Hey everybody. The question of the day is, “Do I want to bring on a fractional CFO?” Most people have heard about fractional CFOs. CEO’s want to be strategic so maybe a fractional CFO is a good idea. But what will they do for my business? That’s a pretty reasonable question.
The most important thing is to be clear about the problem that you’re trying to solve. Just bringing on a fractional CFO to satisfy your “should”, is probably going to yield a lot of expense and not a lot of return.
To really assess the question, evaluate it from a couple of different vectors. First is, what are you really trying to accomplish. Very often, business owners are in need of a forecast or a budget that is dynamic that allows you to ask it some questions. The intention here is to look out in future with a bit of confidence. Fractional CFOs have a capability to help build that for you.
But CFO is a bit of a misnomer. There are other levels of individuals in the market that we call FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) professionals that can help you build those models. Sometimes, the CFO moniker is a very strategic thinker that can ask really good questions can probe, but isn’t so much a doer. And if you’re looking for somebody to build things, or do analysis, it’s not uncommon to really need an FP&A set of skills. You might say fractional CFO, because that’s the term that you know.
Another benefit of the fractional CFO is to have somebody come in and look across your business at your accounting processes and controls, your strategic planning, your organizational development and design, and the key investments that you’re making in individuals in service to that strategy. That can be pretty effective consulting work. Those reviews can help better prioritize the hotter spots that need attention (i.e. what do we want to do in this quarter and the next quarter and the third quarter). We can sequence out the activities or the deliverables, to help make the strategic lens that you want to have on your business more actionable.
Whether or not you want to hire a fractional CFO is really about asking, ‘Do I want somebody involved in my business that’s helping me look out the windshield because I spend a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror.”
The greatest value is looking out the windshield, which makes the activities of a fractional CFO and surrounding roles a good idea for the business at least on a project basis. Think about that. If I can help you let me know.