Growing companies eventually come to the same conclusion - that they need a CFO.
So once you're at the point of this realization, how do you hire?
Here’s 10 things to consider when looking for the right CFO for your organization:
1. Does the CFO candidate share your values?
Just like all hires, the culture fit of your finance leader is key. It is vital that a person you are bringing in at an executive level is aligned with your values. They are part of your tone at the top & they are the CEO’s right hand. #collaboration
2. Does the CFO candidate understand your strategy & share the passion?
A CFO will be part of your executive strategy team & will be a key player in its execution & design. As a growing business you need players on your team that want to win as much as you do & want to win at the same things. #courage
3. Is the CFO candidate able to scale & build for your future desired state?
Hiring the right candidate for today is fine when it’s middle management or at the team level, but your executives need to be long-term fits. They need to have the vision of where you are going & that’s how they should be setting up your technology, processes & teams. If today isn’t good enough for you, it should not be good enough for the CFO. #communication
4. Does the candidate have the ability to see the art of the possible?
In today’s world of accounting & finance there’s no excuse for a finance leader that isn’t building an automated finance function. Growth requires that scale & a team that needs a new accounts payable clerk for every new location (or service or product) is going to drain your resources & hamper your growth. Today’s CFO should be challenging the entire business when it comes to leveraging processes & technology & people. #courage
5. Is the CFO growth oriented?
Watch for accountants that focus more on costs & risks than revenue & opportunity. Many finance leaders come from admirable backgrounds where their role was focused on risk, costs, compliance & historical numbers so it’s easy to find yourselves with a candidate that sees their value defined by saving you a dollar, warning you of risk, or otherwise being the “no”. These areas are in the scope of your finance leader & they are important but they don’t create growth. #curiosity
6. Is the CFO prepared to “sell the business”?
An executive needs to promote the business. They are a representation of the business at all times and they need to be fully on board with the strategy, mission, vision & values no matter where they show up. They need to invest, raise funds, sell products, sell services & be proud of the organization. You are investing in a finance leader in an effort to grow. They need to invest back with a full suite of business advisory, strategic financial expertise & their whole heart. #candor
7. Is the CFO willing to learn the business?
You will struggle with #6 if they aren’t willing to make the trip to the field. #curiosity
8. Change doesn’t happen behind a desk (or a spreadsheet).
Growth is change. A new CFO in the business is change. A CFO that is going to lead the change you need is going to have to be experienced in change management. #collaboration
9. Is the CFO willing to scale to your business needs?
A CFO that can grow a business & work within your business & with your stakeholders (lenders, investors, board of directors, lawyers, insurance agents, business partners & more) will be an executive level finance leader and those cost north of $200k per year. This investment may not make sense for where the business is currently at. Taking the shortcut of a less experienced controller will mean you sacrifice the majority of the eight points above as well as your ultimate growth.
Amplify can help you find a scalable option with a part-time Finance Leader. Our CFO services are an 8 out of 8 with a cost that is practical to your needs and business.
10. Our CFOs are in it for the long haul but they also intend to help you grow to the point of needing a FTE in their role.
They work with the team on succession to ensure that 3-5 years from now when we have successfully helped you outgrow Amplify that you are set up for success. We help hire and coach controllers and managers as you grow. We train them to become the 8 out of 8 you need. We’ve got you covered now & we’ve got a plan for then too.
We work hard to meet these expectations at Amplify. Hiring a CFO can be one of the biggest decisions you make. We don’t take it lightly & we know you don’t either. Hopefully these considerations help you make the right decision.