Hire Interim CTO: Benefits, Advantages

Why should a private equity firm or a private or public business hire an interim chief technology officer?

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, technology leadership is crucial for businesses seeking to innovate, streamline operations and stay ahead of the competition. But finding the right CTO can be a challenge, particularly for private equity firms managing a portfolio of companies, or private and public companies undergoing significant change. This is why outside resources that are intimately connected to the top temporary tech executives can give you a huge advantage.

CONTACT US: Let Us Scope Your Exact-Fit Interim CTO

“For companies with tech products – internal or external – a good CTO can provide necessary leadership to make sure those products are built on time, at budget and with high quality,” says Houston Slatton, BluWave’s head of technology. “They can also play a role in architecture, validating the tech stack and helping determine the right path forward in growing organizations.

Interim CTOs can serve as a stopgap solution to either turn things around or simply keep the business moving forward while a long-term solution is sought.

Here are five benefits of hiring a temporary CTO.

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How To Extract Data from ERP Systems

What is ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software streamlines business processes by coordinating data flow across an organization. It provides a single source of truth and optimizes operations.

They are used to manage everyday business activities such as finance functions, compliance, risk management, retail, supply chain and HR.

Get Help Today with Your ERP System

HR Diligence

How To Extract Data from ERP Systems

Integrate API Endpoints

One way to extract data from ERP systems is by connecting your database to an API management platform.

From there, you can define and test your API endpoints with an external tool.

Lastly, you will integrate the API endpoints in order to get the data from the ERP system.

Use Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) Tools

Another way is by connecting your ETL tool to your ERP system’s database.

Once connected, you must tell the program what information you want to pull out before converting it into a format other systems can use.

Then you can put all that converted data into a database.

Read More: What are the Different Data Warehouse Types?

Get Help with ERP Systems

As you might have gathered from the overview above, managing Enterprise Resource Planning data is no easy task.

That’s why so many PE firms seek help for their portcos in this area. Private and public companies often seek outside support, too.

Here are the primary hurdles we hear about on scoping calls where a client needs help extracting data from their ERP:

  1. Lack of internal expertise: This is a common challenge when extracting data from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Outsourcing to a third-party service provider offers access to domain experts with the knowledge and skills to efficiently extract data.
  2. Time constraints: Outsourcing offers a faster turnaround and allows companies to focus on core business functions rather than data extraction, which can be a time-consuming process.
  3. Complexity: Extracting data can be complex, especially if the data is spread across different modules or systems. Experienced service providers who specialize in data extraction can provide a more efficient solution and ensure that the information is accurate and reliable.
  4. Cost: Investing in the necessary hardware and software to extract data from an ERP system can be expensive. By outsourcing the project, companies only pay for the services they need.
  5. Need for specialized tools: Companies may not have access to the necessary specialized tools and software. These same tools will be part of a third-party service provider’s day-to-day toolkit.
  6. Data accuracy concerns: Extracting data from an ERP system requires a high level of accuracy to ensure that the data is reliable and can be used for reporting or analysis. If you leave this to chance, you may end up making important decisions based on faulty data.
  7. Need for customized data extraction: Companies may require customized data extraction from their ERP system, which may not be possible with existing in-house resources. Outsourcing to a third-party provider can provide customized solutions that meet the specific needs of the company.
  8. Compliance and regulatory requirements: The data extraction may be subject to specific regulations or industry standards. Companies may not have the in-house expertise to ensure that the process meets these standards, and can benefit from the provider’s knowledge of industry-specific regulations and standards. This helps minimize the risk of regulatory violations, legal penalties, and reputation damage.
  9. Scalability: As a company grows, the amount of data generated by an ERP system may increase, and the data extraction process can become more unwieldy. There may become a point when companies don’t have the resources to handle the volume of data generated by their ERP system. Third-party providers can offer scalable solutions that can handle larger data volumes and provide ongoing support as the company grows.

Connect with PE-Grade ERP Resources

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Healthcare-Focused Finance Consultant for Portco

Service Area: Financial Modeling & Analysis

Client Type: Upper-Middle Market Private Equity Firm

Service Provider Type: Independent Consultant with Financial Expertise

Industry: Healthcare

The Need
Ready to sell one of its portcos, the PE firm was looking for an outside expert to provide pre-sale diligence

The PE firm was ready to sell its diagnostic supplies and equipment manufacturer and was looking for a financial expert to get them across the finish line.

The Challenge
Financial expert to help prepare a portco for sale

The individual would need to help review quality of earnings, perform a market study, validate a financial model, coach management on pitching, and most importantly, be able to close the books and handle data requests.

How we helped
Connected the client witha PE-grade CFO

BluWave provided three experienced resources – all with CFO experience – from its pre-vetted network in less than 24 hours. We were by the firm’s side throughout the vetting calls, and helped them choose a best-fit option.

The Result
Consultant comes on-site and helps the PE firm close the sale in the same calendar year

Months after signing on the independent consultant, who worked on-site throughout the process, another PE firm purchased the portco. The consultant helped the organization with pre-sale diligence, optimized its finance function and ensured a smooth handoff to new ownership.

The buyers commented on the strong foundation and high growth potential of their new asset. The selling PE firm was equally pleased with the process.

We had a great experience with the consultant. My key feedback is that he has a great temperament and worked well with us and management. He has an ability to work independently and delivered solid results.

PE Firm

HVAC Industry Experts Set Up PE Firm’s Portco Exit

The Need
Ready to sell one of its portcos, the PE firm was looking for an outside expert to provide pre-sale diligence

The PE firm was ready to sell its diagnostic supplies and equipment manufacturer and was looking for a financial expert to get them across the finish line.

The Challenge
Prep for sale and build a corporate office team from scratch

The PE firm needed an HVAC-experienced market research firm to help with a pair of high-priority projects. With an eye on exiting soon, the firm wanted someone in the same region as their portco – the southeast U.S. – to talk to union reps, customers, facility managers, trade organization leaders and OEMs.

They were also looking to hire a CEO, CFO and Chief Labor Relations officer to build a corporate office from scratch.

How BluWave Helped
Introduced best-in-class service providers

With just a two-week timeline, we immediately presented a pair of BluWave-grade service providers with HVAC union experience. The client chose its preferred option and was introduced on a call the next business day.

The Result
Service provider sets up private equity firm for successful exit five months after introduction

The client engaged with the service provider, who completed the market study and helped them fill their executive roles. Five months later, the firm sold its portco to a large-cap PE firm after a five-year hold period.

The portco had a 400 percent revenue and EBITDA increase during the holding period, and integrated six different acquisitions in its exit year while working with a BluWave service provider.

We recommend the service provider for anything in the built environment. The team was great. Everything was great. They clearly knew the space. I’d use them again.

PE Firm Principal

Private Equity Interim CHRO: What Are the Benefits?

An interim chief human resources officer can be a great asset to maximize a portco’s value.

They can help a business run more efficiently by evaluating existing HR processes and aligning them with business goals.

Whether going through an M&A, an internal crisis, a reorg or other situations that require a talent expert, here are some reasons private equity firms should consider temporary HR leaders.

Case Study: Interim CHRO Urgently Needed For Professional Services Portco

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Interim CFO urgently needed for prep for sale process

PE firm urgently needs an interim CFO to help with prep for sale

A PE managing partner came to us with a critical need for an interim CFO to lead their software portco through a sale process. Hoping to sell within the next 3 to 4 months, the managing partner was urgently looking for someone who could immediately come in to the portco, take point on gathering essential documentation for sale, manage financial projections, and serve as a leader within the portco during this transitional time. The PE firm quickly needed a PE-grade interim CFO who was available for the next 4-6 months, had deep SaaS expertise, and was able to travel onsite several days a month.

BluWave has pre-vetted providers matching client’s needs

Leveraging our founder’s 20 years in private equity, we have extensive frameworks for assessing PE-grade prep for sale needs. BluWave utilizes technology, data, and human ingenuity to pre-map, assess, monitor, and maintain deep pools of interim CFOs that uniquely meet the private equity standard. We interviewed the PE firm to understand their specific key criteria, and then connected the client with the select pre-vetted interim CFOs from our invitation-only Intelligent Network that fit their exacting needs.

Firm engages interim CFO and begins prep for sale

The day after the initial scoping call, the PE firm and portfolio company were introduced to two PE-grade interim CFO that specialized in helping software companies prepare for sale. The client selected their ideal choice. The firm engaged the interim executive and was able to confidently proceed with their prep for sale process thanks to the leadership of the CFO we connected them with.

Leadership coaching consulting firm needed for executives

PE firm urgently needs leadership coach for prep for sale process

A PE vice president came to us with a critical need for leadership coaching services to build up one of their portco’s mid-level management teams in preparation for sale. Looking to exit the company within the next year and with several high performing mid-level leaders with little to no executive experience, they were in critical need of a provider that could coach this cohort up for the sale process. The firm specifically wanted a provider that had experience in a PE setting, practice around exit prep, and expertise in coaching the management level just under the C-suite.

BluWave identifies exact-fit leadership coaching expert

Leveraging our founder’s 20 years in private equity, we have extensive frameworks for assessing PE-grade prep for sale needs. BluWave utilizes technology, data, and human ingenuity to pre-map, assess, monitor, and maintain deep pools of leadership coaching consultants that uniquely meet the private equity standard. We interviewed the PE firm to understand their specific key criteria, and then connected the client with the select pre-vetted executive coaches from our invitation-only Intelligent Network that fit their exacting needs.

Firm engages provider to coach management through prep for sale process

Within less than 24 hours from the initial scoping call, the PE firm was introduced to an exact-fit leadership coaching provider. The client engaged the recommended provider and was able to confidently move forward in their efforts to sell the business knowing that their management team would now have the proper coaching required to successfully deliver on their roadshow presentations.

In the Know: The Importance of Interim CFOs

As part of an ongoing series, we’re sharing real-time trending topics we are hearing from our 500+ PE firm clients. In our most recent installment, Wyatt Wiser, a BluWave Strategic Account Executive, shares the importance of interim CFOs and why they are a vital resource all PE firms should be taking advantage of. Learn more by watching the video below.

Interested in connecting with interim CFOs? Contact us here to quickly get connected to the exact-fit interim CFO you need.

Video transcript:

The CFO role is one of the most critical seats in a business. The position plays a key role in ensuring that a business is strong and if PE-backed, that the investment is successful. Because this seat is vital to a company’s success, it is important that it is not left open, and is also filled by someone who possesses the right skillset to execute on the demands that come with being a CFO.

To ensure that both of these are always the case, PE firms often turn towards interim CFOs. At BluWave, we equip our private equity firm clients with interim CFOs for various due diligence, value creation, and prep-for-sale needs. Here are some of the most common use cases for bringing in interim CFOs:

Number one, unanticipated departures. When CFOs unexpectedly resign, it can leave a company’s finance function in chaos. We help PE firms combat this by providing them with exact-fit interim CFOs who can quickly step in, fill the shoes of the role, and keep the ship steady while the search for a permanent placement kicks off.

Number two, longer than normal hiring processes. Even when a CFO seat is expected to be vacant within a certain timeframe, sourcing a candidate to step in at the exact time you need them to can be challenging. With hiring processes taking longer than normal, interim CFOs can help bridge the gap, giving you extra time to ensure you hire the best-fit person for the job.

Number three, professionalizing new portcos’ finance functions. We are supporting many PE firms as soon as a deal closes, by supplying them with interim CFOs. These firms are bringing in these individuals to help new portcos’ finance functions understand what it means to be PE-grade, and help them get the right monthly performance packages in place to ensure that the PE firm is getting the info it needs.

And finally, number four, prep for sale processes. Our clients bring in interim CFOs to respond to diligence requests, assess data, and pull reports prior to a sale. By bringing in an extra set of hands to take care of the extra workload that comes with a sale process, FTEs are freed up to maintain focus on keeping the daily routines going, without causing a delay on the sale process. The modern-day M&A process is fast and furious, valuations decline the second you have to hit the pause button, making it crucial to keep the momentum.

Interim CFOs are one of the most versatile and useful resources available to private equity firms. More than 500 leading firms come to us with their interim CFOs because of our ability to know before they need, hone in on individuals that meet their specific, unique criteria, and quickly connect them to the select few that are exact-fit.

If we can support your interim CFO needs, please contact us at insights@bluwave.net.



How to find the right-fit interim CFO for your growing business

I get asked a lot of questions about how to build a business, and how to do it with as few headaches as possible. Not that I’ve totally figured it out, but I’ve certainly made my fair share of missteps and gratefully have learned something along the way. From investing, to hiring, to reducing headcount, to managing the ups and downs of an economic recovery period—one thing remains unchanged: leadership matters. And if you’re talking about key leadership positions, the one that companies most often get wrong is the CFO. 

Why? Well, the answers are as varied as the reasons they fail, but it generally has to do with asking the right questions from the beginning. In other words, the interview process is often to blame.  

I wrote an article for CFO Magazine about “hiring the right interim CFO” and how to ensure you set your company up for success when it comes to hiring one of the most important positions. Whether you are looking for an interim CFO (who can move into a full-time position) or looking for a full-time financial executive, here are some things you should know before you greenlight your new hire:


8 Things To Know Before Hiring An Interim CFO


  1. If you are a PE-owned company and need to bring in a short-term finance chief, find someone who has worked for a PE-backed company before. 
  2. The interim executive needs to have a track record of wins. That generally means a significant tenure at multiple companies. 
  3. Find someone with industry experience, because it’s much easier to stand at the finance helm of a manufacturing, healthcare, IT, or services company if you’ve done it before. 
  4. Similarly, the interim CFO should have experience working for a company of similar size and scale. 
  5. It’s not enough to understand the numbers (sales, revenue, overhead) — you need someone who understands what the numbers mean. 
  6. For the best results, find a pro who has a high IQ and a high EQ (emotional intelligence), because the interim CFO needs to quickly gain favor from others in the organization to gather information and build a story around the numbers.
  7. Be sure to have conversations with key stakeholders in a candidate’s prior roles. Choose the references; do not use the references the candidate gives. 
  8. While enthusiasm is a wonderful aspect of a new leader, a short-term executive should have a stabilizing effect, not a disruptive one.


For more details and to read the full article in CFO Magazine, click here. 

Interested in connecting with a CFO or interim CFO in our network? Contact our consulting manager, Scott Bellinger, here.

REDIRECTED Interim CFO – what to look for when hiring this critical role

One of the biggest mistakes private equity funds make when searching for an interim CFO for their portfolio company is looking for someone who can do everything a full-time CFO would. Searching for this diamond-in-the-rough candidate ends up taking just as long as it would take to find a full-time candidate, and in the meantime, the portfolio company is without a strong financial advisor.

Instead of wasting time and money looking for an interim candidate who can do everything, PE funds should concentrate on the three most important things they want their CFO to achieve in the two to six months that they’ll be at the company. Do you need to push through key changes in specific business areas? Do you need to identify internal control shortcomings and their associated risks? Choose the interim CFO candidate who can address your most pressing needs.


The Four Qualities of a Successful Interim CFO

While an interim part-time CFO may not be the agent of change that a full-time CFO will be, they should have qualities that allow them to quickly onboard and effectively solve problems in the short time they’re with the portfolio company. Characteristics to look for in an interim CFO include:

  • Strong Collaborative Skills—An interim chief financial officer needs to build a strong relationship with both the PE fund and the portfolio company leaders. They also need to build trust with the portco’s in-house finance team. This requires transparency and a willingness to collaborate.
  • Ability to Adapt Quickly—Since they’ll be with the portco for a limited time, a temporary CFO needs to hit the ground running. They should work with the PE fund to quickly define goals, requirements, and deliverables for the company’s transition period. Ideally, the interim CFO should have experience in the portco’s industry so that there isn’t a steep learning curve.
  • Desire to Solve Immediate Problems—An outsourced CFO should be someone who’s excited to jump in and solve the three most important, immediate challenges that the PE fund has identified. The CFO should recognize that they may not see the full results of their efforts before they leave, but that they’ll be making others on the portco’s team look good.
  • Excellent Communication Skills—An interim CFO should be adept at interpreting financial data and presenting it clearly to the leadership team. Strong communication skills will help the CFO quickly establish credibility with their team and smooth the transition post-acquisition.

Narrowing Down Your Interim CFO Candidates

As you narrow down your pool of interim CFOs, review each candidate’s career moves carefully. If a candidate has a new job every year but isn’t a professional temporary CFO, that could be a red flag. If they are a professional CFO consultant who has worked with many different companies, see what experience they’ve had in your portco’s industry and with similar challenges.

When interviewing your final candidates, ask for references. Tell each candidate which references you want to see rather than just taking the ones they give you. When you talk to their references, ask them how the interim CFO addressed their most pressing issues. You should look for a candidate who has completed the same types of goals that you have identified as being the most important for your portco right now.

Finally, don’t waste your own team’s time going down rabbit holes as you search for an interim CFO. BluWave can connect you with custom-fit interim CFO candidates and vet each provider to narrow down the field. Our research-intensive, private equity-tested approach can get you better outcomes and save you thousands on direct opportunity costs. Set up a call with us to learn more about how we can help you find the right interim CFO for your portco.