I’ll take a CFO who has owned a business before over anyone with a lot of practical experience and a lot of diplomas. My reasoning: the chief financial officer who has owned businesses actually understands the risk involved in being a business owner. Why? Because they too have been there. Choosing an outs sourced CFO with an owner’s perspective is a good move not only because they understand the risks and feel the risks of owning a business, they can identify those risks easily and quickly, making them much more valuable to the business owner than any CFO for hire who has never actually run a business themselves.
Until you feel how it feels to have an unsuccessful sale in retail, or know what it’s like to not be able to fill manufacturing orders because you did not have the right inventory or have not had enough cash flow to make payroll, or experience the pressure of employees underperforming you do not really understand. These are just a few of the issues that only business owners worry about and stay up nights thinking about, and no amount of practical experience or diplomas can replace it.
Employees and vendors do not worry about these issues nor do they have the owner’s perspective of these issues. If you’re looking for a CFO or temporary CFO, look for one who has owned a business before. Not only does this CFO have the financial and business acumen to be productive, but also a mind set that only a business owner has. In short, they can really perform like a business partner without owning stock. The CFO who has owned a business gives the business owner another set of business owner eyes and that is invaluable.