The hired gun
An Interim FD relishes a challenge and thrives on goal-orientated projects across a diverse range of companies and situations. He or she is under significant pressure to deliver within weeks rather than months. They are a hired gun, engaged for a short period to sort out a specific problem or situation that the businesses’ existing finance team are unable, for whatever reason, to address. This could be:
- Leading a turnaround situation
- Putting systems and controls in place for a fast growth company
- Preparing a business for sale
- Acquiring a new business
- Launching a new product or division
- Setting up an overseas subsidiary
- Acquiring funding (what is the right route for investment for the growth potential start-up?)
- When a start-up business is unsure of their exact requirement for a permanent FD and requires the services of an interim FD while the complexity or size of business becomes clearer
- Setting up a joint venture
- Covering an absence (e.g. long-term illness or maternity leave)
- Covering the unexpected departure of the existing FD
The big challenge for any business requiring the services of an interim FD is finding ‘the right one’. Most interim FDs come from two routes:
- a professional interim FD moving from one project to the next;
- or an FD who finds themselves unexpectedly out of work and has invoked ‘Plan B’ while they find another permanent position.
The problem for the out of work interim FD is although during the day they are working with their interim client, really their heart isn’t in it. Their focus is on finding the next permanent opportunity which can lead to them leaving projects early, unfinished and without recourse from the client.
How to avoid the lone wolf
Unfortunately, it is too easy for an interim to become a lone wolf. The professional interim does not lay down deep routes and is always ready to move on quickly, painlessly with the least amount of fuss. Dangerously, the lone wolf can build or prolong the project with their client which often involves creating an empire and moving into areas of finance that they are overqualified to deliver.
A vital resource for short-term help
Interim FDs are a vital resource for clients who need short-term help or who are unable to find or can not afford the right person on a permanent basis.
The most effective FDs avoid the lone wolf syndrome by surrounding themselves with other like-minded and capable individuals knowing that they can put the right resource at the right level when it is required and have such an abundant source of future projects that they no longer need to be so protective of their one and only.
The secret is to look for a professional who has built a showcase of skills, where the projects are not some random act of fate, They should have access to a full funnel of opportunity, enabling them to find the right type of client, thereby facilitating the development of their career.
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