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Inexperienced Staff

We have been through four CFOs in my under a year here position as Accounting Manager. When I arrived, it was with a new CEO too. There were four people in accounting at that time. Two of which the CEO wanted me to fire. The other one potentially also, but she was the only one that knew the system. The system conversion from a few years previously was not done well, so invoices were not getting sent, etc. You get the picture of what I walked into here. So the first CFO I worked with, for only a few days, refused to stay. The second CFO last about three-four months, and left. The third one was here one month and left. The second CFO took a job out of state. All CFO's recommended I find another job. The first one is doing consulting work. The third one is still looking for something. The second one is trying to get me to move there to work for her. There are three people in the accounting department -- one is payroll/ap, the other is who knows what, the other is AR. The AR and the other have no background in accounting whatsoever and I find that I am spending most of month end fixing their errors. Thus, you can imagine the environment of fear they have so they are doing what they can to make my life miserable. We have brought in temps -- we are on our second temp, the first left because of those two staffers and how nasty they are. The second one refuses to be hired because she won't work for them and she, as well as the other, said they keep on trying to throw me under the bus and would not recommend I stay here either. The two temps have far more experience than anyone on the team now. My questions to everyone: What would you do? And if you would leave, what reason would you give to a potential employer for leaving under a year?


John P. Hart
Title: Vice Pres - CFO
Company: Nova Pressroom Products, LLC
(Vice Pres - CFO, Nova Pressroom Products, LLC) |

If you want to stay now instead of leaving, there is one other option:

Fire the two rotten eggs!
The CEO wanted to fire those two offenders. Why aren't they gone? Clearly that is where the problem is. Fire them TODAY! (clearing with the CEO and HR of course) This will establish your position going forward. Keep the temps, or bring them temp to perm. Start building your own team to make your department a viable part of the company.

If this doesn't work, then you can explain that it was a dysfunctional department after going thru three CFOs in your short time. Pretty self-evident that there was a major problem with this company.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

John's right. While no one likes to be the bearer of bad news, it would be worse if the entire company went under because of these two Individuals.

Mark Breithaupt
Title: VP Finance
Company: Carlisle Carrier Corp
(VP Finance, Carlisle Carrier Corp) |

I agree. A saying fits this situation: "You don't lose sleep over people you fire, you lose sleep over people you keep." You have gone long enough with sleepless nights, it's time to move on. You need loyal team members you can count on and you have given these two more than enough time to prove themselves.

Rich Robins
Title: Accountant
Company: Tec
(Accountant, Tec) |

You may as well ask that if you're gonna clean house, make YOU the CFO. Then you can hire all new everyone. But maybe you should leave also. You didn't provide much background on then CEO. Maybe they're a problem?

Amanda McKisson-Kijek PHR, S..
Title: Consulting Director of Human Resources
Company: EDS Service Solutions
(Consulting Director of Human Resources, EDS Service Solutions) |

Here' s my view from an HR/people perspective....
Before you haul off and start firing people I suggest you take stock of the bigger picture. Rise above the fray of accounting insanity and ask yourself a few questions.
1. What are the REAL issues driving the dysfunction? This is just a guess, but I'm thinking the 3 previous CFOs didn't leave because of inexperienced staff, they may have left because of dysfunctional company leadership.
2. Can your "inexperienced" staff be salvaged? People working under dysfunctional leadership (and I don't me you're dysfunctional, I mean those above you) are likely to be severely disengaged and even if they do have talents and capabilities they probably wont be applying them at work. Remember if you fire them, you're just going to have to hire, train and retain replacements. Good talent costs money. Are you paying this staff competitively? Or is it "job goes to the lowest bidder"?
and 3. Probably most importantly....Are you ready and willing to take on the challenge of fixing the WHOLE issue. This will be impossible if you don't have the philosophical and financial support of your CEO. Again, my guess is the 3 previous CFOs saw very quickly that this CEO was NOT going to play nice. If you are willing to take on the challenge then DIG IN and be ready for some battle scars (maybe even getting fired yourself. If not, then quietly keep doing the job and start looking now for a better opportunity.
Firing folks will only replace the hamsters on a broken wheel.

Just my 2 cents.

Amanda McKisson-Kijek, PHR


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