Part-time CFO a good fit for some

Part-time CFO a good fit for some

A growing number of companies are filling their executive offices with part timers or using outsourcing firms for executive work, employment consultants said.

“If they can buy it in pieces, it would be more valuable to them than if they made the full leap,” said Small Business Association of Michigan President Rob Fowler, referring to companies that are growing to the point that they have executive jobs that need to be done, although the needs are less than full time, The Detroit News reported Saturday.

For a growing company, the second in command is often the position that is not particularly needed full time.

Two companies in Michigan, Michigan CFO Associates and Just-in-Time CFO Solutions LLC, cater to the need for part-time chief financial officers.

The companies cater to second-stage companies, which are defined as companies with revenue between $1 million and $100 million and employ between 10 and 100 workers.

These are companies that sometimes find themselves in a “no man’s land, where they’re too big to be small and too small to be big,” Fowler said.

“They’re not ready to justify the expense (of new full-time CFOs), but their needs outstrip their current capacity,” he said.

Because of their size, these are also companies that are turning the corner in terms of how sophisticated their financial systems need to be. In addition, they are often poised to grow, which can make or break a firm.

“Growth needs to be managed,” said Just-in-Time CFO Solutions Principal Michael Rodocker. The trend can also provide a new lease on life for CFOs caught without a job due to the recession or near retirement age, but not wanting to work full time.

Sheri Pawlik, who now works through B2B CFO, took a buyout offer from Chrysler Group in 2007 and now works as part-time CFO for eight companies, enjoying the new flexibility in her schedule. “It takes a few months for the CEO to trust you and realize you really do have their best interests at heart,” she said.