“I’m really impressed with your new CFO,” I said to “Kevin”, the CEO of a startup I’m working with. “I love his attitude, and I love what he had to say about joining your company.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” Kevin said to me. “He’s (the new CFO) hit the ground running, and he’s taken a ton of work off my plate already!”
“That’s great to hear,” I said.
Your company is going to have to be big enough to attract a great candidate.
“I am so glad I waited until our ARR got to $10 million,” Kevin said. “With us growing at the rate we’re growing (80% per year), I really need the help.”
“Yeah, I know,” I replied. “A year ago, he wouldn’t have been interested in your company. Now, he can see a clear path to you being a billion dollar business.”
You want someone who’s been there and done it already to be your startup’s CFO.
“When I looked for CFOs a year ago, I wasn’t seeing the same quality of candidate,” Kevin said. “Experienced CFO’s weren’t interested. Instead, I was interviewing Controllers that wanted to step up and be CFO.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable.”
“There were two candidates I remember from that time,” I said. “The first was the one that had worked as a controller for (a public company in Kevin’s space), and the second was the one that had been in Private Equity.
“I am so glad you passed on both of them and waited.”
“Me too!” Kevin said.
In some positions, it’s okay to hire someone that’s inexperienced. However, Kevin made the right decision by waiting to hire an experienced CFO.
The reason it was a good decision is the risk/reward ratio works for you by hiring someone that’s experienced. An inexperienced CFO could destroy your company.
A great CFO will contribute in many different areas, strategically and tactically.
“He’s already helping me in all sorts of different ways. He immediately took HR off my plate. Now, I don’t have to forecast how much money we need for payroll each time.
“That’s huge!” Kevin exclaimed.
“You’re just scratching the surface of what he can do for you,” I said. “For example, I know you have a board meeting next week…”
Before I could complete my thought, Kevin completed it, “Yeah, ‘Brian’s’ on it. He’s helping with the agenda, he’s creating all the waterfall charts I need, and he’s going to have the updated financials ready for the meeting.”
“That’s great, Kevin. That’s exactly what I would expect. And, it’s only going to get better and better from here.”