Chief Financial Officer – CFO – Accounting Director
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What are the tasks of a “transitional” finance and administration director? Faced with new extra-financial indicators, he or she must also manage financing backed by CSR indicators, the omnipresence of the themes of engagement and transition, as well as pressure from banks, investors, clients and end consumers. In addition, recruiting talent is a major challenge for many organisations, adding to the workload of the CFO.
Functions of the Finance Department
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Thanks to his solid expertise in his field, he guarantees the sound financial and administrative management of the company. He proposes his strategic vision and sets out the important financial choices. He ensures that the procedures recommended by the general management are carried out correctly and manages the departments for which he is responsible. The scope of a CFO’s activities can be divided into three categories:
- The regulatory aspect, through the regalian missions of supervision
- Financing and cash management by ensuring that the accounts are balanced
- Performance management via management control, calculation of margins by activity, by product and by market.
The decision-making process and the construction of development strategies for the structure make the CFO position a highly technical and cross-functional job.
Administrative and Financial Officer (AFO)
Responsible for coordination and planning, they also manage accounting, administrative and financial tasks.
The functions of the CFO are similar to those of the CFO, with the difference that the former, with a more junior profile, works mainly in very small companies, while the latter, with a more senior profile, works in larger structures.
Depending on the size of their company or group, they may be required to wear the hat of the HRD and are also likely to answer many legal questions.
The Director of Controlling (DCG)
It contributes to operational management by providing data and analyses that enable managers to make decisions. He/she formats and analyses the commercial, social, accounting and even environmental indicators of a company in order to optimise overall performance and to explain differences between forecasts and the results actually achieved.
When to use an interim CFO?
The Transitional Administrative and Financial Director works for a fixed period of time on a one-off mission in phases of development, change or crisis. In this context, he/she leads the teams entrusted to him/her and, after having audited the situation and in accordance with the expectations of the management committee, he/she makes proposals for action and organisation to achieve his/her objectives.
He puts in place measures to achieve the objectives at a technical level and a methodology capable of responding, after his departure, to the new challenges of the company.
While in recent years interim CFOs were called in to support restructuring tasks, today they are more likely to be called in to support organisations in their development or to stay the course in a delicate context. Moreover, although the interim manager continues to retain an image of a restructuring mercenary, these interventions now represent only 10% of the firms concerned.
Its priorities are as follows:
Priority 1: Steering financial performance
Priority 2: Optimisation of working capital and cash management
Priority 3: Development strategies, carbon neutrality and CSR performance
A favourable context for interim management
All of these profiles are particularly sought after today given the shortage of talent in the French corporate finance market. The increase in the average length of the assignment illustrates in part the difficulties in recruiting high-level profiles. Calling on a highly qualified profile allows the company to have time to recruit the financial profile on a permanent basis, especially when the position is in the region or has a high level of responsibility.
An interim CFO for which missions?
This manager’s track record is usually extensive and multifaceted.
Its intervention is based on several complementary axes:
- Financial planning and analysis, to help the general management in its decision making and strategic choices (business plan, management charts, audits: legal and contractual, acquisition or disposal, reporting…)
- The legal and fiscal dimension, both in terms of drawing up contracts and managing disputes, as well as acquisition, disposal or merger operations;
- The search for financing at the best cost with dedicated organisations
In agreement with the Management Committee and in conjunction with external service providers: accounting firms, auditors, banks, administration, etc. Our interim manager develops and implements the strategy for:
Plan, organise/reorganise and develop
Organising, reorganising, developing, these pilots have many roles, including harmonising and optimising accounting software during the implementation of new information systems such as ERP, the digital transformation of the finance function or the dematerialisation of invoices.
Addressing agility issues and articulating change
As we have recalled, the uncertain context in which long-term projection has become complicated requires great agility, internal reorganisation and the mutation of existing models.
The economic situation thus favours the use of this rapidly activatable managerial solution to meet the need to secure operating, cash flow and financing forecasts. Similarly, with inflation and rising raw material and energy costs, managers may need to strengthen their finance team to review sales or cost price calculations more regularly and thus act directly on the observed decline in margins. The CFO is able to provide stability in times of change and can develop and implement a sound strategy.
Carrying out exceptional strategic operations
They also intervene in the context of growth support (developing management tools, preparing high-level operations such as mergers and acquisitions, creating functions or supporting turnarounds (optimising income, improving productivity, etc.).
The interim CFO is therefore an integral part of the management toolbox in the context of many high value-added and strategic interventions for the development, competitiveness, sustainability and success of the business.
Interventions extended to many economic sectors
The managers of large French groups and ETIs are no longer the only users: large SMEs and start-ups also use them.
Industry remains an important client for transitional CFOs, but many other sectors of activity are now using them: construction, commerce, restaurants/hotels, associations/foundations, etc.
What is the profile of the interim CFO ?
Experts in their field, the Procadres International network of interim CFOs have extensive management experience. With a wealth of experience, they are recognised for their success in complex situations and are able to quickly assess the situation in order to take charge of one or more projects or to get the company back on track. They also have a real appetite for CSR issues, in addition to their financial skills.
With strong reactivity and flexibility skills, they quickly integrate with employees during the time of the interventions: by their presence, their listening and their natural leadership. Field intervention responds to their taste for action and their search for adrenaline in changing contexts.
Thanks to their business expertise, their ability to bring people together and their project-based approach, interim managers generate a motivating dynamic towards the company’s prospects.
Quelles sont les compétences requises ?
Between strategic development and the integration of complex procedures, he or she must demonstrate a high degree of adaptability. His/her responsibilities call for the following qualities :
- Technical, with mastery of the legal rules governing finance and accounting.
- Computer and analytical skills, for perfect use of management, analysis and reporting, and accounting software.
- Behavioural, in particular rigour, honesty and a sense of organisation and anticipation, leadership, resistance to stress and the ability to manage substantial workloads..
This manager is also required to interact with various internal and external players (lawyers, accountants, auditors, bankers). A great sense of interpersonal relations, communication and listening skills is therefore required. For large organisations, the manager must be completely English-speaking.
Why choose Procadres International?
Procadres International is a leading interim management firm, headed by a Chairman who has himself worked for many years as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in major groups.
Our firm is able to present experienced profiles within 72 hours, with a results-oriented approach. These are the levers to overcome the effects of the crisis and help organisations under pressure. On a more positive note, Procadres International supports the general awareness of managers of the need to transform and re-innovate their business model and to redesign their management.
In our community of managers, which has been regularly updated for more than 10 years, we have a large number of high quality administrative and financial director profiles, able to intervene at short notice to save you precious time.
Our consulting team is at your disposal to determine your needs in an analysis phase, then our research department selects from our network the manager whose skills best correspond to your wishes so that you make the most appropriate choice.
Each year, we carry out around forty finance assignments in the industry, distribution and services sectors, within SMEs and CAC 40 groups. And we have experience of situations that are probably similar to yours (falling margins, cash flow problems, takeover by a new shareholder, sale or acquisition of subsidiaries, IPO, LBO with investment funds, etc.) in France and abroad.
Interventions jointly managed by Procadres international management
- Financial control: development of indicators, optimisation and deployment of management procedures and software / reporting, …
- Accounting & taxation: creation of an ERP, support during a tax inspection, …
- Treasury & financing: deployment of a new software, financing (negotiations, loans, …)
- Financial communication: presentation of projects to shareholders and investors,…
- Management control: forecasts and business plans …
- Credit management: strategic definition, ramping up of collection and late payment management, employee training…
Punctually need an administrative and financial director, a management control director, an accounting director to optimise your business performance?