Outsourcing has become the game changer in the world of global business. More and more firms have resorted to outsourcing integral parts of their businesses, in order to streamline operations, cut costs, and stay competitive. That is also one of the reasons why the Philippines has managed to rise above the rest, offering one of the best values in the world for outsourced businesses. But did you know that multinationals can now outsource their chief financial officers (CFO) too?
Having been a CFO once, David Bizzaro certainly knows what the multinational companies face for them to grow and expand. Oftentimes, they need someone with the experience and expertise of having been exposed in international markets, versus a CFO that had never left his home base. This is the primary reason he says, why he and his partner decided to form their own company called The IFC Group, to address a growing need.
The IFC Group is a professional consulting firm that provides outsourced CFO services and financial advisory services to multinational clients. Founded five years ago by himself and his partner Dean Larsen who is based in Shanghai, the former finance officers realized there was a niche for offering services to companies that need someone with an international background and expertise, but don’t necessarily have either the budget or the need for a full-time CFO.
“As a former CFO, I understand the types of challenges that chief finance officers are up against, when they’re operating internationally, and I help them solve global business problems,” Bizzaro says. Their group started offering interim CFO services, part-time CFOs, or fractional CFO services and financial advisory. Their clients include companies in Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
Bizzaro explains that outsourcing finance work in companies have been practiced in corporate America for quite sometime now, although more on the domestic scale. But he says it is an emerging trend in Europe and Asia. The companies that need their services, he adds, are the ones that are expanding internationally, or are looking to consolidate their international operations to drive more efficiencies or to set up shared service centers.
Their clients also include companies that are undergoing a transition, such as those whose CFOs have left and the IFC Group comes in to fill a gap until they are able to find a replacement. Increasingly, he says, companies that are going through a transformation either as a result of a merger or have been acquired, are also their clients. Bizzaro says they also have clients who get them on a project-specific basis, while other types include start-ups or emerging companies that currently don’t have the need for a full-time CFO, but need someone with a senior level of experience and strong corporate background that can help lead them through, whether its an initial public offering (IPO), a start-up, or an international expansion.
Ever since it started in 2009, the IFC Group’s target clients have been the middle market firms that are trying to expand in the international market. Some of the companies that the Group has helped in the finance department are Sprint/Global One, CIENA, AVAYA, and the ICT Group.
Prior to IFC, Bizzaro spent a lot of his time working overseas. In the Philippines, Bizzaro served as the CFO of SPI Global, a $200 million leading BPO company with over 18,000 employees worldwide, where he provided strategic financial leadership and guidance to the CEO and the board of directors.
When asked where he is based, Bizzaro describes himself as a “virtual person” maintaining offices in Houston, Texas, and in Manila. He says he used to maintain another office in New York, but since he moved to Manila, he found himself handling more businesses here and thus, decided to stay. “Wherever the client calls is where I go, and if a client needs me to stay in Dubai for six months, I will go, or if a client needs me in South America, or Europe for a month or two, I go.”
Bizzaro says the seemingly nomadic lifestyle that he leads doesn’t bother him at all. His wife is from Spain, and one of his two kids was born in Madrid, while the other one in Netherlands, and his family is used to living overseas. Right now, he says, he and his wife are based in Manila, while his two kids are currently in a Texas university.
Despite not knowing where his work will take him, Bizzaro says he and his family are able to work things out logistically. They have a house in Malaga, Spain, where they spend their holidays together, as often as they could.
Personally, he says, he is able to pursue his other hobbies too, such as biking with his motorcycle group, where they travel to as far as they can go. Exploring had always been one of his passions he says, and he’s happy that his family also shares his passion. “We are a global family,” he says, and in the end, what matters is that they all enjoy what they do, and sharing the experiences and making beautiful memories together is what life for them should be all about.