Monday Q&A: Executive temps

Sometimes it takes two to get the job done.

Rich Reinecke and Keith Middleton were on separate paths before going into business together. Reinecke ran local staffing firm CareerQuest for eight years, and Middleton worked as a CPA the past 20 years.

A year ago, the two entrepreneurs combined their talents and launched Fahrenheit Finance.

The business hires part-time accountants and chief financial officers for companies that need help with their financial departments.

Serial entrepreneur Karen Booth Adams, who works with several other local businesses, also helps the Henrico firm.

Richmond BizSense sat down with the two men to find out how their business helps companies, how they got started and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

Below is an edited transcript.

Richmond BizSense: Tell us a little bit about the business.

Rich Reinecke: We hire fractional CFOs and staff accountants and manage project engagement and consulting needs to help companies. We’re helping companies that don’t have in-house expertise.

RBS: What are some examples of that?

RR: As a firm gets bigger, we help them staff their company. Some come to us just once a month and say, ‘Hey, help us understand what the financials mean.’ Others just need us a couple of times a year to make sure their budgets are on track or to get help with selecting a new bank partner.

RBS: Who are your clients, and where are they?

KM: We work with pre-revenue startups, helping them with their business plans. We also help mid-level companies that aren’t big enough to afford their own CFOs. We work with Fortune 500 companies, helping them with their business intelligence, corporate card solutions and controls.

RR: We’ve had a lot of success with companies that are privately held. We have about 15 to 20 clients now. I would say about 25 percent of the clients are from my former company, CareerQuest. The rest we have built over the last year and a half.

RBS: How do you find the people you hire?

RR: We don’t post to job boards. We do a lot of networking and have a lot of banking and accounting contacts.

RBS: How long do the placements last?

RR: It varies, but we get companies asking us to send someone for a couple of weeks and companies that need someone to help them for eight or nine months. We have some companies that come to us and need help to fill a role on a full-time basis. Some need us every day.

RBS: What are some projects you’re working on?

KM: We were hired by Rainbow Station in July to be their CFO. They needed a bus, so went out and bought it and financed it for them.

RR: We’ve also recently started working with E&R Sales in Midlothian.

RBS: How many employees do you have?

RR: It varies as we get projects in. It could be two or three or as many as 10. We have about 15 internal [employees] that are with us all the time.

RBS: Why is there a need for this, and why are companies outsourcing the work?

KM: The biggest things are cost and flexibility. It costs a lot to hire talented financial and accounting people with salary, benefits and training. You could go hire a CFO, but they are only going to be good at one thing. And that’s just one person with one skill set.

Most people don’t have the time to manage it or put a team together. You can’t find what we do in one person.

RBS: What’s the most challenging aspect of the business?

RR: It’s very difficult to find professional qualified candidates.

RBS: How are planning to grow?

RR: We’re looking to add another resource manager and another person to the business development side.

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