Hire the top 3% of part-time CFOs

Toptal is a marketplace for top part-time, interim, and temporary Chief Financial Officers. Top companies and start-ups hire part-time CFO services from Toptal for their critical finance challenges.

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Hire Freelance Part-Time CFOs

Patrick Yeghnazar

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since June 17, 2019

Patrick is an investor and operator who managed a $2+ billion portfolio at Highbridge, a hedge fund purchased by JP Morgan. A former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Patrick has served as a CEO (energy / real estate development), a CIO (family foundation) and a partner in a capital raising consultancy and marketing agency. He freelances because he enjoys helping companies solve difficult problems.

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Jeffrey Fidelman

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since September 29, 2016

Jeffrey has been a trusted advisor for several years, focused on working with entrepreneurs and helping them build and grow their business, often from the ground up. He's successfully helped entrepreneurs raise more than $1 billion. His ability to work across a wide variety of industries is the result of a diverse investment background. Freelancing enables him to work directly with leadership to achieve efficient and positive results.

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Andy Vietor

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since April 10, 2017

Andy was recognized twice as an All-Star Analyst by the Wall Street Journal. He has been a strategist, operating executive, financier, and top-ranked industry analyst. As a freelancer, Andy advises a range of companies—from early-stage and middle-market to large caps—delivering customized solutions including effective investor presentations, dynamic financial models, and project finance structuring.

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Jeff Anapolsky

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since December 9, 2017

Jeff enjoys connecting special situations with alternative capital. Jeff is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School with experience in multiple industries. As a seasoned professional, he creates credible financial projections, solves operational hurdles, manages debt and equity financings, negotiates mergers/acquisitions/divestitures, and helps clients reach milestones and achieve targets.

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Aleksey N. Krylov, CFA

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since October 24, 2016

Aleksey served in CFO roles of public and VC-backed private companies. As investor, he contributed to 25+ private equity deals that have deployed $500 million. He has advised 50+ clients on raising $1.6 billion in equity in the healthcare, consumer, media, software, energy, and industrial sectors. He enjoys working with officers of early stage and mature small-cap firms. He freelances because it exposes him to a wide range of companies.

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Bertrand Deleuse

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since October 23, 2018

Bertrand is a finance veteran, startup advisor, ex-CFO of an acclaimed venture, and ex-investment banker. He has a 20-year track record advising 50+ clients on $16 billion of deals. He has crafted strategies and valuations in international litigation expert testimonies and is a seasoned problem solver and decision maker with expert facilitation skills. He advises ventures on fundraising, M&A, financial modeling, valuation, and project finance.

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Greg Barasia, CFA

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since August 3, 2019

Greg has executed over $20 billion of transactions from seed-stage venture investments to large corporate buyouts. His experience spans the capital structure and includes time at Lazard Frères and some of the top private investment firms on Wall Street. He has worked as as a fractional CFO, M&A and financing advisor, and board member. Greg enjoys freelancing as it allows him to work with a wider variety of clients and company maturities.

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Josh Chapman

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since August 25, 2016

Josh is an investment banker turned VC who lives in Denver, CO. At Morgan Stanley, he covered the world's top hedge funds and sold over $5 billion in IPOs for companies like Alibaba, LendingClub, GrubHub, and more. He also has experience in M&A, startup fundraising, and as a founder. Currently, Josh is one of the managing partners of Konvoy Ventures, a VC firm focused on esports and video gaming.

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Evan Fisher

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United StatesToptal Member Since August 24, 2017

Evan is a former investment bank VP offering a simple value prop: better-than-Wall-Street quality documents and advice at a fraction of the price. His work is responsible for over $1 billion invested in SMEs and has sat in every seat at the boardroom table as a director, shareholder, executive, and advisor. He enjoys helping businesses plan and refine their strategies, prepare for corporate actions, and hone their capital-raising approach.

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Juba Tsuladze

Freelance Part-Time CFO

United KingdomToptal Member Since February 7, 2017

Juba is the founder of angioClast, a Cambridge-based biotech startup focused on cancer research. Before entrepreneurship, Juba was a seasoned CFO with multi-industry experience and has worked on projects ranging from an equity sale of a $150 million telecom company to the turnaround of a $50 million hotel business. He joined the Toptal network to resolve diverse challenges in FP&A, M&A, buyouts, and strategic analysis.

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A Hiring Guide

Guide to Hiring a Great Part-Time CFO

The CFO is a pivotal role within any organization, of any size. In this guide, we will demonstrate the specific advantages that a part-time CFO can bring a business, in terms of addressing very specific needs with tailored sets of skills.

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Testimonials

Martin so far is a complete Rockstar. His first bit of work produced a tool for us to model and forecast our financials and is far and away worth every penny we paid and more. Just thought I’d share that with you.

Pete Pellizzari, CEO

Budder, Inc.

Erik has been an extremely valuable member of our team who has tremendous breath of experience with start ups in our lifecycle phase. What makes his contribution unique and highly effective is not only his excellent financial modeling skills and knowledge, but also the emotional intelligence with which he manages each relationship at Vault, understands our team dynamics, and helps us tackle start up challenges effectively. It is rare to find a part-time consultant who makes you feel like he/she is genuinely invested in the success of your company.

Romy Parzick, COO

Student Loan Benefits, Inc. dba Vault

Toptal has been an incredible key partner for Sidekick. As an early-stage start-up, we’ve leveraged both design and financial talent. The experience has been incredible, with those professionals bringing creativity, expertise, and advice to ensure Sidekick succeeds. My Toptal financial expert helped steer Sidekick’s business model, which resulted in an initial ROI of 650x! My experience with Toptal has given me great confidence in the future.

Doug MacKay, Founder / CEO

SideKick

Chris was great to work with and was always available on my schedule. His communication skills and personality were a 10/10. His outputs on the project were top notch and allowed us to develop more efficient forecasting and initiative prioritization frameworks. I would definitely use Chris again.

Chris Pozek, CEO

Veterans Rideshare

What really sets Toptal apart is the caliber of finance talent available in their network. I had a very specific and pressing need, and Toptal quickly matched me with the perfect person for the job. The expert produced a thoughtful and robust financial analysis that has ultimately allowed us to forecast and prioritize initiatives much more efficiently.

Chris Pozek, CEO

Veterans Rideshare

Scott had a lot of finance experience which he used to ask the right questions and help us do things more quickly than we would have done without him. The commission model is crucial to us being able to scale, he integrated seamlessly with our finance team and efficiently got us the outputs we needed.

Naushad Parpia, Founder and CEO

GSD

I was very impressed with the quality of finance talent in Toptal’s network. Our expert's experience was immediately evident through his insightful questions and the speed at which we could move. Toptal stayed on top of the process from making the match through to the successful completion of the project. I've already recommended Toptal Finance to my network.

Naushad Parpia, Founder and CEO

GSD

How to Hire Part-Time CFOs through Toptal

1

Talk to One of Our Industry Experts

A Toptal director of finance will work you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics.
2

Work With Hand-Selected Talent

Within days, we'll introduce you to the right part-time CFO for your project. Average time to match is under 24 hours.
3

The Right Fit, Guaranteed

Work with your new part-time CFO for a trial period (pay only if satisfied), ensuring they're the right fit before starting the engagement.

FAQs

  • How are Toptal part-time CFOs different?

    At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our part-time CFOs to ensure we only match you with talent of the highest caliber. Of the more than 100,000 people who apply to join the Toptal network each year, fewer than 3% make the cut. You'll work with finance experts (never generalized recruiters or HR reps) to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics. The end result: expert vetted talent from our network, custom matched to fit your business needs. Start now.

  • Can I hire part-time CFOs in less than 48 hours through Toptal?

    Depending on availability and how fast you can progress, you could start working with a part-time CFO within 48 hours of signing up. Start now.

  • What is the no-risk trial period for Toptal part-time CFOs?

    We make sure that each engagement between you and your part-time CFO begins with a trial period of up to two weeks. This means that you have time to confirm the engagement will be successful. If you're completely satisfied with the results, we'll bill you for the time and continue the engagement for as long as you'd like. If you're not completely satisfied, you won't be billed. From there, we can either part ways, or we can provide you with another expert who may be a better fit and with whom we will begin a second, no-risk trial. Start now.

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How to Hire a Great Part-Time CFO

Why Hire a Part-Time CFO?

The first reaction to this title would be, why would business owners just want a part-time CFO - they are a key player in the business? If your business is growing fast, or you have complex accounting projects to implement or even an important fundraising event coming up, a CFO is the obvious solution to look for. Traditionally, this would manifest in the form of a search for a full-time CFO, but at times a temporary one can bring certain strategic advantages. For example, consider the following scenarios:

  • First-time CFO: Key hires are critical. Getting them wrong can be costly from a time and financial perspective. Hiring a CFO on a part-time basis allows the management to dry test the role and see what results it brings and the traits that the role demands.

  • Firefighting: An experienced outsider can come in and solve a complex issue using earned knowledge from having already solved it in other organizations.

  • Caretaker: If there is an interim period where the CFO chair is vacant (gardening leave, maternity leave) an interim can come in and maintain continuity.

  • Jolt of ideas: At times, companies can become myopic in their views. Bringing in an outsider for a period can allow for fresh ideas from someone whose goals are very transparent.

  • The Closer: If there is a significant funding or exit event approaching, a part-time CFO can lead the business over the line. With timing and bonus related advantages, this can be an excellent way of achieving the desired result

In terms of cost, the median annual CFO salary in the USA is between $406,474 and $639,000 for public and private companies respectively. If a headhunter was used, their total fees can then add approximately $60,000 to the bill. This is not a cheap exercise and, if done poorly, can be expensive and bring hidden costs to the business from inertia. On the other hand, you could hire a seasoned professional as a part-time CFO within a matter of days and at an annual cost of between $156,000 and $208,000. This also comes with the flexibility of no termination fees and the license to roll the contract over on a weekly basis. The position could also change throughout the year, giving the opportunity to bring in specialists to tackle specific problems. Why have a generalist, when you can hire specialists at a third of the cost?

There are four key pillars to the role of the CFO; in this article, we will look at these roles in the context of how an interim CFO may be required and can help. Each section will also detail desirable characteristics that such a role requires.

Accounting

While they will not necessarily be preparing the financial statements, a CFO is the person who drives financial strategy and has to sign off on them and defend them to management, investors, and regulators. Control is a key element of the role along with ensuring that financial records are presented in a timely, accurate, and informative manner.

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The accounting process for a team with a tenured CFO is a well-oiled machine. Controllers and accountants will prepare the finances and the CFO will communicate business decisions down the chain, review the figures, and report them upwards. However, when seeking a part-time CFO, there is likely to be a more hands-on role required of them in the accounting process. Perhaps:

  • The process is a mess. Cracks may have been papered over before in processes such as reconciliations.

  • A modernization process is required with software.

  • A more strategic insight is required for the board pack and reporting channels.

  • The team needs to be trained for new business units/incorporating acquisitions.

Such a role will require a strong set of project management and delegation skills. An ability to communicate clearly and inspire a potentially jaded/overworked accounting department also cannot be overlooked. When assessing CFOs for this role, pay attention to their most recent roles and the prestige of their last company. A CFO who has worked in a large, traditional organization may not have received enough exposure in recent years to changing accounting technology and may not be able to cope with the stress and flux of an accounting clean-up operation.

Treasury

CFOs also oversee the treasury function of an organization and, depending on the size of the company, they will delegate day-to-day management of it to a treasurer. For that, the main concerns and responsibilities for a CFO are to oversee on a high level the following:

  • Risk: FX, interest rates, counterparties, operational risk

  • Liquidity: Working capital management and availability of credit lines

  • Capital Structure: Asset liability management and balance sheet composition

A strategic CFO will view the balance sheet as a ship that they sail and one that can be powerfully maneuvered to the benefit of the organization. During the Financial Crisis of 2008, balance sheets became the focal point of all businesses. Strategic CFOs were those that were both defensive and proactive to this. They pivoted their capital structures towards longer dated liabilities and shorter dated assets, giving their businesses the breathing space to operate and prepare for future opportunities.

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While from an accounting perspective a CFO will need book smarts and project management, on a treasury level, a strong understanding of the financial markets takes over. Prior experience of dealing with financial instruments will ensure that they are privy to the machinations of foreign exchange risk and the suffocation that poor working capital management can enact on new business growth.

The best CFOs are those that sit with a commercial hat on and view their role as as a business generator, not a supporter. If working capital management is poor, a company might be bleeding money away on unnecessary interest payments on borrowing. On the other side of the coin, unnecessarily high cash reserves are a sign of a CFO that doesn’t have creativity or proactivity.

A CFO with a treasury background in banking will be exceptionally strong on the liquidity side, but perhaps not so much on working capital. Conversely, a CFO with a manufacturing background will deviate to the opposite. For that, dependent on the pressing treasury needs in the organization, pay attention to the trained background of the candidate.

Capital Markets

Treasury duties are mostly concerned with cash flow from operations, in terms of cash flow from financing, a far bigger picture is required. Tapping capital markets and managing investors is a role that a CFO must instigate and lead; funding the company with significant capital ranging from small angel rounds, through to IPOs and then institutional bond issuances.

Part-time CFOs are normally hired especially for a role like tapping the capital markets. If the founding team is not experienced in this area, their negotiation power can be boosted by bringing in a skilled operator to lead the process. Again, this demonstrates the value of a part-time CFO, where specialist expertise can be brought in for a specific project. By the time a startup is raising Series A, where a priced round is being negotiated, they must be prepared to ensure that the appropriate funding arrives at a fair valuation. Yet, for early stage companies looking for seed rounds, it is more important to have a CFO that has the creativity to find investors and communicate the long-term vision for the business. Bringing in different part-time CFOs for different stages of fundraising can be strategically critical for startups.

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Capital can be raised through debt or equity, from public or private sources. The CFO should be able to clearly inform the management team both when the company should be raising and what type of instrument they need. The previously mentioned areas of accounting and treasury lead into this role, as effective management of those responsibilities will provide perfect insight as to when capital needs to be raised.

While the CEO is an important public figurehead for companies, the CFO also plays an important role communicating the financial side. They are expected to be made available to investors to provide deeper color to the financial statement numbers. Being able to communicate a vision for the the company based on numbers, not rhetoric, is important. When assessing candidates for this role, pay attention to their confidence and communication skills.

Business Strategy

Effective CFOs provide a different perspective in both the boardroom and on the business front line. They can be the voice of reason that drive revenue growth through margin expansion, pointing out cost savings and maintaining the cadence between making sales and making profits.

A CFO will have no particular bias to a certain business line, geography, or customer. Their metric is the financial stability and health of the company and for that, they can be a crucial form of impartial advice at a strategic level. The viewpoint of a CFO can be more long-term than other divisional heads, because their responsibilities stretch that far, for example: “can our debt be paid off in ten year’s time?”

Candidates that have a diverse mix of operating and financial roles throughout their career demonstrate these traits. Especially someone that has worked in sales or product development, where they can then marry the needs of the revenue generators with the support staff. According to Ernst & Young, when CFOs were asked to asses their input to strategy, the majority of respondents say that their most valuable input is across all strategy, as opposed to specifically within the realms of financial guidance:

Table 1: Survey of Where CFOs See Where Their Strategic Input Is Required

When interviewing part-time CFOs, you need to find someone that can grasp the business quickly and hit the ground running. Ask them questions related to your business, pose a commercial problem to them, and see how they respond. A confident and well-rounded CFO will relish this opportunity and will not shy away from it.

Summary

Gone are the days where CFOs are bookkeepers. They are a differentiated tool to have in in the management arsenal. The more flexibility and diverse career experience that they have the more they will be able to offer your business. Aside from paying attention to their classical training in finance (the bedrock for the job), look at their commercial nous and ability to grasp the bigger picture and link parts of the business together.

Featured Toptal Part-Time CFO Publications

Top Part-Time CFOs are in High Demand.

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