Considerations for Interim CFOs

NanoViricides, Inc. has recently announced that Ms. Meeta Vyas will serve as the company’s interim CFO until the position is permanently filled. Vyas’s experience as a former CEO and senior executive make her a compelling choice to serve as interim CFO. She received her MBA in finance from Columbia University and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering.

As CFOs consider their future career path and growth, it’s important to examine the significance of their experience as an interim CFO. For Meeta Vyas, who has already served as a CEO, the experience as an interim chief financial officer will not be a hindrance to her career. For many others, however, experience as an interim CFO isn’t necessarily an asset for their resume, though it isn’t a liability either.

On the one hand, experience as an interim CFO is a great opportunity to refine skills and learn about a specific industry. For instance, Jenifer Cua served as an interim CFO at Cryptologic Inc., where she learned about internet gaming software and gained incredible finance experience. She is no longer confined to only the financial side of business; Cua is also allowed to interact directly with investors and the board of relations.

Interim CFOs Raise a Yellow Flag

While serving as an interim CFO is an incredible opportunity for finance professionals, it can also raise a yellow flag for future employers. The position itself is not the drawback, but when a temporary CFO doesn’t permanently land the job or isn’t asked to become the company’s official chief financial officer, potential employers have the tendency to ask, “Why?”

If moving from interim to permanent means that management decided you were good enough to fulfill the position, then what does the opposite mean? To ensure that you get a fair shake, it’s important to keep an open line of communication. In other words, if you turned down the offer, then say so. If, on the other hand, you weren’t offered the permanent CFO position, feel free to ask why you weren’t able to attain permanent status. Sometimes a company is just looking for a different skill set, which doesn’t necessarily reflect on the skills of the interim. By fully understanding the circumstances, you can more adequately answer the questions from recruiters.