Should I Hire a Part-Time CFO or Controller?

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mACCOUNTING's clients frequently ask me if a part-time CFO or part-time controller makes sense for their entrepreneurial company. 

My response is simple: YES. 

Businesses gain the expertise they need at a fraction of the cost. Most small businesses have many of the same needs as a large business when it comes to the finance and accounting function. 

The biggest difference is that they don’t require support on a full-time basis (with a hefty salary and benefits). At some point in the evolution of a small business, the business owner reaches the conclusion that he or she needs to get more from the accounting or finance function.

Maybe they feel that they need better reporting/instrumentation. They may also feel the need to prepare a forecast to help them better plan for the future and understand the cash requirements of the business. Maybe it's as simple as sensing the need to prepare a week-to-week cash flow plan that they can follow when cash is tight.

It's at this point that I see many small business owners make a classic mistake; they hire a full-time employee. While the needs are real, the job itself often does not require a full-time staff member.

I typicaly suggest that owners consider the idea of a part-time controller or part-time CFO to fill this obvious void. By bringing in a finance/accounting expert on an as-needed basis, a business owner is able to cover the entire spectrum of needs for the business in a much more cost- effective manner, while still gaining much needed clarity on their financial position.