5 Reasons An Interim CFO Might Be A Good Thing

The chief financial position, sometimes known as vice president of finance, is one of the hardest positions to hire for. It’s also one of the hardest to retain. It’s estimated that CFOs average only 2 1/2 to 3 years at best at most facilities. There are a variety of reasons for this, which we’re not going to touch upon. Instead, we’re going to give you 5 reasons why bringing in an interim CFO might be a good thing.

1. Quick learners. There’s a different between knowing you have to go to a new place and learn all the players that you’re going to have to work with for hopefully a long time versus going into a new place with a mission to accomplish. Interim CFOs normally hit the ground running, and because they’ve been around, they’ll often have a wealth of ideas to bring to the table.

2. Skilled communicators. Because they’re used to making more first impressions than the norm, they’re more skilled at creating positive relationships to help get things moving quicker.

3. Well rounded. Many times CFOs are only skilled in what they’re the best at, that being budgeting and finances in general. Interim CFOs often can come in and see the big picture as opportunities for improvement. Billing, medical records, even IT issues are easier for them to assist with because often those issues have come up at other places.

4. Evaluation. If you need someone to come in and help evaluate talent, an interim CFO is a good place to start. The CFO meets with every director that has something to do with financials, and could probably tell you if your materials management director is working on saving you money with your suppliers or taking advantage of offers that aren’t quite ethical for suppliers to make.

5. No strings attached. If you and the CFO don’t get along, you can change to someone else based on the terms of the contract. If you do get along, you could pretty much keep the CFO for as long as you needed. You’re going to get honesty from an interim CFO because they’re not worried about keeping their job. If you’re in trouble, or if you’re doing good, you’re going to get the truth. And no matter what the truth is, at least you know and can decide if you have to do something about it.

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Considerations Of Consulting Outside Of The Country

Occasionally Expeditive gets requests from hospitals outside of the United States for interim consultants who can do a variety of revenue cycle projects. We’ll then put out feelers for these positions, knowing that there will be some takers, and also knowing that there will be some people who will cringe at the idea of going to certain places.

Traveling as an independent consultant is always a dicey proposition. It can be a lot of fun, being in a new place and getting to know the area over the course of being in a new location. At the same time, it can add an interesting layer of stress when one has to consider things such as how to pack, for how long, and how to make sure bills can still be paid.

This is definitely important when one is considering leaving the country to work. Heading to a place like India or Dubai will not only be a culture shock for many people, but you don’t go to places like that and expect to fly back home every two weeks. You might have to be ready to make a commitment to stay in a location anywhere from 3 to 6 months at a time; that’s pretty much like moving to a new city. Or you might head to a place like Mexico, which has some pretty strict work standards for non-citizens that you might at times feel chafing.

We have to be honest; this is one of those times when symbiosis between client and the consultant might not be totally achievable. For clients, they can be assured that a staffing company will send them someone that’s competent. For the consultant, guarantees aren’t as solid. The only guarantee is that the consultant will get paid.

Because it’s rare for entities outside the country to fly representatives of interim staffing companies to their locations to take a look around, the status of the location can’t easily be verified. In some countries, the mores as it applies to both race and sex are much different than in the United States; telling someone what they are and having them be experienced are two different things. There’s also the language barrier that has to be overcome. And finally, probably the biggest skill will have more to do with learning how to be an effective communicator and negotiator than even the skill set.

Still, some consultants have a great time in other countries. It’s not an easy decision to make and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If it’s something you’re considering to make yourself available for, so some research on the area to see if you believe you could deal with it. Because if you accept it, you’ll be there for a long time.

Life Of A Interim Consultant, Part Two

I talked about a few things concerning the life of a traveling interim consultant a couple of days ago. Here’s a few more things concerning the life.

First, I want to follow up on the eating thing I left off with. It’s easy to get into some pretty bad habits while on the road.What you have to hope for is to have a room that at least has a refrigerator. If that’s the case, stock up with bottles of water, some bread, and some lunch meat. Even if you have a restaurant in the hotel, it shuts down at least by 11PM if not sooner, and isn’t always open. So, it helps to have something to eat in the room, and lunch meat is healthier than eating chips and dessert types of things.

Second, shutting down the mind can be tough. I know very few consultants who can leave the work at the job site, so they’ll put in extra hours in the hotel. We love that, as it’s billable hours, but if you don’t find some time when you can wind down, you’ll drive yourself nuts.

Third, you always have to remind yourself that, though you may start feeling pretty comfortable after awhile, you’re always only an invited guest into a job site. Don’t get caught up in the drama that working at companies on a daily basis can bring. You always want to watch out for the types of personal relationship stuff that naturally comes about if you’re a full time employee. You’re there to do a job, and it might be a tough job. You may have to do things you don’t like, and it’s always easier to do those things if you remember why you’re there.

Being an interim consultant can be fun, and you will see things that you would never have had the opportunity to see by working in your hometown for the rest of your life. But you can get caught up in it also, so always remember to keep at least some distance between yourself and the people you work with, take care of your health, and you’ll be fine.

Staffing Companies Are Great For Independent Consultants

Are you an independent consultant? If so, hooking up with a staffing company could be a way to help you out when times are a little bit tough.

No one is great at marketing all the time. At least staffing companies have, hopefully, established relationships with other companies that have need of interim staff from time to time. Expeditive is one of those companies. We have relationships with hospitals and medical facilities across the country, and they’re always looking for some kind of help.

Some of the help hospitals are looking for is highly skilled and trained personnel who know how to do things that not everyone knows how to do. For instance, we know that not everyone knows how to do medical records coding. Not everyone knows how to do things with charge masters. And not all everyone in health care knows how to do cost reports.

Consultants bring special skills into the mix. Yet, sometimes they aren’t sure who to market their services to. That’s where a company like ours comes in. We work to get contracts with businesses everywhere. We like knowing as many consultants as possible, so that when someone has a specific need, we have a list of people we can call and make these offers to.

So, if you’re a health care consultant, we’d love to have the opportunity to work with you. Why not contact Expeditive and see if we can find a way to work together.

Placing High Level Consultants

The biggest success Expeditive has ever had was when we placed multiple management level personnel at a hospital in New York. It worked great because this hospital was open to having a number of high level professionals come in to help them get on track, as they had multiple positions open and multiple problems as well.

The types of management level personnel we were able to bring in were:

* Director of Patient Accounting
* Director of Admissions
* Chargemaster Coordinator
* Supervisor of Nursing Home Billing
* IT Consultant
* Collections Supervisor
* Cash & Denials Consultant

Most of these consultants were on site for at least a year, offering all sorts of assistance to the administration of the hospital. Only two of them were native to New York, which shows how consultants can work anywhere. And, although each of these people fit specific needs for the facility, they all ended up working together in some capacity because all of them had experience in overseeing most of the other positions at one time in their history.

Not every hospital will need consultants to be on hand for over a year, but that’s not our point. This particular hospital had major problems, and in a year, along with other consultants that were brought in for ancillary departments, they were able to help this hospital attain profitability within that year they were there. It took a concerted effort from everyone to affect the turnaround, but they got it done. And, if we’d needed to send more people in, we were ready. That’s the benefit of concentrating in one field; we have a lot of names and a lot of people ready to go.

Indeed, there are companies out there who can give you what you need; we’re one of those companies, and we’re proud of it.