Welcome your new flexibility officer – the interim CFO

COVID-19 has made the last couple of months difficult for both the global economy, as well as individual companies, where CEOs, owners, and investors are having to deal with declining revenues and going through a great extent of uncertainty. We experience that companies, that are faced with challenging times, get stuck working many hours, adopting a tunnel vision, and dwelling on strategies or lacking the awareness of what directions other companies are heading towards. This usually results in the firm being unable to react or adapt quickly to changes or find opportunities in a downturn.

Bringing an interim CFO onboard can make a substantial difference to the company. The interim CFO is able to provide an outside perspective on the challenges the firm faces. With his/her years of experience from different firms and industries, the interim CFO is able to understand the value of a financial forecast, how to use technology to pick apart information, and provide effective cash management.

Hiring an interim CFO for a temporary period, does not automatically entail that he or she will replace the current CFO. We see that many companies reach out to us at Nextt for an interim CFO to support the existing CFO in place. This is usually to receive highly experienced management resources and specialized skillsets which the interim CFO is able to provide. Especially, during these COVID-19 times, the level of ambiguity and uncertainty calls for people who have years of experience in making fast and bold decisions in challenging times. By having an experienced interim CFO onboard as an added resource for a set time period, reduces the risk and increases the organizations potential.

When should you bring an interim CFO onboard?

While it is true that during times of distress companies need to urgently need to secure their liquidity above all else, they at the same time need to look to the future with strategic reorientation and restructuring in mind.

Bringing an interim CFO onboard is not only useful for a company experiencing a downturn, but can also be a strategic move in other situations such as:

  • Your business is experiencing rapid growth and you are looking for external financing
  • Your business is experiencing stagnant growth, or there is an increase in market competition which requires someone who can provide strategic leadership
  • Your business is lacking reliable systems to consistently provide accurate financial reporting
  • Assessing, optimizing, or changing your current work systems. Ensure that if new systems are implemented, the interim CFO helps train the personnel and ensure there is a smooth transitioning.

Nonetheless, for a company to stay ahead in these new times,  a company needs a leader who is able to take responsibility for the company’s finances, who can draw from extensive industry experience and knowledge, and, with this evidence based insights, be able to assess risks and give prospects to the company. An interim CFO is perfectly equipped to take on this role.

What is required of the modern day CFO?

As stated earlier in the blogpost, companies need to not only make sure that they have enough cash availability, but they also need to be strategic. A modern CFO is exactly someone who is able to make sure both things are covered and that the company remains agile and flexible.

The past months have seen changes in the role of the CFO. Not only has the digital age accelerated the pace of which the role of the CFO has evolved, but COVID-19 has been a major player in creating this shift. A recent study conducted by Grant Thorton calls the post covid-19 CFO the chief “flexibility” officer, stating that the recent disruption has forced the CFO to become a ‘change agent’ and a ‘strategist’. Experts within the field say that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated some trends that were impacting CFOs that were already in place. We see that organizations are looking for CFOs who do more than handle the money. Modern-day CFOs need to be as well or more skilled in business partnering as they are in financial engineering. Today’s CFOs also need to have a much higher tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to inspire others. A skilled CFO should also have the ability get out in the field, understand the business drivers, lead innovation, challenge the status quo, and be a great team player.

An interim CFO is your strategic partner

We see that the demand for interim CFOs is on the rise and many companies reach out to us at Nextt Management to find an interim CFO who can help them through transformation, growth or a turnaround.

An Interim CFO has the ability to drive a transition process, directing and developing staff, assessing the structure in place and identifying what is missing, and providing the support and financial strategy to the CEO or investors to drive the growth of the business.

An interim CFO can also be used as a temporary solution until the organization is on the right track, and a permanent solution can be hired instead. Above all, an Interim CFO must be able to quickly transition their knowledge and expertise to the firm, so the client doesn’t feel they’ve wasted any time.

In other words, the interim CFO is the quintessence of the modern day CFO.

What are the qualities of a successful interim CFO?

An interim CFO is someone who will help your company address your most pressing needs. They are able to do so through the qualities they possess that allow them to quickly onboard and effectively solve problems in a short amount of time. The qualities they possess are:

  • Flexible and project driven
  • Excellent communication and collaborative skills
  • 100% committed to the task
  • Understands the need to stay objective and transparent

How does Nextt Management help your business?

Nextt Management are experts in Interim Management and have operated in the industry since 2003. Our philosophy is to provide top quality managerial solutions that help you achieve your desired results. Contact us today and have your interim manager start in your business within 10 days.