Should early stage startups have a CFO? What about a fractional or part time CFO?

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CFO in Finance (non-banking), 11 - 50 employees
At early stages of companies, CFOs can help 1) manage cash (either from revenue, debt, or equity), 2) help scale investments to turn into revenue, 3) oversee investors, important partners, etc. Personally, I don't think you need a CFO or an fractional CFO until you have at least $5M of something (revenue, equity, etc). At that point, you likely need a Head of finance or VP Finance. Until you're convinced you have product market fit, then there's nothing to scale, and you won't need a CFO/VP Finance.

This is very different from having bookkeeping and accounting. I think you need bookkeeping and accounting from formation.
CFO in Finance (non-banking), Self-employed
It depends on the company but I think early stage startups can benefit from a fractional CFO to help raise funds and manage burn. 

When a company should hire one depends on complexity of the business and the experience of the founders. 
EVP Finance & CFO in Services (non-Government), 51 - 200 employees
Definitely.  Having a CFO to bring their experience, financial and operational knowledge along with FP&A, cash & risk management can make a huge difference for a start-up.  At miminum a fractional CFO.
CFO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees
I’ve spent my career in the start-up space as a CFO, and I argue unequivocally that startups need this position to speak the language of VCs and PE groups and to establish controls in this fast-moving space. To see what happens when startups don’t have a solid CFO, see FTX.
Principal in Finance (non-banking), Self-employed
There is little value to having a full time CFO as a startup. Do the math: If a CFO is going to command a salary, on average, of $150K and the startup is doing $1 million with 30% margins, the CFO alone makes up 50% of the remainder.

There’s value to bringing in some talent like a fractional CFO on a very part time basis but even that’s usually not money well spent as a startup. 

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