The number of companies hiring part-time or “fractional” CFOs has dramatically increased in the past few years. While many businesses still choose to hire a full-time finance chief, there are other options available that have become increasingly popular. The main benefit of hiring a part-time CFO is to save on overhead costs; however, businesses can also gain access to the valuable financial insights and expertise of an experienced CFO.
Even though there are some cons that might make it more feasible for businesses to hire a full-time finance chief, many companies believe that hiring a fractional CFO will allow them to scale back on their spending while still keeping costs at arm’s length.
The fractional CFO industry is growing as more and more businesses realize the benefits of having a part-time CFO on staff. While many small businesses choose not to have a CFO, larger corporations have begun recruiting professional finance chiefs who can help guide company decisions in terms of revenue growth and risk mitigation. One example is telecommunications giant Verizon, which hired a fractional CFO that was previously the finance chief of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group in 2013.
“There are plenty of great opportunities to find top talent who want to do this kind of work part-time,” said Missy Farren, VP of Communications for OI Global Partners an accounting firm that provides retained services including accounting, auditing, tax, and advisory support to small businesses across America. “What makes it even better is that these professionals are also looking for flexibility to continue doing what they love while increasing their income.”
Auditing firm Grant Thornton LLP has since acquired OI Global Partners and now offers CFO services to small businesses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies are able to save anywhere from 30-50% on costs by hiring a fractional finance professional versus a full-time director of finance. Fractional CFOs can help businesses save money by providing financial guidance and advice, streamlining operations, reducing waste, and refining reporting procedures among many other benefits.
Finance chiefs are also known for being extremely influential when it comes to making decisions that guide business strategy. While some businesses might think that only larger organizations have the resources necessary for recruiting top-level executives, smaller businesses can still find value in hiring part-time or fractional CFOs.
The fractional CFO industry can help businesses save money by providing financial guidance and advice, streamlining operations, reducing waste, and implementing cost-saving strategies. Not only can fractional CFOs provide access to financial expertise, but they can also help businesses save money on payroll expenses.
Many companies that are looking to hire a fractional CFO should be prepared to pay a premium for the cost-saving benefits of working with an experienced finance professional. Companies that need advice tackling business problems should expect to incur additional costs for hiring the services of a part-time or “fractional” CFO rather than their full-time equivalent. For example, Nils Stieglitz, CEO of Stieglitz Consulting Group, provides his clients with access to an advisory board comprised of top industry experts and specialists across various disciplines. He charges $8,000 per month for his services in addition to a percentage of the annual revenue that his clients generate.
“Hiring a fractional CFO is more expensive than hiring an in-house CFO, but you are paying for expertise and experience,” said Stieglitz. “Typically, with most part-time models, whatever they make on your company will be offset by how much they save.” Although Stiegler’s group has many financial experts who work on a part-time basis for various companies across multiple industries, he also works with some finance chiefs on a full-time basis to help them transition from one role to another within the same company or industry.
As businesses look to hire professional finance chiefs that can give them insight into their bottom line, many are turning away from traditional models and turning to the part-time approach that fractional CFOs can offer. In 2022, the fractional CFO industry will continue to grow as more and more businesses seek out financial expertise to help them succeed.