Interim Executive Confidential: Managing Client Expectations
On this episode of the Interim Executive Confidential, we are talking with Donald Noble, an Interim CFO about his experiences in the interim executive world.
Don tells us what the hardest part of being an interim executive is:
“There are always challenges of being an interim. You may not know the whole situation; the finances may not be what you expect, the operation, so on. But I wouldn’t put those at the top of my list. The biggest challenge I face is, and it’s related to what we started with, is managing the expectation of all the stakeholders involved.”
He explains how managing client expectations as a CFO can be complex:
“For a CFO in particular, there are a lot of predetermined expectations of a CFO when you walk in the door. Some expect you to be a CPA, some expect you to be a finance guru, some expect you to be an HR expert. And when I say that I mean those are differing expectations just in the organization.”
Don gives us an example of walking into a company and managing client expectations:
“For example, the CEO may want you to look for ways to grow the company, but the staff thinks you’re there to pick the software and systems that they use every day. When you add that to the shareholders, the banks, the legal team, the auditors, the remote staff and the private equity group. When you walk in the door, you don’t have a whole lot of ramp time to sit with everybody and get to know them and understand exactly what everybody is thinking. If you did, you wouldn’t be able to handle the job as well as you do. So the single biggest challenge is walking into the middle of that and managing those expectations.”