7 Questions with Kim Murray, CPA who recently left her successful finance career in the travel industry to take on an exciting voyage of her own!
Kim is a finance leader who just transitioned from full-time work to become a fractional CFO, under her new company Flexify. Prior to becoming a consultant, she worked in a variety of strategic finance roles across the travel, not-for-profit, and advertising industries. She has been integral to a number of large-scale operational finance projects throughout her career in Toronto and South Africa, with a focus on cost, process, and system optimization. She hopes to bring a fresh perspective and impactful approach to her new clients, creating a 360°view of the organization to assist in the speed and reliability of decisions.
She recently landed her first contract with a financial consulting service, Fin/ally. We spoke to her about the transition and what she’s learned during her first 30 days.
What motivated you to make the jump from a permanent finance role to a contract one?
There were a couple of factors that played into my decision, but it came down to playing to my strengths and doing meaningful work. In my previous experience, I was drawn to roles with a high value-add proposition and this allowed me to be impactful, swiftly, and effectively. I also am drawn to projects as they provide variety and different challenges vs. a day-to-day routine. Lastly, I really enjoy working with a variety of people, I have learned so much from all the different personalities I have met throughout my career. Along with these, the flexibility that you can create being a consultant was also pivotal to my decision – balance is key.
What has been the biggest high (and low) of the process so far?
The biggest high was landing my first client, Fin/ally. It gave me the nudge (or push!) I needed to take the leap. Another high has been meeting so many wonderful people through the Tandem Network I am an affiliate of, which comprises a whole community of awesome CFOs. Lastly, being given the opportunity to be a part of screening start-up pitch decks of some truly fascinating products! I think I am on a new business euphoria so no lows just yet, check back in 6 months 😊.
You’ve just started a new contract role at Fin/ally as a Fractional CFO, what have the first 30 days been like?
I could not have asked for a better start! Working with Heather (the Founder of Fin/ally) has been eye-opening, I am able to see first hand the operations and strategy of the CFO consulting model, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. It has been a quick ramp-up with many clients, each with slightly different needs, and my first time working with a team who I have only ever met on Zoom. Overall, it is great to work with a business so passionate about doing work that is truly differentiated through the quality they deliver.
What was different about the interview and onboarding process for this interim role vs your permanent ones?
“Interviewing” in many circumstances will look different. Networking is key. In my case what started as a conversation on how to start my own consulting practice, ended with connecting the dots as to how I could help. For onboarding, I was fortunate to have a brief handover, which is not the norm, but the expectation is to perform immediately with a high level of competence. On work I am currently trying to secure, “interviewing” is the presentation of a proposal, which showcases your thinking and approach, and most importantly, taking the time to walk the potential client through the method proposed and ensuring they have buy-in to the solution.
As a Fractional CFO, how is your mandate different coming into an organization for a shorter period of time?
Being impactful from the start; the value-add component must be there from day one. There is an expectation and confidence in your expertise, which comes with a great deal of responsibility, so be prepared to deliver. Each client will have a different set of needs that you will have to navigate through quickly, so trust your expertise, engage early on with your stakeholders, align on expectations, and get stuck in.
What are the key skills needed to hit the ground running as a fractional CFO?
Confidence in your abilities and knowledge, ability to integrate into a team instantaneously, and communication skills. You will need to get your client onboard with an approach or way of doing things that will require influence and expectation setting. You will only be successful if you bring the client and the team along for the ride.
What advice would you give to yourself 30 days ago?
Once you open your mind to this epic journey, the floodgates open! This is an exciting time but can also be overwhelming, so try to use the time before you make the change, to do as much upfront work as possible. For example, setting up your business, registering for your GST/HST account, your accounting system, website, and the list goes on! You want to be able to focus on the billable work and getting new clients.
This is the first article in our interview series, #ConsultingLife, about finance and accounting leaders who have chosen the exciting life of a career consultant.About the AuthorCheck out more of our popular articles on Career AdvicePopular Articles