WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Add chief financial officers to the list of items on the takeout menu.
CFOs 2 Go, based in Walnut Creek, offers start-up and emerging growth companies the opportunity to tap into the knowledge and skills of experienced CFOs, while staying within their often limited budgets.
"We offer only the best and the brightest people," explained Robert Weis, himself a "managing CFO."
"Initially we were a consulting firm that did primarily consulting and part-time staffing. Today, most of our CFOs provide certain expertise that individual companies are looking for as a result of their business plan."
Mr. Weis cited as an example "IPO CFOs," financial officers who are experienced and skilled at taking companies - particularly emerging growth firms - public. "That person would typically go in, at first, about one day a week and evaluate the company relative to an IPO," he explained. "Other part-time services we offer include an international CFO program, for strong domestic companies who need expertise to develop international business. We also have bankruptcy CFOs, right-sizing CFOs and so forth."
Mr. Weis added CFOs have to be capable of "not only administrating, but often initiating benefit plans. That is especially true in the Silicon Valley area." He said benefits are seen by high-growth companies as "an enormous tool to attract top-notch people," and CFOs have to bring those skills with them.
For all the specialized CFO programs, he said, the candidates are required to have succeeded in their specialty "at least five times." If, for example, a CFO is being considered for a company examining either a merger or acquisition, the candidate must have "gone through precisely the expertise they're being hired for on at least five occasions."
But ordering a CFO 2 Go is more complex than your average takeout order. It involves more than just matching the CFO to the company. As a Northern California company whose clients reflect their region, he stressed "lifestyle" choices play a large role in placing part-time CFOs.
"The reasons most of our CFOs are working part-time is that they've reached a point in their lives that they want to balance their personal and professional objectives," said Mr. Weis.
He cited as typical one CFO who had taken "major, major companies" public and only wanted to work two or three days a week. "That freed him up to ride his horses the rest of the week," Mr. Weis said.
Although CFO placement is his firm's specialty, the company also is involved in executive recruitment and placement services.
According to Mr. Weis, today's market for CFOs has evolved into a choice of two distinct career options. The first demands a skilled financial executive offers "broad skill sets providing input into a lot of different industries." Failing that, a CFO must be a "very narrow expert, and you'd better be a good one. It's best not to find yourself as a CFO only able to do IPOs for a manufacturing company."
The better of the choices, he said, is for a CFO to be an expert in more than one company or skill set.