The Modern Finance Director

Sam Holt - Big Sky Additions Ltd

The face of The Modern Finance Director (FD) is changing rapidly. Successful FD’s now play an ever increasing role in not just accountancy functions but also the senior leadership team, proactively supporting business growth and the development of a long-term vision,  traditionally more solely the preserve of the Managing Director. In 2013 the modern FD and an increasing amount of Financial Controllers too, have seen their roles become more challenging due to an ever increasing global reach with a greater pressure to deliver higher quality management information. Finance is now very much about becoming a key business partner for the organisation and making sense of the systems and processes to help drive profitability and generate cash.

In an entrepreneurial business The Modern Finance Director needs to help the business owner to understand what to do and where to go in order to generate cash from within the business and possibly outside. “They need to play a crucial role in the leadership team, supporting key decision makers to understand what’s likely to make the best profits and what products or services will help to improve cash flow,” suggests Big Sky Additions’ Director Sam Holt. As part of this role, a modern FD also needs a critical understanding of which customers are likely to pay on time.

A modern Finance Directors role may also look different in terms of their own employment basis. “Increasing numbers of ambitious, growing businesses are looking for a FD to work on a part time basis or perhaps in a self employed consultancy role to give added flexibility,” explains Sam. “In this way, a smaller business is able to tap into a high level of (expensive) expertise at a lower overall cost than a full time employee,” he continues. This idea can also help to redress the gender imbalance at board level since a part time or freelance role is often more appealing to working mothers looking to achieve better work-life balance.

As a business owner or entrepreneur entering the market to recruit a new FD, it is important that you find someone you can get along with: “It is likely that you will spend a lot of time together and go through some challenging times so it really helps if everyone gets along well and understands each other,” adds Sam.

When reviewing candidates for a FD position, Sam offers the following tips:

  1. It goes without saying that you must make sure they have the appropriate qualifications.
  2. Look for candidates who have been there and done it at least once
  3. You may want to shortlist individuals who have specific experience or an interest in your industry sector.
  4. High quality candidates will bring with them a network of contacts and existing relationships with key suppliers that can be relied upon by the business – cross reference these to the business needs.
  5. If there are known specific issues pre-existing in the business then it is really valuable to choose candidates with specific experience of overcoming such scenarios.
  6. A top candidate should have more than just job skills – they need to be able to demonstrate business skills and an aptitude for strategic thinking too alongside appropriate inter personal strengths

For further information and support to recruit for any financial or accountancy positions in your business  please call Sam on 01603 516254

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