4 Ways to Optimize the Expertise of an Interim CFO

If you currently have a temporary vacancy or you’re expecting one in the future, an Interim CFO can help.

The role of a CFO is not just one of overseeing a company’s finances and reporting. CFOs have a strategic significance that leverages a company’s financial data to develop and achieve long-term objectives while also managing risk. With the high expectations of this role, it’s important to have the right fit for your company as you plan for a vacancy or transition. 

If you currently have a temporary vacancy or you’re expecting one in the future, you’re probably trying to figure out how to maintain continuity in your financial department. That’s where an interim CFO comes in! When you maximize the expertise of this individual, your company will not just have someone who keeps everything running, you’ll have a trusted partner in accomplishing your business goals. 

Understanding the Role of an Interim CFO

Although the role of an interim CFO is temporary, you should still make the most out of their expertise and skillset. Interim CFOs go beyond merely filling the gap left after a permanent CFO has left. They can provide your company with valuable insights, help drive goals, and play an integral role in strategic financial planning. 

Interim CFOs generally perform the same duties as permanent CFOs. They can analyze your company’s financial well-being and assist with changes that arise during their tenure. When you think of the role they play in your company, remember they are there to help you in whatever way is needed. In the same way you would utilize a permanent CFO, utilize these individuals. Whether you need aid in navigating and structuring a specific project or a fresh perspective on a financial matter, they are equipped to handle it. Additionally, due to the short time they spend with your company, they’re motivated to accomplish objectives within a shorter timeframe and leave your company better than they found it. Below are a few ways to get the most out of your Interim CFO.

1. Set Clear Objectives

The first step when working with an interim CFO is identifying and communicating the objectives you want them to accomplish. Given their role’s limited duration, the goals should be clearly defined and discussed before the individual starts working with your company. Objectives can fall into the following categories:

  • Financial reporting and compliance
  • Risk management
  • Cash flow management
  • Investor communication
  • Financial strategies and financial modeling

If you need help determining objectives, ask them directly. Their job is to help you define goals and achieve objectives throughout the process.

2. Properly Integrate Your Interim CFO into the Team

Are there key individuals within the company that your previous CFO collaborated and interacted with? Make sure they’re looped in and on the same page when the temporary replacement arrives. Their roles and responsibilities should be clearly communicated. This is to ensure everyone knows who to contact when needed and how best to work together. 

Additionally, including the interim CFO in all relevant company communications can help them feel connected to the team and give them a clearer understanding of the big picture. Is there a company-wide email that is sent out regularly with company updates? Is there a certain messenger app used for communicating among team members? Get them connected to every relevant form of communication. The relevant details shared in these channels can help them achieve their objectives and stay up to date.

3. Leverage Their Expertise for Strategic Decisions 

Interim CFOs are experts in their field. Additionally, they have a wealth of knowledge in navigating challenges and change. Leverage their expertise in the same way you would a permanent resource. Additionally, having the perspective of someone from outside your company can provide valuable insight. They can also provide feedback on how things are going and how they can be improved. With this perspective, they bring:

  • Objective analysis: They’re able to assess and analyze financial and operational processes without internal influences or past company decisions
  • Creative solutions to complex problems: These individuals have helped companies in different industries and of various sizes navigate the business landscape. As a result, they have developed creative ways of thinking through challenges and constraints.
  • Strategic thinking: Interim CFOs are able to look at your company’s past and present in order to develop long-term goals that will position your business for sustainable growth.

4. Collaborate with Them to Plan for the Future

The interim CFO cannot stay with your company forever but they can have a lasting impact. In general, CFOs are always looking ahead and thinking of the specific steps needed to reach long-term goals. As you’re working alongside your interim CFO, evaluate the objectives accomplished and talk with them about the next steps when the permanent replacement comes on board. They can even collaborate with you and other executives at your company to make sure everything has been communicated effectively, goals are in place, and key performance metrics are set when the new CFO arrives.

How Can We Help?

Though their tenure is short, an interim CFO’s impact can be felt long after their last day. If you are preparing for a temporary CFO, remember the unique skillset they bring to your organization. 

Contact our team at Sabre Financial Group if you are considering an interim CFO but are unsure of where to start. Our team of financial professionals have decades of experience and are able to be onboarded at your company in a matter of days. Contact us here.

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