Part-Time CFO, Fractional CFO, Interim CFO, or Outsourced CFO?

Part-Time CFO, Fractional CFO, Interim CFO, or Outsourced CFO?

Your company might be ready to hire a CFO—a Chief Financial Officer, or the highest-ranking member of your finance team. CFOs perform a variety of roles, including:

  • Financial organization design
  • Hardware, software, and infrastructure investments
  • Strategic forecasting and planning
  • General financial advice and support

But, you may not be ready for a full-time, in-house CFO—luckily, you have four other options.

This guide will explore part-time CFOs, fractional CFOs, interim CFOs, and outsourced CFOs, helping you determine which option is best for your company’s financial growth. CFO solutions look different for every business—we are here to help you find the CFO that will fulfill your brand’s specific needs.

What is a Part-Time CFO?

A part-time CFO performs all the typical tasks of a CFO—which are, essentially, whatever your business needs to accomplish its operational goals—but their hours are limited. 

Part-time CFOs can take a variety of forms:

  • In-house, part-time CFOs who are on the payroll
  • Off-site, part-time CFOs who are on the payroll
  • Outsourced, part-time CFOs who bill for their time
  • A part-time interim CFO (who could be in-house, off-site, outsourced, or on-staff)

These distinctions can be granular—essentially, anyone who performs CFO duties for less than 40 hours per week could be called a part-time CFO. 

An on-site, part-time CFO who is on the payroll can be a useful player on your roster. They can be present for various events, including:

  • Mergers and acquisitions meetings
  • Networking events
  • Capital raise or investor presentations
  • In-person interviews for financial team candidates

But, in-house CFOs (part-time or otherwise) create an overhead liability—you must factor their wages, payroll taxes, and benefits costs into your overhead calculation. 

Part-time CFOs can fit a variety of molds, but they share one major characteristic—they work limited hours.

What is an Interim CFO?

An interim CFO is a team member or outsourced professional who is fulfilling the CFO role for a limited time. Companies might recruit (or internally promote) an interim CFO if a primary CFO:

  • Is terminated or resigns
  • Takes maternity or family leave
  • Retires

Interim CFOs can also support new companies’ efforts to establish a CFO role, knowing that they will eventually be replaced by a primary CFO—part-time, in-house, outsourced, or otherwise. 

Why hire an interim CFO?

  • To ease a transition – Whether you are establishing a CFO position or temporarily filling an existing role, an interim CFO can help bridge the gap while you search for talent or await a full-time employee’s return from leave.

  • To provide specialty expertise – Perhaps your company is planning for a major financial event—a merger or acquisition, a change in your legal structure, or a capital raise, for instance. If you have a current CFO on staff, they may not have first-hand experience with these specific circumstances, and an interim CFO with particular expertise could fill your primary CFO’s knowledge gaps.

  • Ad-hoc projects – Want to restructure your accounting procedures, purchase large equipment, or take out a loan for a facility construction project? An interim CFO can provide project-specific services, managing the financial aspects of a project so you can focus on other tasks.

What is an Outsourced CFO?

Both part-time and interim CFOs can provide in-house or outsourced services—let’s explore the latter in more detail. 

An outsourced CFO performs all of the duties of a traditional CFO, but they are not on the payroll. Instead, they work by themselves or for a financial services provider. Outsourced CFOs also:

  • Typically work virtually instead of on-site
  • Service at least one (but potentially many) client(s)
  • Work in collaboration with in-house team members

Outsourced CFOs can be full-time (though this is uncommon for small companies), part-time, or for an interim period.

What is a Fractional CFO?

A fractional CFO is a type of outsourced CFO—but, they do not provide full-time services. All fractional CFOs are outsourced, but not all outsourced CFOs are fractional.

Fractional CFOs can perform virtually any CFO duties, and they are available for:

  • Part-time work
  • As-needed or regular task completion
  • Interim services
  • Project-specific needs

Let’s explore a scenario:

  • Your company has been in business for three years with the goal of acquisition by a major brand. 
  • A fractional CFO—hired part-time or just to work throughout the acquisition process—helps you create a plan for selling your business.
  • The fractional CFO spearheads and oversees financial efforts to prepare for an acquisition—generating and internally auditing financial statements, creating forecasts and models, and budgeting for the sale process.
  • Once the business is on the market, the fractional CFO virtually attends necessary meetings, advises the business owner, and liaises with potential purchasers. 
  • The fractional CFO also oversees the financial elements of the acquisition contract, negotiates with the purchaser, and answers any questions from the purchaser about financial specifics.

Whether you terminate your contract after the acquisition is complete or continue to seek part-time CFO services, the fractional CFO can play a massively significant role in your company’s financial procedures—all while working part-time hours from their remote workplace. 

Which CFO Option is Right for Your Business?

If your business is CFO-ready, you have numerous choices to fill the position. Which CFO option is best for your company?

  • A part-time CFO can help small companies reach their financial milestones without committing to a full-time hire (and the requisite overhead).
  • An interim CFO can temporarily replace or supplement your current CFO while you complete a special project, search for a new hire, or wait for the primary CFO to return from a long-term leave.
  • An outsourced CFO is perfect for companies that want to save money on overhead, and who can manage their financial operations virtually with the help of an off-site expert.
  • A fractional CFO can provide part-time, interim, or project-specific expertise for companies seeking a sound investment in their financial operations. 

    CFO Hub: Outsourced CFO Services at Scale

    When your company is ready to grow—or currently navigating scaling implications—a CFO can provide substantial financial expertise and support. But, a full-time, in-house CFO is not your only option. 

    Whether you hire a part-time CFO, an interim CFO, an outsourced CFO, or a fractional CFO, this investment will take you one step closer to meeting your financial goals. 

    Crushing goals, overcoming hurdles, and streamlining processes are what CFO Hub is all about. From CFO services to back-office support, our solutions scale with your business, building a solid foundation for your financial team. 

    We can work in tandem with your in-house accounting team, take the reins on all of your financial operations, and everything in-between. No matter which role(s) CFO Hub experts fill, they provide high-quality, responsive services when companies need them most. 

    If your business is ready for the next level, CFO Hub can help. 

    Get a Free Consultation