Being a CFO in transition means managing a moving workload. Besides managing the regular short-term and long-term executive responsibilities that come along with the job, there's also the process of self-directed onboarding that can leave you feeling like you're spinning multiple plates. There are audits to direct, processes to analyze and potentially rework, stakeholders to consider, and – at the end of those first days – far more transactional tasks than many CFOs would like as they decide what to delegate and which areas of the financial department require shoring up. Implementing anything new when you're new yourself can feel practically Herculean.
If you've already decided that outsourcing is the solution you need – or if you're part of the 21 percent of businesses for whom it's become painfully clear that a new outsourcing partnership is required – then you likely already have an understanding of what you have to do. It's just a matter of getting there. Personiv has been helping senior leadership transition to BPO for over thirty years, and here's what we've learned in the process:
First, Bring Stakeholders Up to Speed on Outsourcing's Value for the Organization
You began forging and fostering relationships with key stakeholders likely before your first official day on the job, and those relationships will turn out to be essential when you're presenting outsourcing as a finance solution. It's the other members of the leadership and executive team that will help remove barriers to outsourcing and offer fresh perspectives and constructive feedback as you start considering who you'll partner with as a provider going forward.
Once you have a thorough grasp on the best processes to outsource for your company are, make sure that you also understand the upsides and potential challenges of moving these processes out of house. You'll need to present any potential problems with outsourcing implementation to articulate the benefits of outsourcing to your team fully. A good BPO partner can help you identify these and proactively formulate the corresponding solutions. A very good one can help you put a pilot project together that can function as a kind of trial run. Proving value is crucial, so make sure you go into any strategic meetings with a full action plan.
Prepare for Outsourcing's Impact on Your New CFO Role
Change leadership means, well, that change is in store. Adequately preparing for it won't just help you present the full picture to your stakeholders. It will help you do what you were hired to do, which is to strategize the best use of the two most significant personal and professional resources at your disposal: time and money. Yes, outsourcing is a proven way to reduce costs, but when it's done well, it will free up a significant amount of your team's time. Now is the time to choose what you will use the additional cash and hours for.
Once leadership is prepared for the change, it's time to get your direct reports on the same page. Outlining expectations regarding benchmarks in the switchover process and present a timeline for any staffing changes or any changes to staff responsibility. That way, you can hit the ground running when it's time to step into the newly broadened strategic role you were hired to take on.
Consider What Outsourced CFO Services You Can Take Advantage of, Too
Maybe you've inherited a mess, or you're learning that a larger-than-anticipated portion (or even all!) of your company's processes requires an overhaul. Maybe you know that switching to a new ERP is a critical next step, or you're considering moving to cloud-based financial reporting. Wherever you're headed, one thing is universally true: you will need to adapt to your responsibilities and manage the workload, all while the role of CFO is changing, too. That means finding a partner you can trust to handle some of what was once traditionally the sole purview of the CFO.
For instance, when Personiv partners with financial leadership, we pair them with a team that's custom-designed to manage their companies' processes. This team is always led by a Six-Sigma certified manager, which can take a large portion of traditional CFO work off of a CFO's plate. Consider the natural degradation of any system. There are always improvements to be made and efficiencies to be discovered and deployed, which we still do with the approval of – and in tandem with – the clients we serve.
A lot of times, the only limit to a custom-created outsourcing solution is only limited to what a client has been able to consider, so finding a partner with demonstrated success in the area of outsourced financial and CFO services can be vital in creating yours. We can help.
Where to Go from Here: Request a one-on-one with Personiv's General Manager and VP of FAO Services