Addressing staffing gaps with a virtual CFO

April 12, 2024 David Pearson and Michael Nes

Staffing has been a major talking point for many of our clients in the past few months and we know businesses right across New Zealand are having similar issues. The market is tough and businesses are having to manage competing priorities for their time and resources. A permanent staff member might not be a priority, the scope of the role may not require someone permanently, or you might just be struggling to find the right person. That’s where a virtual chief financial officer (CFO) or temporary resource can help.


When business owners think virtual CFO, they often envision someone operating at a strategic level, directing key financial matters. While the virtual CFO role does allow for this, the scope it covers can vary from business to business.


A virtual CFO allows organisations to get the benefits of a CFO and a dedicated finance department without the commitment of permanently employing someone in this role. They can act as a trusted partner and sounding board for key business decisions or simply keep your finance department on track. One of the key benefits is that the role is fully scalable and can be customised to meet your business needs. No matter what stage of business you’re at, how big your operation is, or how long you need support for, a virtual CFO solution can be tailored to your needs.


A virtual CFO as an interim recruitment solution


The employment market is tough, particularly when it comes to attracting top talent, which means businesses can often have gaps between hires. Recruitment for a CFO role can present challenges for organisations needing day-to-day support. A virtual CFO can address this and plug the gaps while you’re searching for the right person.


When the budget’s tight


The current economic climate means many businesses just don’t have the budget to hire a full-time, permanent CFO. With a virtual CFO, you may benefit from the security and expertise of a national network, along with the local relationship and insights that come with engaging a local adviser. Experienced CFOs can pull from a wide range of resources other businesses may not have on hand – from business specialists to strategic and financial analysis tools.


Scalability and flexibility mean everything from a few days’ worth of work through to much larger-scale projects can be undertaken, with the ability to extend should you need more support. Depending on the provider of this resource, that flexibility may extend to the level of individuals available to assist in each stage of the project – from data entry through to analysis, reporting and implementation. Work can be completed within a pre-agreed budget or scope of work, so you’ll always know what you’re getting.


On a project basis


We know not every organisation wants or needs a full-time CFO, but there are times during the year when that level of expertise is required. You can engage a virtual CFO for specific projects or periods of time. We all know that following the weather events in 2023, many businesses were struggling to collate reports required for insurance claims or were overwhelmed with trying to re-forecast their cashflow or refinance. It is in these instances that a virtual CFO becomes a lifeline for businesses to ensure that they are best placed and informed when forward planning is imperative.


David Pearson and Michael Nes are chartered accountants and business advisors with BDO Hawke’s Bay. Pearson has a special interest in providing advisory services to the optometry sector and extensive experience assisting businesses within this sector. He has been working closely with Nes on these projects for a number of years. For more, contact:, or visit