What to Look for When Hiring a CFO

Hiring a CFO is a big step. We will go over what you should look for to make the right choice.

You Need a CFO. Here’s What to Look For:

CFOs manage all aspects of a company’s finances, and it is a role many small- to medium-sized businesses would like to fill. Before beginning the hiring process, it’s important to determine if your company truly needs a CFO. If you conclude that a CFO is needed at your company, you’ll want to be sure to take the right steps during the hiring process. Read on to learn what traits to look for when hiring for this important position.


The first thing you should look for in a CFO is accounting experience. This is not a role that can be effectively filled by even the most seasoned operational leader if they don’t have the right expertise in accounting and finance. Because management expects real-time financial data and analysis for decision-making, experience in cloud-based accounting applications and integrations is key, so someone with experience as a cloud CPA may be beneficial.

Past Achievements & Successes

Experience isn’t the only thing you should consider. What the candidate actually did in their previous roles is also very important. A candidate’s achievements can demonstrate initiative as well as how successful they were at managing the finances of their previous company. Past achievements and successes should also be considered if you are looking to hire a financial consulting firm or an outsourced CFO. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation isn’t a must-have, but it’s usually indicative of the skill set a candidate should have.

Proactively Armed with Data

A CFO must do more than keep clean, retroactive financials. Your business needs financial data to inform strategy and tangible goals it should be reaching. Without someone dedicated to the financial perspective of those goals, execution will always be at risk. Concurrently, proactive forecasts require good data, so a CFO should be knowledgeable in putting accounting processes in place that achieve timely and accurate data.

Fit & Diversity

It’s important to consider cultural fit when hiring any employee. This is especially true for an executive position because you will want them to share the same values and goals as your company. However, it’s also important to hire for diversity. An outside candidate of a different background will bring new ideas and experiences as well as a fresh perspective to the table.

Hiring a CFO is a big step, but it can be a huge asset to your business, if done the right way.

Part-time & Virtual CFO

A new trend that is gaining traction is to hire a part-time or virtual CFO. This allows your business to get all of the benefits of having advising services when you need it, without the employee overhead. For a virtual CFO to be truly effective, he or she must make sure that they are in sync with all of your current practices. Having a virtual CFO can save a lot of money and provide essential financial direction. Cloud-based bookkeeping and reporting can give a virtual CFO the real-time information needed to advise you of the value you need. Bundling these services of cloud-based bookkeeping and virtual CFO with a single firm can achieve the best cost savings and value for your business.