The business case for the fractional CFO

As a firm dedicated to meeting the short and long-term needs of our Accounting & Finance clients, one of the common asks we get from growing, entrepreneurial companies is to provide them with high caliber CFO talent. For those who haven’t yet sampled the “secret sauce” that has been a critical success factor for so many, Fractional CFO’s can be a great option for a company wanting the hands-on expertise of an experienced financial business partner but who aren’t ready to absorb the full-time price tag of a traditional permanent hire. These resources can dedicate ongoing part-time support or be ‘all hands-on deck’, for a period of time, to support a short-term need. Beyond the flexibility that they can provide here are just a few benefits that the right Fractional CFO can routinely bring to the table:

Business Analysis: One critical need of growing businesses is insight into what makes their business tick. Entrepreneurial companies can easily fall into the trap of suffering analysis paralysis, by which we mean they struggle to understand the “why” behind the “what” of their business results. Deep dive analyses can provide insight into product line profitability or highlight operational run rates out of sync with current revenue forecasts. The right Fractional CFO will be adept at making sense out of the data and designing customized reporting to support strategic business decisions. Understanding the financial levers to your business can make the difference between red and black on the bottom line.

Financial Infrastructure: Another value-add focus is creating the necessary financial infrastructure to support the evolving needs of your company as it grows. No one wants their company’s trajectory to be hampered by a lack of capital funding, back office support or system capabilities. It is more common than not for entrepreneurial companies to outgrow their existing structure … and it often feels like it happens overnight. Relationships with capital sources take time to develop and businesses need a thorough, and ongoing, process for evaluating operating capital levels in order to avoid a short term cash crunch.

Another common challenge occurs when the systems, policies and internal controls that made sense for the company as a startup no longer feel enough. This can lead to roadblocks in getting accurate, relevant data and timely reporting or result in employee turnover. While executives can, and should, be laser-focused on more strategic issues a Fractional CFO can provide a much-needed look at the inner workings of the company to ensure that your business stays ahead of the curve!

Special Transaction Support: Finally, one reason companies often turn to Fractional CFO talent is to support special transactions. Whether it’s a capital raise or debt refinancing the right partner will be able to distill and format financial information into what the stakeholders want, and need, to see.

They can also supplement the skill set of your existing team, bringing specific project-based expertise to the table. Whether you are looking to evaluate an M&A transaction, navigate the unique requirements of a reverse IPO or simply ensure proper GAAP presentation of your financials, Fractional CFO’s can provide a wealth of insight on how best to navigate previously uncharted waters. In addition, the right resource can offer advice on the cost/benefit of alternatives you’re considering.

Bottom line, the right Fractional CFO can be a strategic business partner – and at times a lifeline – to a growing company. By bringing diverse industry expertise and best practices exposure they can provide exactly what you need, when you need it most and all for a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Are you interested in learning more? The team at Taylor White has the experience and the track record to make sure that your investment in Fractional CFO talent meets the specific needs and challenges of your organization. When it comes to supporting the dynamic requirements of Tampa Bay’s entrepreneurial community, think Taylor White. All it takes is a conversation. We’ll do the rest.

Heather Ceresoli

Heather Ceresoli launched her career with Deloitte, serving 7 years in their Tampa audit practice. She transitioned into management roles with publicly traded companies, focused on commercial finance & systems. She joined Taylor White in 2005 and was promoted to Principal & Chief Operating Officer in 2010. Heather leads Taylor White’s various service lines, including Permanent Placement, Consulting and Control Assurance. Heather earned a Master’s degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems from USF, and is a licensed CPA. She serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries Suncoast and Corbett Preparatory School. She is a graduate of Leadership Tampa, Class of 2007.

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