re-evaluating what is important to them, and in many instances, it means retiring a few years sooner than originally planned.

Topics: CFO Planning Leadership Transition