The Part Time FD Service
“A part time or portfolio Finance Director (“Part Time FD”) is an increasingly popular service used by Small and Medium Enterprises (“SMEs”) to access high level finance skills in an affordable and flexible way.”
Imagine the benefits to your business of having a fully qualified, experienced Part Time FD on hand whenever you need them, but costing the fraction of a full time Finance Director.
A common misconception with Part Time FDs is that they are just “consultants”, acting as interim caretakers until you source someone in-house. You can of course recruit Finance Directors or Financial Controllers for this specific purpose (see below) however these appointments are Interim roles not on-going Part Time FD roles. When considering a Part Time FD, think of a full-time in-house Finance Director or CFO role delivered in only a day or two each week.
- Easy access to valuable skills Relax knowing your business will benefit from the experience of someone who’s been there and done it from a senior finance perspective. Someone who has handled high value and complex transactions and who has helped with the strategic direction and financial planning of numerous other businesses. By recruiting a Part Time FD, you will be able to access these skills and experience much sooner than if you wait until you can afford to employ an FD full time.
- Building from experience Enjoy developing your finance and infrastructure team and processes (including perhaps IT, HR and premises functions) with the benefit of an experienced partner to advise you on key decisions.
- High calibre exposure to knowledge, experience and contacts Part Time FDs have often trained with global accountancy firms and can share the benefit of their exposure to the very best business practice with you and your team. They also tend to have a great network of valuable contacts that prove invaluable for solving many business challenges.
- Flexibility to provide FD expertise precisely when and where you need it Your growing business will need specialist support in different areas – such as funding, exit planning, cash flow forecasts and financial modelling – at different times. Often projects require input from other areas of the business, causing delays and so support in these areas is rarely required on a full-time basis. Save money using a specialist on a part time basis and only pay for when they are adding value rather than waiting for information.
- Scalability, flexing commitment up and down as your business needs develop Our expert Part Time FDs are happy to provide support on a very flexible basis, scaling up and down their hours depending on your business needs. Typically, the minimum is one day a month, but this time would be spread over several days and your Part Time FD would be contactable at any time in the month.
- Act as a sounding board and critical friend You built your business with the help of friends and even family. They stepped up, learned new skills and have formed a key part of your team. You don’t want to upset, disappoint or even offend the very people who got you where you are now. At the same time, you now need someone with experience and advanced skills to bounce ideas off, help you to make decisions and to potentially act as devil’s advocate to some of your plans. A Part Time FD is a much easier sell to your team than parachuting in a full-time unknown who might ruffle a few feathers just by being there!
Signs that you may need some Part Time FD help
As a business grows, the finance department can often get overloaded with additional tasks that naturally arise. This can result in some of the following signs that you may need to look out for:
- Lack of clear and up to date management information to support your decision making and planning This is probably the sign that you will notice first – as your business grows it becomes critical to keep track of important KPIs, cash flow etc. Often, in an overstretched finance department such information is not provided on a timely basis (if at all) and therefore is of little real value to you when it is produced.
- Increase in mistakes Everyone makes mistakes but if you’re noticing an increase in these coming from your finance department then this could indicate it is not keeping pace with the business’ growth. Late VAT payments, cash flow forecasts that are wildly inaccurate and duplicate payment to suppliers are all tell-tale signs that you might need some support from a Part Time FD.
- Finance staff continually working late It is quite usual for finance teams to work longer hours over the month end, however if your team is consistently working excessive hours then this could be a sign that resourcing is out of balance. Bringing in a Part Time FD can help clear up inefficient processes and ensure that your finance team actually supports your business.
- Low staff morale As a consequence of working long hours, chasing their tails (and yours!) and not achieving what they want to achieve, staff can easily become demoralized, unhappy and less able to deal effectively with mistakes.
Our rigorous assessment process is used to ensure that all candidates for any Financial Director role are thoroughly checked. This proprietary assessment process is a standard component of our recruitment process which, if you prefer to handle recruitment in-house, is available for you to make use of to ensure the quality of your candidates. Head here to find out more about this stand-alone tried and tested assessment process.
Interim Finance Directors and Financial Controllers
As already mentioned, there is a misconception that a Part Time FD is only used by a business on an interim basis to “plug a gap” whilst a permanent full-time resource is found.
Sometimes, however, there is a business need to hire an FD or Financial Controller on an interim basis, for example to cover a notice period whilst a new or replacement FD or FC is sought or to cover a specific project (such as implementing a new ERP system or doing a skills assessment of the existing finance team).
If you suspect your finance department needs some support why not download our guide that will help you ask the right questions: