Interim CFOs: Definition, Job Duties & Benefits of Hiring

Chief Financial Officer - CFO on wooden blocks with charts in background and pen

In today’s increasingly competitive market, it seems resource shortages, new challenges and disruptions to business operations are everywhere we look.

If your business is running into issues surrounding market changes, restructuring or rapid growth, it might be a signal that it’s time to hire an interim CFO.

Everything you need to know about Interim CFOs:

  1. What is an interim CFO?
  2. Interim CFO vs. Fractional CFO
  3. What does an interim CFO do?
  4. What are the benefits of hiring an interim CFO?

What is an interim CFO?

An interim CFO is essentially the same as a regular CFO in that they’re responsible for the same tasks — identifying gaps, developing strategies and managing investor relations, to name but a few — but only for a fixed period of time or on a contractual basis (3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc.).

Interim CFO vs. Fractional CFO: What’s the difference?

Whereas an interim CFO works full-time for a fixed period of time, a fractional CFO works part-time for an indefinite amount of time. Both interim and fractional CFOs perform the same duties as regular CFOs.

What does an interim CFO do?

At the most basic level, an interim CFO will act as an essential partner to your business, working closely with your C-level executives, marketing departments, sales teams, strategists, engineers, technology experts and more in order to identify the financial ramifications of a decision being made, evaluate the overall “financial health” of your business, as well as implement strategies to help you fill in the gaps.

Depending on which stage of growth your company is in, an interim CFO’s role can take many shapes — but it’s important to note that an interim CFO’s role is more strategic rather than tactical.

For example, CFO’s help organizational leaders identify things which are needed to help a business grow, and then help identify ways to financially support investments and determine how to measure progress and ROI on those investments. CFO’s can also be critical when it comes to controlling spending that may be out of control. However, in either of these scenarios, the CFO will help identify these opportunities at a high level rather than the details. 

Interim CFO job duties include but are not limited to:

  • Determining what your finance and accounting organization needs to look like and reorganizing or hiring concrete talent
  • Providing guidance through deals and fundraising efforts; working with banks, lenders and investors to identify funding options and review pros and cons
  • Developing revenue models, including outlining potential business partnerships and providing guidance with benchmarking, metrics and KPI tracking

What are the benefits of hiring an interim CFO?

1. Access to outside perspectives and unparalleled industry expertise with an Interim CFO

A solid interim CFO will have worked within their industry for several years and with clients at various stages of growth, showing unparalleled expertise in areas such as in accounting, financial reporting, planning, cash flow, and taxes.

This expertise will become particularly relevant as your interim CFO conducts strategic conversations with your stakeholders. Plus, by looking at your business with a fresh perspective, they’ll be better prepared to identify things you may have missed the first time around and foresee potential issues before they arise.

2. Better data and reporting

While your interim CFO isn’t going to be conducting the reporting themselves, they’re responsible for ensuring that accurate data is gathered so that good reporting can actually happen.

Having accurate information is how they are able to make informed decisions about how to progress, so this is of paramount importance to them.

3. Improved processes, systems and team implemented through the CFO

In order to properly assess the financial health of your business, your interim CFO will put the right people in place to make sure all your processes run as smoothly and effectively as possible.

This includes:

  • Ensuring you have the most up-to-date technology systems in place
  • Helping identify opportunities for process improvement and leading teams to implement any changes
  • Building organizations focused on minimizing risk and ensuring compliance in reporting timing and accuracy
  • Establishing a forward-looking culture that thrives in financial planning and analysis, as well as data-driven decision making
  • And more

4. Hiring an interim CFO ensures good fiscal decision making, saving time and money

CFO’s can be expensive, but a good CFO can easily justify their existence within an organization by helping implement thoughtful growth and fiscally responsible strategies.

This can be one of the best investments you can make. And since your interim CFO will be responsible for hiring finance and accounting talent, company-wide productivity will likely increase, giving you more time to focus on developing future goals.

Why you should hire an interim CFO

Hiring an interim CFO can be instrumental in helping you overcome market pressure, competition and resource shortages while fostering more collaboration and productivity — but only if you first find the right partner for your growth.

Our experts at Bridgepoint Consulting seek to join the management teams of our clients on an interim basis to help achieve their goals and keep the momentum moving forward.

Since we’ve sat on both sides of the table – as industry experts ourselves, and as trusted advisors to our partners – we’re uniquely equipped to fill vacant roles without missing a beat.

Need Interim Finance Support?

Whether your team is experiencing a shortage of resources because of new challenges, transitions, restructurings or experiencing growth, our team is here to help close the gap and drive strategic initiatives.