Can a Fractional CFO Return to Corporate?

Last week I posted a Q&A with Todd Serulneck on his decision to take a career path as a fractional CFO. At the end of our conversation, he flipped the table and asked me a futuristic question.

Is it possible to move back into a corporate role
after several years as a fractional CFO?

It is a great question, and I’m sure he isn’t alone in wondering whether it can be done and how challenging such a move would be. Here are a few of my thoughts.

Yes, I believe it is possible.

When you bring problem-solving value to the table, anything is possible for a company who needs your skill set … which today, includes soft skills. If anything, communication, relationship management, work ethic, creative problem-solving skills may even be enhanced during time as a “business-builder.”

What can happen with a fractional CFO is akin to those of a consultant … you don’t always get to see the results of your actions. Therefore, it is critically important that you …

Keep track of your measurable wins.

Words like “improving,” “increasing,” “decreasing,” and “reducing” are meaningless without context. This challenge isn’t exclusive to fractional CFOs. In fact, it is widespread among corporate CFO candidates. Keeping track of metrics matters, and using them in personal marketing documents matters greatly.In fact, it is almost impossible to compete without them.

While your financial acumen got you to the CFO seat, it is your ability to solve problems and deliver value that is most appealing to a prospective company who is facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, dismal growth, and/or declining profits.

Don’t lose your sweet spot.

Companies rarely hire “jack-of-all-trades, masters-of-none,” these days. Rather, they are focused on specific skill sets and experience that a CFO brings and which it needs. Even as a fractional CFO, it is important to play from your strengths.

As paradoxical as it may seem, operating from your sweet spot and taking advantage of the ripple effect that niched positioning affords only improves a candidate’s compelling value proposition.

Be visible.

Whether building a book of business or conducting a job search, it is incumbent upon each CFO to create and maintain visibility among his targeted audience. That visibility and resulting relationships could be the difference between an easier – or – more challenging move back to corporate.

Let me know if I can help!


Copyright CFO-Coach 2018


Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via email, by phone 813-727-3037, or through her website at