How hiring an interim CFO can help your company with short-term projects

Corporate budget cuts and head count reductions have forced a lot of valuable C-suite talent into the market, making it readily available to fill your needs. And if your company has a demand for critical niche skills, or it needs to complete a project such as an internal audit or other tasks that require the skills of a high-level professional, you may want to consider hiring an interim CFO.

“Companies still need to complete critical projects despite economic constraints, but they may be gun-shy about hiring a permanent professional,” says Tyler Ridgeway, director of the Human Capital Resources Group at Kreischer Miller. “Your existing CFO might need some additional short-term bench strength.”

Although top-notch CFOs may be predominantly in the market for full-time positions, many can be lured into temporary roles. In addition, some CFOs simply prefer to work on a consulting basis for multiple firms as an “interim,” rather than working for just one company as a full-time employee.

All of this is good news for companies with a demand for CFO-level skills.

“Many CFOs are excited by interim opportunities because they are getting paid and they can use their skills to do some hands-on work,” Ridgeway says. “Companies are ecstatic because they can get the talent they need without making a permanent hire.”

Smart Business spoke with Ridgeway about what to look for in an interim CFO and how to approach the hiring process.

Why would a company hire an interim CFO rather than a full-time executive?

This arrangement is ideal for companies that need help executing a project or that require extra high-level manpower to fulfill demands within the organization. For example, a company that is conducting an internal audit might need extra resources to complete it. The firm can hire an interim CFO to perform the tasks of a controller while it gains the strategic expertise of an executive-level professional who will fully take ownership of the project.

For companies that do not want to make a permanent hire, an interim CFO fits the bill — and the budget. They do not have to commit to bringing in a full-time person. Plus, should the company be interested in making a permanent hire at some point in the future, the interim period can serve as a real-life interview which tests how the candidate handles projects and fits within the organization’s culture.