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What are the best practices for onboarding a new CFO without putting the company at risk?

What is the most secure and logical way to onboard a new CFO? Since we're hiring someone from outside the company to fill this role, we have mild concerns about giving the new CFO immediate access to all of our bank accounts and financial information. Are we nuts to worry? Are there best practices to consider? We will of course run our normal background check first, but I think that's only a criminal and credit history check. Is there more we can and should investigate?

Answers

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Great way to start the relationship! (sarcasm). Do your due diligence and hire. Even with a future effective hiring date (if you have decided), have him/her sign an NDA. Another option is to secure the NDAs at a latter part of the process....say last 2 candidates. Depending on your state, credit history as a basis for hiring can be discriminatory.

Remember, the CFO is trying to minimize HIS risks as much as you are. I for one will NOT get onboard without knowing the true financial health (good or bad) of the company.

I am not sure what you mean by "having access to our bank accounts". Surely you do not mean that he/she can authorize transactions prior to his effective date yes? That would be a NO NO. Once you hire, you are placing your full trust and confidence in the CFO.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Emerson makes (another) good point. You are hiring a CFO, at what point do you start providing real financial health data (during the hiring process)?

Nothing ruins a relationship faster than painting a picture that is untruthful (on both sides of the hiring desk).

Gerard van Stijn
Title: Head of Finance
Company: Simon Lévelt B.V.
(Head of Finance, Simon Lévelt B.V.) |

Your question puzzles me.

If he is the cfo he should be informed about the financial state of the company and thus have access to the financial information.
As far as access to all your bank accounts, that is a simple set up of the rightsa person has. You can give him the right to approve payments, but not input payments into the bank system itself.

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

There should be a probationary/onboarding time anyways, in which you could slowly grant more access. At the same time, for the CFO role you should have carefully vetted each other already, especially for that big of a role that you are giving to them over people already at your company.

David Rau
Title: CFO
Company: Cornerstoner Building Alliance Lumber SW
(CFO, Cornerstoner Building Alliance Lumber SW) |

I would think that through back ground checks and extensive referral checks that you would be able to overcome you skepticism (or should) before you hire a CFO. If you can't, then I suggest that you are not conducting a deep enough investigation and/or you are hiring the wrong person.

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