Administrative and Financial Director: Restructuring of the business

Administrative and Financial Director: Restructuring of the business

Both technical expert, general manager and strategic adviser, the administrative and financial director (DAF) is one of the most important executives. Nevertheless, his skills are expensive for companies (especially VSEs and SMEs) which, with the aim of limiting costs, are seeking, alongside the CFOs, to develop new collaboration solutions that go beyond the salary framework. The profession is therefore tending to restructure itself, and more specifically around two models: time-sharing and interim management.

CFO: a senior executive like no other

The Ministry of Labor defines the concept of senior executive as follows:

Executive to whom are entrusted responsibilities whose importance implies a great independence in the organization of his schedule, who is authorized to take decisions in a largely autonomous way and who receives remuneration at the highest levels of the systems remuneration practiced in the company or establishment.

However, the work of the DAF goes well beyond this definition because of the different roles it takes on:

  • The CFO is a general manager who supervises all cross-functional substantive activities allowing the proper functioning of the company: finance, human resources management, administration, legal.
  • He may be required to intervene in other ancillary areas such as information systems or communication when his skills are involved.
  • Given his responsibilities in these essential activities, he provides strategic guidance to senior management and the Board of Directors.
  • In addition, the CFO is a technical expert in charge of several ad hoc missions which may, for example, concern internal audits or major financial operations.

While these skills are central to companies, they do not have all the necessary funds, or even the need, to hire such a full-time professional (particularly VSEs and SMEs): on average, according to theAssociation for the employment of executives (APEC), the remuneration of a CFO amounts to 67,000 euros per year. This is why CFOs mainly work in large groups and large companies. But a new and growing model, timeshare, is changing the situation.

Towards a profound restructuring of the way of exercising the profession

Timeshare: a new trend for CFOs

For a CFO, shared time consists, as its name suggests, of dividing his working time between several companies by devoting one to three days a week to each of his three or four clients, or by carrying out shorter assignments, more punctually. The Observatory of timeshare CFOs, published by theAssociation of Financial Directors and Management Controllers (DFCG), allows you to learn more about this trend:

  • The time-share CFOs work under a self-employed status in 90% of cases;
  • More and more of them (18%) are billing part of their service on success, especially for young, inexperienced CFOs (75%);
  • Unsurprisingly, approximately two-thirds of companies using a time-sharing DAF are VSEs and SMEs (then come in order the ETI, associations and large companies);
  • Perhaps more surprisingly, almost half of companies (48%) use a timeshare CFO for specific needs and not for day-to-day management.

Towards a split between specific missions and current missions?

On the business side, the rise of timeshare has revealed a marked distinction between current needs and occasional needs: where some call on a CFO two days a week for an indefinite period to ensure their daily functioning , others request them in specific contexts for shorter periods. If part-time CFOs, made possible by the rise of time-sharing, seem to meet the needs of the VSEs and SMEs mentioned above, short-term interventions aimed at meeting specific needs, and sometimes partially billed for success, challenge. Indeed, this second type of intervention goes beyond the framework of shared time and actually refers to another model: that of interim management.

Interim management: an adapted model for CFOs and companies

Indeed, rather than having recourse to a time-sharing CFO, many companies are turning to transition CFOs by going through Adequancy, the reference in this field. Interim management is better suited to meet specific needs, because that is precisely its primary vocation (while shared time seems more suitable for meeting recurring needs that do not require full-time). By going through Adequancy’s large network, it is possible to find the best transitional DAFs to precisely meet each need.

For example, a company operating in an LBO (leverage buyout) environment was recently limited by the structure of its finance department, which was certainly adapted to the old mode of operation, but exceeded by the needs of this major financial operation. A transition CFO therefore intervened, via Adequancy, to completely reorganize and restructure the finance department, which was thus able to carry out the LBO operation and rebuild solid foundations thereafter. This is a typical case for which interim management is more suitable than shared time.


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