You’re ready to bring in a part-time CFO. Now what? What should you look at when evaluating candidates for the job?
Start with your specific needs
Chances are the majority of your part-time CFO’s responsibilities will be project-based. A logical starting point is therefore to take a close look at what you expect this person to accomplish. List the three biggest projects for which you need help, and then seek a CFO with experience addressing these types of issues.
Consider some consulting-related factors
Your part-time CFO will most likely be a 1099’d outside consultant. As such, you’ll want to find out:
• How quickly can they get up to speed? You want someone who can come in and hit the ground running. Do they have the background and expertise to pull this off?
• What is their availability? Can they offer you the hours and flexibility you need going forward?
• What resources do they bring? If a project gets too big, or if you need help from professionals in other fields, do they have a network of vetted experts they can tap?
Then look at experience and qualifications in general
Of course, in many ways hiring a part-time CFO is similar to hiring a full-time CFO. You’ll also want to consider all of the usual hiring factors, such as:
• Education, credentials, experience & track record – Be sure to look at the specifics here. Do they have a CPA? Do they appear to have the ability to understand your business? Do they have experience doing the broad array of things that you will ultimately need, or just a subset of this? For example, some CFOs are great with strategic planning but not well-versed in insurance-related issues. If you need both, this person would not be a good match.
• Communication & interpersonal skills – Will they be able to analyze the numbers and then communicate useful, actionable information to you based on what they find?
• Management style – As a part-time CFO, how will they fit in with both your management team and the staff members that they’ll supervise and/or work with?
• Personal chemistry – You’ll be working very closely with this person, and they’ll be working with the intimate details of your business. It’s got to be a good fit!
The right part-time CFO can make a big difference for your company. Before hiring someone, be sure to complete a thorough interview process, check references, and do a background check.