Deciding Whether to Recruit a Full-Time CFO or Engage a Fractional CFO


Deciding whether to recruit a full-time CFO or engage a fractional CFO depends on the specific needs and circumstances of your business. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, which should be carefully considered. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each:

Full-Time CFO



Dedicated focus: A full-time CFO is solely committed to your business and can provide ongoing, dedicated financial leadership. They can deeply understand your company’s operations, culture, and long-term goals, allowing for a more integrated approach to financial decision-making.

Availability and accessibility: Having a full-time CFO means they are readily available for day-to-day financial matters, internal reporting, and collaborating with other departments. They can quickly address any urgent financial issues or respond to unexpected challenges.

Strategic planning and execution: A full-time CFO can play a key role in developing and executing long-term financial strategies, ensuring alignment with overall business objectives. They can provide continuity and stability in financial management, especially during periods of growth or industry volatility.


Higher cost: Employing a full-time CFO entails significant costs, including salary, benefits, insurance, and overhead expenses. These expenses might not be feasible or justifiable for all businesses, particularly smaller or early-stage companies.

Limited expertise and perspectives: A full-time CFO’s expertise and experience might be limited to a specific industry or set of financial functions. They may not have the same breadth of knowledge and exposure to diverse business environments as fractional CFOs who work with multiple clients across industries.

Scalability challenges: If your business experiences periods of fluctuating financial needs, a full-time CFO might be underutilized during slower periods or overwhelmed during peak seasons. This lack of flexibility can lead to inefficiencies and unnecessary expenses.

Fractional CFO



Cost-effectiveness: Engaging a fractional CFO allows you to access high-level financial expertise at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO. You can customize their level of involvement and only pay for the services you require, providing cost savings, especially for smaller businesses or startups.

Flexibility and scalability: Fractional CFOs offer flexible arrangements, allowing you to adjust their involvement based on your evolving needs. You can engage them for specific projects, part-time support, or during critical growth periods. This scalability ensures that you have the right level of financial support without overburdening your budget.

Broad expertise and fresh perspectives: Fractional CFOs often bring diverse industry experience and best practices from working with multiple clients. They can provide objective insights, challenge assumptions, and offer innovative solutions by leveraging their extensive knowledge across various business environments.



Time commitment: As fractional CFOs work with multiple clients, their availability might be limited, and their time may need to be divided among different responsibilities. If your business requires constant and immediate attention to financial matters, a fractional CFO might not be as accessible as a full-time CFO.

Limited company-specific knowledge: Fractional CFOs might require some time to familiarize themselves with your business, its industry, and unique challenges. This learning curve could impact their ability to provide immediate and tailored solutions.

Reduced internal integration: Since fractional CFOs are external to your organization, they might not have the same level of immersion in your company’s culture, values, and internal dynamics as a full-time CFO. This could affect their ability to deeply understand your business and fully align financial strategies with broader organizational goals.

Ultimately, the choice between a full-time CFO and a fractional CFO depends on your business’s financial needs, budget, growth stage, and the level of expertise and continuity required. Assessing these factors can help you determine the most appropriate and cost-effective solution to support your financial leadership and drive sustainable growth.

A fractional CFO, also known as an outsourced or part-time CFO, is a financial professional who provides strategic financial guidance and support to businesses on a flexible basis. While a full-time CFO is typically employed by a company, a fractional CFO works with multiple clients simultaneously, dividing their time and expertise among them. This arrangement offers several benefits for businesses of all sizes, especially those who may not require or afford a full-time CFO. Here are some advantages of hiring a fractional CFO:


Cost-effectiveness: One of the primary benefits of a fractional CFO is the cost savings compared to hiring a full-time CFO. Full-time CFOs often command high salaries, benefits, and other employment costs. On the other hand, a fractional CFO is typically engaged on a part-time or project basis, allowing businesses to access high-level financial expertise without the expense of a full-time executive.

Flexibility: Fractional CFOs provide flexibility by tailoring their services to the specific needs of each client. Businesses can engage a fractional CFO for a few hours a week, a few days a month, or for specific projects or initiatives. This flexibility allows businesses to scale their financial support up or down as needed, making it an ideal solution for startups, small businesses, or organizations experiencing growth or transition.

Specialized expertise: Fractional CFOs bring specialized financial expertise to the table. They often have extensive experience working with various companies across different industries, which gives them a broad understanding of financial best practices and industry-specific challenges. This expertise enables them to provide strategic financial guidance, assist in financial planning, optimize cash flow management, develop key performance indicators (KPIs), conduct financial analysis, and more.

Objective perspective: An external fractional CFO brings an unbiased and objective perspective to the financial decision-making process. Since they are not directly employed by the company, they can offer impartial insights and recommendations, challenging assumptions, and identifying potential risks or opportunities. This independent viewpoint can be valuable in strategic planning, risk management, and making informed financial decisions.


Access to networks: Fractional CFOs often have extensive professional networks, including relationships with other financial experts, lenders, investors, and service providers. They can leverage these networks to connect businesses with potential funding sources, strategic partners, or other resources that may benefit the company’s growth and financial stability.

Time savings: By engaging a fractional CFO, business owners and management teams can offload critical financial responsibilities, allowing them to focus on core business operations. The fractional CFO takes care of financial management, reporting, and analysis, freeing up valuable time for key stakeholders to concentrate on driving growth, developing products or services, and executing the company’s overall strategic vision.

In summary, a fractional CFO offers businesses a cost-effective, flexible, and specialized approach to financial leadership. They bring expertise, objectivity, and networks, while enabling companies to access strategic financial guidance without the commitment and expense of a full-time CFO. Whether it’s a startup, small business, or larger organization, a fractional CFO can help optimize financial performance, enhance decision-making, and drive sustainable growth.

FD Capital is a leading London based recruiter of both fractional and full-time CFOs