Interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

What can an interim CFO contribute with?

An interim CFO is an acting CFO who can lead a change, transformation, acquisition, threat of closure or fill a vacancy when it is necessary to have the right skills and leadership. An Interim Manager can start the assignment immediately and bring excellent leadership skills and is experienced in driving and implementing changes. 

Finance first! First, the company must be financially stabilized, then you may think about the strategic and operational realignment.

Let us know what your business challenges are!

What specific competencies does an interim CFO have?

The interim CFOs we work with have at least 15 years of experience in operational change work from various companies and industries, usually in an international context. Deep knowledge and skills of the finance function, from accounting, including consolidated accounting, and reporting, to business control, financing, and implementation, is a requirement. Most of them also have experience of IPOs, acquisitions, carve-outs, buy-outs, etc. All our partners are verified good leaders with a habit of handling emergency situations where delivery from day one is necessary.

An interim manager from outside is free from the company’s history and thus focuses on crisis management and the future.

Why hire an interim CFO?

A problem needs to be solved – hiring an interim CFO is a safe and cost-effective solution. When the business is facing a change, need to perform a turnaround, integrate an acquired company, implement a new business system, or divest a company, an interim can run the project quickly and with a committed and motivated team – with sustainable results. Sometimes you need to bridge a vacancy and here an interim CFO can quickly come in and ensure that the finance function continues without interruption.

An interim CFO can also support the existing CFO in a specific project or sub-part. Our customers can be found in listed and privately-owned companies, as well as in the public sector.

By engaging an interim, the business achieves rapid results in the form of increased growth, reduced costs, more effective processes, implemented change, or as support during the time you are recruiting a permanent CFO.

An interim CFO creates results from day 1.

Quick results from day 1

By engaging an interim CFO, your business achieves quick results in the form of increased growth, implemented change or as support during the time you are recruiting a permanent CFO. The interim is part of the management team, reports to the CEO, and is used to collaborate and communicate with the board, owners and other stakeholders. We also appoint business-critical roles such as Interim Finance & Controlling Manager.

11 examples of when you may need an interim CFO

1. To drive a transformation

The role of the CFO is often to create stability in a major change, a transformation. A transformation can mean many different things, ranging from changing the business model, entering new markets, or expanding or adapting a business to new external conditions. During all changes, the company’s basic routines and processes in the financial area must still work, something that is the CFO’s core responsibility. The CFO often also has a strategic role alongside the CEO and the management team in identifying the major changes that need to be made, and in the practical work in the actual implementation. 

2. To lead a turnaround

The CFO’s role is often to lead the processes when a company has profitability problems. To perform a turnaround, an analysis needs to be made to find out where the problem areas are, to be able to develop and implement a strategy to overcome the issues. In severe situations, the best solution can be to liquidate the company. The interim CFO leading the turnaround will assess the causes of the situation and develop a strategic plan that needs to start at once. Usual measures are, for example, lowering the costs of the production, make the purchasing organization more efficient, renegotiate with the suppliers, banks and investors, and to analyze the needed skills for the transformation. During a turnaround, the focus must be on processes, structures, costs, and sales. To be successful, you will need a leader who has done this several times before and the ability to motivate and engage the organization.   

3. To carry out acquisitions or divestments

When performing an acquisition or a divestment, there is often an impatience from owners and board to see their expectations become reality. But if the process goes too fast and is not properly controlled, things can go wrong. To lead the complex process of M&A or divestment, you need to have extensive experience in everything from analyzing new business opportunities, to negotiations with banks and investors, find the right buyer, perform a due diligence, etc. 

Driving and leading these kinds of complex processes require energy, skills, and the right resources. Some businesses lack the needed competence internally to run a complex and business-critical process. To achieve the goals, an interim CFO efficiently leads the different workstreams in a sustainable way and secures the expectations of the CEO, board, and owners. 

4. To conduct an IPO

An IPO is a time consuming, expensive and very complex process. To carry out an IPO (Initial Public Offering), a deep knowledge of all the steps in the processes, regulations and which stock market is right for the company, is needed. The company’s CFO is usually the one to lead and run the IPO and need to ensure that the right expertise in internal auditing, risk management, investor relations, regulatory compliance and legal are at hand. Sometimes this means that the CFO has difficulty managing the day-to-day business and it is, therefore, a good idea to bring in external support in the form of an Interim financial adviser, IPO expert or CFO. An Interim Manager can lead the entire process, or support in helping with documentation and data, establish investor relations programs, ensure that the right internal audit processes are in place, etc. CFOs with experience in conducting IPOs know how to communicate with external stakeholders and have well-established relationships with investors and analysts. In addition, they bring security to both process and organization. 

5. Set structures and processes

The CFO’s core task is that the financial processes and structures, such as reporting, business control and forecasting, are functioning. Requirements for efficiency, speed, and accuracy make this a challenging area. If the right structures and processes are missing, or you need to set new processes due to growth, a merger or due to a lack of leadership, it is good advice to engage an interim CFO to get everything working – on time, with the right numbers. 

6. To build a finance function

In a company’s development, the finance function must keep up and be adapted to current conditions. This applies to both competence and processes. As a company grows, new demands and regulations are put on the finance function. An interim CFO can build a finance function that is scalable, sustainable and has the right competences. 

7. To scan the business to find problem areas

Your company is losing money and you do not know why and where the problem lies. Analyzing the company to find the reason to the problem is a complex project and the management team is not always the best-suited person to lead the analysis. To bring in an experienced person from outside the organization, with fresh eyes, and who dares to question old truths, is a quick, secure and effective way to find out where you are losing money and why. The interim CFO/Project Leader will set a strategy and lead the actions that are needed. Meanwhile, your organization can keep the focus on the business while the interim identifies and eliminates the issues. 

8. Add calm and peace of mind to the function in the absence of the right leadership

When the previous CFO did not have the right leadership skills, or if the role has been vacant for a period of time and the organization is unmotivated, worried and performing poorly, an interim CFO will quickly stabilize the situation and take charge. When the new CFO takes over, the processes are in place, and the team is performing and motivated. 

9. To bridge a vacancy

It takes time to recruit and there may be no internal alternative who can be appointed in the meantime. An interim CFO can quickly come in and maintain stability. When the new CFO takes over, the processes are in place, and the team is performing and motivated. 

10. To support/lead specific projects

Projects are part of everyday life in all organizations. If you do not develop, you go backwards. But lack of time often hinders the CFO from driving the needed projects. An experienced interim Project Leader will quickly set the strategy, milestones, and lead the project(s) while the CFO runs the daily business. 

11. To lead the implementation of new business systems

Developments in business systems are constantly advancing, not least in terms of digital solutions and automation of processes. The CFO needs to keep abreast of developments, and take responsibility for introducing new systems and/or further development. Introducing systems that create added value and lead the implementation without taking too much energy and time for the organization is an art that interim Project Leaders fully master. By engaging an interim you can be sure that your new system is implemented on time and budget.

A successful Interim Manager listens first, then he acts

Quality, power and commitment

Management Factor has been supporting clients from a winde range of industries with interim management since 2001. As market leader, we stand for the highest quality of our services, both professional commitment and realisation strength. We offer Interim Management and Executive Interim Management solutions to critical and complex business challenges.

FAQ about Interim CFO

What roles can an interim CFO fill?
  • CFO /Chief Financial Officer
  • Financial Manager/Director
  • Interim Project Manager for a specific project such as M&A, IPO or setting processes
  • Head of Accounting/Head of Group Accounting
  • Head of Business Control/Head of Group Business Control
  • Project Lead IPO, Carve-Out or M&A
  • Treasury 
  • Anti Money Laundry
When do I need to hire an interim CFO?
  • In the event of a transformation or a turnaround
  • In insolvency situations
  • In case of M&A, integration, or carve-outs
  • Preparing and performing an IPO
  • To implement processes and structures
  • In case of a lack of competences or leadership
  • If there is a need for support in specific projects
  • In the event of a vacancy
  • When implementing a new business system
Why choose to engage an interim CFO?

An interim CFO is a safe and cost-effective choice when your business is facing a change, a turnaround, integrations, implementations of new business systems, acquisitions or divestments or when you need to fill a vacancy. An interim CFO can also step in and support the existing CFO in a specific project or module. This applies to both listed and privately-owned companies as well as in public activities. By engaging an interim CFO, your business in a short time achieves rapid results in the form of increased growth, implemented change or as support during the time you recruit a permanent CFO.

Read more about when it is a good idea to hire an interim here.

Are you specialized within a special industry?

No, we cover and have experience of, all industries within the commercial business and the public sector.