Interim CFO appointments

The urgent need to recruit a CFO is a common occurrence for many corporations with the exit of the incumbent often the catalyst to drive change or deal with complexities and problems confronting a business.

Unfortunately a desire from stakeholders to quickly find a CFO to deal with such issues does not accord with the reality of the recruitment market where finding quality candidates takes time especially with many better candidates being in existing roles.

The answer to this problem may be to source an interim appointee while searching for a longer term CFO.  Here’s some reasons to initially make an interim appointment:

  • Often the urgent needs of a company require “situational” expertise which are the specialty of interim appointees eg transaction and financier management and cash control.
  • Seasoned interim appointees have some experience in most major industries and those that are “worth their salt” are quickly able to get across the strategic nuances of markets.
  • In many situations, much of the “heavy lifting” on problems and issues can be completed in (say) a three month period thereby avoiding a “baptism of fire” for your long term appointee.

A practical approach is to define a recruitment process such that it incorporates both a short term and long term strategy ie an interim appointee to deal with more immediate and urgent issues and a permanent appointee to help deliver long term growth. Unfortunately, interim appointees will have higher rates, but generally this will be the premium cost of having an experienced person in place quickly.

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