Top Fractional Chief Financial Officer Companies
Last Updated: May, 24, 2023
In an era where entrepreneurial activity has reached all-time records, founders and Chief Executive Officers find themselves challenged by the fact that even though they excel at their technical skills, which were crucial to developing the idea, they lack the financial knowledge and expertise required to navigate the waters when the business starts to grow.
That’s the exact reason why Fractional CFO services have been gaining popularity among entrepreneurs, as they can delegate this important business task to someone with the training, experience, and network to help them succeed both technically and financially.
If you are currently looking for the Best Ranked Fractional CFO services of 2023, here’s a list you can browse through to find the one that suits your needs:
#1. Pro Business Plans | CFO
Located in: Virtual | Website: business-plans.com/cfo
Highlights: Pro Business Plans is a business consultancy founded in 2012 that has a relatively new Fractional CFO practice. They are selected as the best because rather than providing the services in-house, they match visitors with prescreened CFO providers whom they have developed relationships with over the years based in the client’s sector and functional requirements.
What they do best: Fractional CFO, Financial Controller
Located in: Virtual | Website: toptal.com/finance/interim-cfos
Highlights: Toptal is a freelance platform for high-performing consultants across a variety of functions and industries, including fractional CFO. They are typically less expensive considering they are not an agency and match you with a freelancer that is often working part-time while fully employed.
What they do best: Financial Advisory, Fractional CFO Services
Located in: Virtual | Website: paro.ai/strategic-advisory-cfo-services
Highlights: A business that aims to establish a close relationship with CEOs who want to get high-level counseling from experienced CFOs. The company offers advisory services in areas such as traditional CFO duties like reporting, tax planning, and cash flow management, to more complex transactions such as M&As and capital raising.
What they do best: Financial Advisory, Interim CFO services, Fractional CFO services.
#4. Preferred CFO
Located in: Virtual | Website: preferredcfo.com
Highlights: Preferred CFO is one of the oldest Fractional CFO service providers. Most of their work is done by their CEO, Jerry Vance, which makes things more transparent than many agencies. They are on the higher end of budgets and lack sector diversification, but come in as a solid option for anyone seeking experienced well-rounded part-time CFO talent.
What they do best: Fractional CFO, Financial Controller
#5. CFO Share
Located in: Denver | Website: cfoshare.org
Highlights: A business specialized in providing top CFO talent to companies who are looking for help in bookkeeping, financial projections, budgeting, forecasting, refinancing debt, or reshaping their working capital.
The company offers to connect these businesses with potential candidates so they can interview them to find the right match depending on the industry they specialize in or their specific skills within the financial field.
What they do best: Fractional CFOs for Startups, Bookkeeping, and Business Acquisition Analysis.
#6. Scale Finance
Located in: Charlotte | Website: scalefinance.com
Highlights: A firm comprised of seasoned financial experts that advise firms in matters related to M&A transactions, Business Valuations, and Strategic Financial Planning, along with providing CFO & Controller services. The company works as a legal firm with partners and associates and they have advised many clients since they opened up for business in 2006.
What they do best: CFO & Controller Services, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Valuation, Strategic Planning.
Located in: Virtual | Website: pilot.com
Highlights: A virtual firm that provides full-range Fractional CFO services for both small and mid-sized businesses that are looking for professional advice from a high-level financial expert who can help them in optimizing their financial strategy, resolve any cash flow challenges, prepare for or manage growth, raise capital, forecasting and budgeting or potential mergers and acquisition preparation.
What they do best: Fractional CFO & Controller services, Financial Strategy.
#8. The CFO Center
Located in: New York (Virtual) | Website: cfocentre.com
Highlights: The CFO Center recruits highly experienced CFOs with a minimum of 7 years of hands-on experience to provide their Fractional CFO services to businesses of any size. Their main services include counseling on matters such as exit strategies, banking relationships, risks assessments, reporting, and internal systems, along with cash flow management, budgeting, and other traditional services provided by Fractional CFOs to companies who wish to put their financial affairs in order without incurring in the expense of having an in-house CFO.
What they do best: Exit Strategy, Reporting, and Internal Systems.
#9. UpWork (Budget Option)
Located in: Virtual | Website: upwork.com
Highlights: As a long-standing and the largest platform for freelancers UpWork has perhaps the largest network of freelance service providers globally. While they do have a network of CFOs and those with financial services expertise, they allow anyone to join their platform with a valid ID and limited security measures make it a better choice for those seeking a lower-cost service or for less technical or complex tasks such as bookkeeping and minor accounting.
What they do best: Bookkeeping, Administrative Tasks, Basic Accounting
Commonly Asked Questions about Fractional CFOs:
1. What kind of help can you regularly expect from a Fractional CFO?
A Fractional CFO is your go-to counselor in financial matters related to your business. He is the person you’ll ask financial questions to, ask for guidance and benefit from his network of affiliates and partners to accomplish your goals. Here is a list of a few things a Fractional CFO can help you with:
Cash Flow Management:
Understanding your cash flow cycle and your current working capital situation is essential to make sure your business has all the funds it needs when they are needed. A Fractional CFO will help you in building a cash flow budget by forecasting your money inflows and outflows to spot any potential shortages or excess funds that can be invested wisely and profitably.
If you are about to deploy funds into certain investments, you have to make sure you analyze their potential returns to pick the best ones among the full range of alternatives. A Fractional CFO can work with you in analyzing each opportunity through different financial modeling tools, in order to present you with the most profitable alternatives.
If you are currently seeking to raise capital for your business, a Fractional CFO can help you develop sound financial projections that reflect both the reality of your business and the path to where it is headed in a way that a seasoned investor will feel assured that the figures were estimated by a high-level financial expert.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
If you have received an offer from a buyer or you are actively looking for one, you’ll need a seasoned financial expert by your side guiding you through the process of valuing your company fairly, completing the due diligence, and making sure the deal goes as expected.
A Fractional CFO can do all that, and they often come with a network that can stand by your side to help you with legal matters, tax advice, and exit strategies to make sure your transaction is settled adequately. Additionally, if you are on the buy side, you’ll definitely want to bring someone on board to make sure your negotiations with your prospective target are made based on sound financial analysis.
Strategic Financial Planning:
A growing company is one that needs resources. If you know where you are headed, you’ll probably find yourself looking for the funds to get there, and here’s where a Fractional CFO can become a strategic partner to provide you with a sound financial plan that allows you to both set ambitious goals and find the funds to make them happen.
Budgeting & Forecasting:
The day-to-day financial operations of your business require some planning. By developing a budget, you can make sound decisions related to different areas of your company including marketing, human resources, or IT, that remain within your budget, so you can achieve your profitability goals.
A Fractional CFO can help you in building such a budget and also in forecasting your business's financial results for the next 6 to 12 months so you can make any adjustments needed now to achieve the results you expect.
2. When am I ready for a Fractional CFO?
A lot of companies seeking the assistance of a part-time or even full-time CFO are not in fact a good fit for their services. Rather than actually needing a CFO, an accounting or bookkeeping service may in fact be a better option.
The primary distinction of hiring a CFO hinges on your requirement of strategic intelligence by their ability to work with C-Level team members to define strategies, and processes, and set up controls in place. This means somewhere between a pure startup with no revenue or funding and a company large enough to require sophisticated financial planning and strategy frequently enough to demand a full-time team member.
3. Should I hire an Individual or Agency?
When it comes to Fractional CFOs there are typically two types, freelancers which often come alone and offer their services independently, and agencies which come with a team of accountants, bookkeepers, and financial analysts employed at their firm.
The selection here is entirely dependent on your specific needs. If you need only the strategic planning and processes perhaps hiring an individual is a better option, but if you need a full finance team for several aspects, hiring an agency may be better since they already have experience working with the Fractional CFO.
4. Is a Freelance Network better than an Agency?
A freelance network like Pro Business Plans’ CFO network, TopTal, and Paro can be a great option to get a high-quality individual or boutique agency. However, hiring a full-service firm such as a Preferred CFO is also a great option. One potential advantage of working with a network is you have an unbiased assistant to help you select the best candidate and often times you have access to a wider talent pool, however, these can come at some additional fees to agencies, which are often full-service and faster without the markup, but may not offer as much customization with a smaller talent pool limited to its in-house team. Each has its unique pros and cons and it is important to interview all options to find the one most suitable for you and your unique needs.
5. What is the cost of a Factional CFO service?
Many different individuals and agencies and firms have their own pricing schedules that range depending on the term and scope of services. Some full-service agencies can charge upwards of $20,000 per month for a three-month retainer or more, whereas smaller freelancers can charge as low as $50 per hour or less on an hourly basis. Those seeking bookkeeping services or accounting could be even potentially less, however, they come at extra costs of having to be managed and not being as experienced as their more expensive alternatives.
6. What should I look for in a Fractional CFO?
Not all Fractional CFOs are the same and generally, you can segment them into two areas. Functional Ability (I.e. what you need them to do like M&A Advisory) and Sector Ability (I.e. the industry you work in such as BioTech).
The more experience and knowledge they have about the industry and what you need them to do, generally speaking, the better even if the other CFO may have better credentials by having worked at a more prestigious firm or have a superior educational background. However, this isn’t always the case, so its important to take this in the perspective of the broader context.
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