When you join a company as interim CFO you are expected to bring value even from your first week. This is daunting as often it can take a couple of months (even more for larger companies with many subsidiaries and multiple verticals) to fully understand a business in sufficient detail. Also it takes a few weeks to learn how good the team in place are. So what to do so you can actually bring value to the company in a manner where you have confidence under such a tight timeframe?
In an ideal world you will have formed a 100 day plan – however, chances are if you are being brought in as interim CFO – the company may not have 100 days’ cash left; or you are being brought in to fix some specific issue or run a specific project (ie, be it budgeting, working a transaction or an integration after a transaction). If time is on your side, take at least a month to form a 100 day plan and here are the five areas where I would focus:
I was tempted to put “cash” down for all five and frankly, “analysis” in the number one area (which is cash!) will lead you to all other areas of importance:
20% of the product range will supply 80% of the profit
Being an interim CFO, much is expected of you – you must quickly get a grasp on the figures, the finance team and the strategy and start adding value to the CEO. Outside of the above - as much time as possible should be spent with the CEO and other C-Suite privately to see where the finance team can help ease their pain. Your business instincts should then kick in to lead you to the major issues – then you really roll your sleeves up.
By John Rowland
John is currently in Nairobi, Kenya as interim CFO for Bridge International Academies
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