Finding and Hiring the Right Fractional CFO for Your Business

March 26, 2024

Introduction

A fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can provide tremendous value for growth-stage companies by supplying financial expertise and leadership on an as-needed basis. However, finding the right fractional CFO that aligns with your business’ specific needs and culture can pose challenges. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge to successfully source, evaluate, and onboard a fractional CFO tailored to your organization.

What is a Fractional CFO?

A fractional CFO is a part-time contracted CFO who provides financial leadership and oversight based on a company’s evolving needs. Unlike a full-time CFO, a fractional CFO offers flexible and affordable access to high-caliber financial talent. Companies utilize fractional CFOs to supplement their finance teams without the expense of hiring a full-time resource.

When Should You Hire a Fractional CFO?

Hiring a fractional CFO makes the most sense for growth-stage companies that need strategic financial guidance as they scale. A fractional CFO can provide financial modeling, fundraising support, accounting oversight, cash flow management, and financial reporting tailored to a company’s growth plans.

How to Source and Evaluate Fractional CFO Candidates

Once you decide a fractional CFO is right for your company, how do you find the right person? Key steps include:

  • Define your specific fractional CFO needs - required hours, scope of work, experience level
  • Tap your network and ask for referrals from financial advisors, investors, etc.
  • Search online marketplaces like UpCounsel that connect you with fractional CFO profiles
  • Interview several qualified candidates and ask about their experience, pricing, and company fit
  • Check references to validate past performance and responsibilities

Important Fractional CFO Evaluation Criteria

As you vet fractional CFO candidates, look for these key attributes:

  • Proven experience overseeing finance for growth-stage companies in your industry
  • Strong financial modeling, forecasting, and strategic planning abilities
  • Experience raising venture capital or other growth financing
  • Familiarity with your type of business model and metrics
  • Personality and communication style aligning with your culture
  • Comfortable working remotely and independently

Structuring the Fractional CFO Agreement

When hiring a fractional CFO, clearly define expectations upfront through a services agreement or contract. This should cover:

  • Time commitment and working hours
  • Scope of responsibilities
  • Length of engagement
  • Billing rate and payment terms
  • Confidentiality and IP ownership

Successfully Integrating a Fractional CFO

Once you’ve contracted a fractional CFO, ensure they integrate well by:

  • Introducing them to your finance team and leadership
  • Providing orientation on goals, metrics, systems, and challenges
  • Establishing regular check-ins and reporting cadence
  • Soliciting feedback on progress after the first month

A fractional CFO can scale alongside your business. Reevaluate workloads and adjust hours as your needs evolve.

Conclusion

An experienced fractional CFO provides tremendous value for growth-stage companies. This guide outlined tips for sourcing, vetting, hiring, and integrating fractional CFO talent tailored to your organization's needs. With the right fractional CFO, companies gain financial leadership and expertise to support their strategic growth.

Alyssa Huizenga
Director, Business Development
[email protected]

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