New York, NY
Industry: Professional, Scientific & Technical Services•
Posted 152 days agoby Kevin J. Collins
Our client, a major Professional Services firm is seeking, because of retirement, has retained my firm to findtheir new CFO. The Chief Financial Officer, in collaboration with the Executive Team, will direct the firm?s finance function and will play a vital role in the development and execution of the financial strategy for the business.
He/she will work directly with the firm's Executive and Business Committees, practice group leaders, department heads, office administrators and partnership on all financial aspects of the firm.
The CFO will manage a finance team of approximately 30 professionals which should be noted is significantly fewer in number and cost than similarly situated firms. The Company focuses on efficiency and effective cost control and looks for an individual that shares those goals.
Reporting to and working closely with the Chief Operating Officer, the CFO will oversee the financial function including budgeting, monthly forecasting, financial analysis, treasury, billing, financial systems, tax and financial systems.
The CFO is expected to be hands-on, a working CFO. Professional service company experience and experience providing on-going direction and leadership is required.
This person must have significant experience in a Professional Services firm, i.e. Global Law or Big Four Accounting firm.
The Chief Financial Officer Function will: Establish credibility with firm leadership and partners by developing a strong understanding of the Firm?s practice areas, clients, partners and administrative needs.
The law firm environment has a flat hierarchical reporting structure and the CFO will be dealing with many constituencies on a one-on-one level.
Partners, clients, department heads, office managers, employees, bankers, tax advisors, auditors, actuaries, consultants are the many constituencies who will be looking to the CFO for his/her knowledge and advise.
Establish credibility with the finance function staff by listening, communicating, doing and leading. It is crucial that the CFO understands the what, why and where of a law firm finance function so as not to cause our limited resources to focus on inefficient tasks. The CFO has to know the right questions to ask without at the same time bogging down productivity.
The morale in the finance function is very high and the CFO needs to continue to be accretive to morale. At the same time, the CFO needs to put his/her mark on the department through new initiatives, ideas and improvements. We are not looking for a CFO to come and maintain the steady state. The business demands are more pressing and challenging than ever and we need to ensure that the finance function is evolving as well to meet these demands. Develop a thorough understanding of the Firm?s staff and system reporting capabilities and provide appropriate recommendations and direction.
-Work closely with other department heads (e.g. marketing, IT, Recruiting) on enterprise wide projects that enhance the Firm?s offerings. For example, we want the CFO to come up with solutions and work on opportunities to organize and enhance data so that we may provide new and sophisticated reporting in regards to the Firm?s business and competitive environment.
Lead as a ?working CFO?, meaning maintaining the right balance between performing the work (e.g. analysis, reporting, project management) and yet not getting too deep in the ?weeds? to lose focus on the big picture.
A tenant of this Firm is that we have an attitude that one will roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to get an urgent task done when needed.
In order to participate one has to know how to go about getting the task done, the CFO needs to have a complete understanding of the finance function at all levels. For example, the CFO should expect to spend a significant amount of time within the accounting system (Elite). Securing a reputation for quickly understanding changes sought, setting priorities, and getting things done in an orderly, transparent sequence.
Maintaining and expanding on the progress that has been made in building a world?class finance team. This will encompass consolidating gains that have been made in staffing, systems, and processes while taking execution to the next level.
Supporting the firm?s business development efforts by ensuring efforts are coordinated across the commercial cycle from pricing through to billing, and participating directly in client relationships to ensure the firm understands their needs, and they understand the financial aspects of our value proposition.
Developing the coaching capabilities of the finance team to support partners in making good business decisions, including leading by example through building strong advisory relationships with partners across the firm.
Supporting, and teaming with, leaders of other administrative functions on areas including annual change at numerous levels: firm investments, practice group priorities, client development plans, staffing plan, operational budgeting, and capital budgeting.
The Chief Financial Officer will be a seasoned financial executive who has developed outstanding leadership capabilities through a career progression that has continuously expanded her/his experience and responsibility in all aspects of finance. The successful candidate will be able to point to specific accomplishments in the following areas: Team building: a track record of success in hiring/firing and developing individuals and a finance
Controllership skills: the successful candidate will ideally have spent several years running the core accounting process in a firm of comparable scale and complexity to the Firm. Tax and treasury: operation of large scale domestic US taxreporting, international tax design and reporting, development of cash forecasting and management processes, management of cross-border syndicated bank relationships, etc.
Reporting and analysis: demonstrated ability to create and implement short, rich, communication formats that quickly and simply convey a comprehensive snapshot of performance. Board?level interactions: building credibility, taking unpopular positions, being persuasive. Getting work done through others: gets the most and best out of the people; sets and communicates goals; measures accomplishments, holds people accountable; gives practical, impartial feedback. Additional
Qualifications: Partner?level presence and communication and interpersonal skills. Hands on, roll up the sleeves.
Must understand the ?Big? picture- Business acumen: able to see beyond the numbers to the true physical drivers of performance and needed change.
Must be accomplishment orientated: driven to, and energized by, getting things done. Accurate reader of people: can diagnose strengths, weaknesses, and identify potential; knows what skills are required to fill a job or role; hires the best.
Skilled at getting individuals, teams, and an entire organization to perform at a higher level and to embrace progress.
Builds motivated, high?performing teams; understands what motivates different people.
Experience: CPA and/or an MBA are preferred. Must come out of a Professional Services firm, i.e. Accounting or Law. 15+ years of professional growth through positions of increasing financial management responsibility.
Compensation: commensurate with experience and highly competitive