What sort of team does a modern Finance Director need?
Things have moved on from the days when finance departments were filled with people hunched over ledgers and the FD was seen as the man who liked to say ‘no’. Now, finance directors – men and women – see their role as growth-enablers but how is this best achieved? And what type of people do you need in a strong finance team?
The answer to this will depend on the type of company you work for. There are some core skills which most teams require:
- The ability to build and maintain cashflow is central
- The ability to develop working capital solutions
- Working with other departments to minimise the value of Work in Progress and create efficiencies
- Building relationships with funding sources (lenders and investors)
Some companies will also require more strategic skills, such as:
- Seeking investment opportunities to help your company grow in future
- Spotting growth opportunities, whatever your market and whatever the economic climate
These might seem reasonably obvious but there are other valuable skills that finance professionals can develop – for their own benefit and to support their teams. These ‘softer’ skills. The ones highlighted by CIMA include:
- Presentation skills: how you get your message across
- Strategic vision: using financial structures to identify opportunities, understand risk and add value
- Networking: using connections both within and outside the company
- Influence: engaging with and influencing senior management
- Management: motivating and managing the finance team
Interestingly, these topics tie in with the findings of a recent survey (October 2010) by Grant Thornton. The 350 FDs who were interviewed in the survey emphasised the need for outstanding finance directors to be good communicators who can build strong relationships with others in the business.
By working to develop the kind of soft skills promoted by CIMA, you and your team can lay the foundations for outstanding performance, as described by the Grant Thornton survey.
At Sue Rees, we understand the importance of building and maintain strong teams so we work closely with all our clients to give you a shortlist of candidates who will support you in achieving your goals. We hope you found this newsletter interesting. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues and contacts.