The fractional CFO

In a small or mid-sized growing company, the entrepreneurial owner may not be able to afford a full-time financial executive. That presents a serious problem — lack of time.

Rather than focusing on what they do best (building the business), entrepreneurs often spend time reviewing financial accounts, managing personnel functions, reviewing insurance policies, selecting telecom or computer systems and doing other tasks that fall within the realm of support functions.

Leverage at a fraction of the cost

Hiring fractional CFOs can be a cost-effective method for small and middle-market business owners to gain access to high-level executive expertise on an as-needed, just-in-time basis. Any business owner facing time or internal resource constraints can use this tool and get an excellent return on the investment.

A fractional CFO is developed around the idea that while small and middle-market companies often need the high-level, sophisticated expertise that a seasoned executive can provide, they may not need it on a daily basis. Retaining a financial executive on a fractional, as-needed basis is an affordable solution, enabling you to share the expertise and cost of a CFO without adding to your overhead.

Accumulated knowledge

One of the benefits of a fractional CFO is that you establish a relationship with the executive and he or she becomes a part of your team, even if only intermittently. You will not need to retrain a new individual every time you need help — the fractional CFO has a deep understanding of your business, your culture and your goals, and uses that accumulated knowledge to help your business succeed on a recurring basis.

Professionals who are hired out by agencies for specific projects often lack the personal investment and continuity of fractional CFOs. Project professionals generally remain focused on the singular task at hand, whereas the fractional CFO is able to identify opportunities and initiatives because of the accumulated knowledge and understanding gained through working with you over a period of time.

The value of a fractional CFO

Many companies need this support and do not realize it, usually because the owner is absorbed by the daily issues of running the business.

A fractional CFO can:

* Take full advantage of an opportunity

* Plan for growth

* Budget for the coming year

* Investigate an acquisition

* Deal with regulators

* Assist in the acquisition of bank or equity financing

* Set up financial reporting systems

* Spearhead an initiative

* Reduce expenses

* Provide you with more free time to improve your quality of life

Enhanced quality of life

If you are currently responsible for any of the above tasks, you can benefit from the assistance of a fractional executive. In each scenario, a fractional CFO can add expertise, accelerate the project or, if appropriate, assist behind the scenes while you take the lead. By bringing in the fractional executive, you regain more time for things that are a higher priority — such as a child’s school play or other personal matters that enhance the quality of life.

The fractional executive can also bring a higher level of sophistication to the financial issues your business faces. More important, fractional ownership of the right CFO can translate into fractional ownership of and priority access to many experts capable of assisting your business, helping it become more successful, more profitable, more effective and more personally rewarding.

The right CFO connection can be your quarterback for an extremely powerful team of “rented experts” on an as-needed basis. Any business owner facing time or resource constraints cannot afford to ignore this solution.

Gary R. McConnell, CPA, is a partner in the Strategic Business Solutions group of Daszkal Bolton LLP, a professional services certified public accounting firm located in Boca Raton. Reach him at (561) 367-1040 or [email protected].

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