If you are a fast-growing startup or an SMB in need of a highly-skilled and affordable financial expert — hire a freelance CFO.
In this article, we will explain what is a freelance CFO, how they can help you achieve your company’s goals with expert financial planning, and the advantages of joining forces with a freelance CFO.
To make things even easier for you, we've also compiled a list of the six best websites where you can find your next financial expert.
What Is a Freelance CFO?
A freelance CFO, also called a virtual CFO, is a self-employed financial expert outside your organization who provides outstanding financial management and ensures your finance operations are legally covered.
They have the necessary expertise in areas such as financial processes, tax preparation, accounting, budgeting, bookkeeping, funding, analyzing your bank accounts, and forecasting financial outcomes that may help get your business to the next stage.
Typically, hiring a freelance CFO is more affordable than a full-time CFO and doesn't require a long-term commitment. You can hire them for a one-time project or a short-time period.
How Can a Freelance CFO Help Your Business?
The major things an outsourced CFO can do for business owners are:
- Financial reporting
- Forecasting and planning
- Risk Management
Let's have a closer look at each one of them:
- Financial Reporting
A freelance CFO will go through all your financial documents and reports before you need to declare your taxes to the IRS or before financial audits. It will also help provide frequent financial reporting, so you can have visibility into your business's financial health.
- Forecasting and Planning
CFOs help forecast financial projections and suggest ways to find new revenue streams, and maximize profitability while reducing unnecessary expenses.
They will also be able to tell you what are the best products or services that generate the highest profitability, so you can maintain strong and steady business growth.
Your cash flow and expenses will be in skilled hands. A freelance CFO will track all your business expenditures and transactions and tell you where you can find efficiencies and where you can reduce costs. As a result, you will be able to make better decisions and have healthier budgets.
- Risk Management
Freelance CFOs may have vast expertise in dealing with unstable market conditions, risky industries, and different types of business models. This heightens their ability to predict how financial changes and investments might affect you, and subsequently recommend ways to better prepare for any risks. For example, they can help you better allocate resources to explore a new product or service and assess whether your business has the reserves to wait until the new venture is profitable.
If you are struggling financially, for example, an outsourced CFO can help you stabilize the company and provide solutions to build resilience and navigate to safer waters.
Why Should You Outsource Your Next Chief Financial Officer?
Working with a freelance CFO has many advantages. Here are the major ones:
- Save Costs and Time
Freelancers cost less than full-time employees. When hiring a full-time CFO, you need to consider including the benefits and allowances such as Payroll tax (15.3 % from the employee salary), Social Security (6.2% for an employee with a salary up to $160,200 per year as of 2023), Medicare (1.45%), holiday benefits, health insurance, etc.
A full-time employee may cost you approximately 1.35 times more after taxes and benefits. Whereas, if you hire a freelancer, all these allowances disappear. For example, if your freelance CFO costs between $175-$300 per hour, you pay them only for the time they worked. There are no additional expenses as freelancers pay their own taxes and manage their healthcare, pension, and other benefits individually.
According to a Harvard Business School survey, it can take up to six months or more for a new hire investment to pay off. A freelance CFO, on the other hand, has a minimal learning curve. You can benefit from their productivity and readiness to get to work immediately — they are more experienced with more industry knowledge.
- Get a Better Financial Strategy
They evaluate all your financial data and assess the financial viability of new projects and product ideas and come up with recommendations to improve based on various economic models and strategies that work. As a consequence, this will streamline your cash flow and help ensure business growth.
Typically, freelancer CFOs have a degree in finance, extensive experience in multiple industries, and have dealt with complex business models. They encounter different situations and can deal with a variety of challenges and initiatives with companies at all stages of growth. This conglomeration of knowledge and experience cannot be replicated and allows them to come up with unique solutions for your company that other financial experts might not.
- Free Time to Focus on Core Activities
Outsourcing a freelance CFO is the ultimate solution if you don't have time to invest in legalities, budgeting, forecasting, and analyzing financial results. They will step in and cover all these financial activities with precision and skill, so you can concentrate on more important tasks and core functions.
In a Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey, 65% of respondents said that outsourcing enables them to focus on core functions and helps cut costs. In other words, not only hiring a freelance CFO will enable you to focus on the core functions of your company better, but they also reduce the costs that come with hiring full-time employees and other expenses.
So, where do you find an eligible freelance CFO? The fastest and easiest way is to search on online freelance platforms.
6 Websites To Find and Hire a Freelance CFO
Freelancer is a digital hub for employers to find top talent from over 25 million freelance professionals. Employers can post a job and freelancers will bid their price. The platform also enables you to search for freelancers individually and reach out to them directly. You can do so by typing the type of professional you need (i.e., CFO) in the search field and filtering results by hourly rate, skills, location, rating reviews, and exams.
Although it's a great platform, with over 12 million completed projects, recently, they have been dealing with spam, fake profiles, and low-quality work.
In terms of pricing, Freelancer.com offers a month's free trial, then you'll have to pay a monthly subscription, starting from $4.99/mo up to $99/mo.
LinkedIn is one of the most well-known networks where employers can connect with experts. It counts over 12 million active professionals, including freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants.
There are two ways to find your next freelance CFO on LinkedIn:
- Post a job description with your specifications and wait for someone to apply
- Search individually for a freelancer in your network and freelance groups.
The downside of hiring a freelancer on LinkedIn is that it requires investing lots of time to find the right candidate. So, if you need one urgently, it might be a good idea to relocate your search elsewhere.
PARO is an AI freelance platform that specializes strictly in hiring freelancers in the finance sector. Unlike other platforms where you search for candidates individually, PARO matches you with the right candidate.
First, you fill out a questionnaire that will help the Ai service understand your needs and provide details about your company such as size, name, industry, and contact information. Then, someone will contact you and list the best candidates that match the requirements you stated in the quiz.
While it feels like a more personalized way of finding your next CFO, accountant, bookkeeper, and so forth, it also feels like going on a blind date. The platform doesn't provide a way to get a sense of the number of available professionals, their ratings and reviews, and budgeting options.
Upwork is an online workplace that connects you with top-talent freelancers. It provides a versatile approach to hiring and is free to join as an employer looking for your next financial expert.
If you type the keyword "CFO" in the search bar, the platform will return more than four pages of results with CFOs for hire, ranging from $55 to $130 per hour.
To make your search more tailored to your preferences, Upwork provides the option to filter results in terms of language, hourly rate, qualifications, education, location, as well candidate reviews, job success rate, client history, and many more. Once you decide on the candidates that appeal most to your needs, you can contact them directly via messages.
The downside of Upwork is that the free plan requires paying small fees for administration and the freelancers are usually available only for short-term or part-time projects. You’ll also have to spend countless hours posting jobs and screening candidates. You may need to try multiple candidates on a trial-run basis before you find the perfect freelance CFO for your business.
Toptal is an online company that created an exclusive freelance platform to connect employers with financial experts, software engineers, project managers, product managers, and designers.
They pride themselves on having elite freelance talent in their arsenal. The hiring process is similar to PARO. The difference is that while the latter is an AI, Toptal is a team of internal experts that match a freelancer with your requirements.
Toptal is free to sign up and set up an introductory call with them. After that, you'll pay a $500 refundable deposit, so they can begin their search for you.
The rates of working with a Toptal freelancer start from $60/hour, depending on the project and expertise.
Near is a white-globe staffing firm that enables companies to hire the best, pre-vetted talent from Latin America in under 21 days. We specialize in finance & accounting, marketing, customer support & virtual assistant, sales, and software engineering. However, we have a massive pool of over 15k candidates for almost any role.
Unlike other hiring platforms, we guarantee to present you with candidates working in the US time zone, who possess outstanding English communication skills and require low-operational costs (30-70% below the US market). If you're looking for top talent that will work remotely for you at an affordable price, Near is a win-win solution.
You simply start by filling out a form with the profile of the role you need, we present you with the best pre-screened candidates that are a fit for your role, and you can interview them for free.
By hiring with Near, you have zero-risk, as you don't pay anything unless you hire the best match for you.
To date, outsourcing critical business operations is a common practice for both private and public companies. By hiring a freelancer or an independent contractor, you can outsource almost any business process and function that will help reduce costs and save time to focus on what’s really important.
So, why not hire a freelance CFO to take care of your financial operations, business valuation, and financial planning today?
Use Near to find the best CFO freelancers from Latin America with extensive experience in finance. Get your cash flow and financial management in order today!