Training for hiring a finance director. There’s no denying that 2020 has taken its toll on businesses. And with all that’s happening within the economy, we recognise that if you’re looking to hire in finance right now then you might be overwhelmed with applicants.
We’ve worked with our finance associate tutor Anita Tweats to bring you 10 tips to help you when hiring senior finance role.
‘From my experience working with businesses, I understand how to go about hiring the perfect-fit FD for your business. But for many business leaders or in-house recruiters tasked with the job, sourcing these roles isn’t so easy. That’s why I’ve put together some top tips to help you on your way!’ – Anita Tweats
My top 10 tips would be these…
A really good FD should be the number two to the CEO or managing director – so personal chemistry is vital. Being a sound bean counter, however well qualified, is not enough. You need someone with a strong personality who isn’t afraid to challenge the head honchos – someone who will spot the small black dot on the horizon signalling bad weather on days when everybody else is enjoying the sunshine of business growth.
Don’t wait around
You should recruit a financial director as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you get to a size where not having a proper finance department holds you back. If you don’t have an FD, the CEO ends up knee-deep in finances instead of spending time driving the business forward. Act now to reap the rewards later.
Hire in stages
Each stage of business growth requires different levels of skill from your finance function. Small businesses with up to 15 employees will find that a competent bookkeeper will suffice; but for larger businesses, they’ll often need an accountant, plus some more strategic support from a finance director. Your needs will grow from purely keeping the books to a broader commercial role covering management information, forecasting, IT, tax, financing and back-office support.
It’s crucial to anticipate the next stage well before you reach it; failure to do so will mean more pain later. There are so many times we’ve seen business suffer with things like cash-flow just because they’ve not had senior resource in place to conduct proper governance and sense-checking on critical business decisions.
Sense of humour
Yes, FDs do have them. You both need to feel good about the chemistry. Make sure you get that warm and fuzzy feeling in the first five minutes of the interview. Try to imagine yourself on a ten-hour car journey with your FD as driver. Would you survive and be talking at the end of the journey?
Look for passion
Make sure your FD is someone with a genuine passion for fast growth. The classic trap is to assume someone with an outstanding large blue-chip record is what you need. Paying for advice from a 30-year veteran with lots of experience isn’t going to work out if there’s no longer the appetite to roll up their sleeves and get stuff done.
Check their battle scars
A financial director who’s been there and done that (and has the battle scars to prove it) is always an advantage. Look for someone who has dealt with cash-flow problems, legal disputes and low-margin businesses. You never know when you might just need that relevant experience.
Match them up with your business plan
Hire someone whose experience fits with the growth plan you have for the business, be it organic, through acquisition, overseas expansion, IPO or merger.
Know the going rate… and pay above it
Salaries can vary widely according to region, industry and company size, so do your research and find out what competitors are paying to make sure your offer is competitive. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on salary. Good-quality candidates don’t come cheap. Get in touch if you’d like up to date salary surveys in your area.
Consider part-time appointments
If you don’t need a top FD right away, hire a super-hot FD on a part time basis: Through their expertise in negotiating with banks, invoice discounting rates and other contractual expenditure, they’ll easily neutralise their costs. Employing them on a part time basis could easily be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
We hope you found these tips and training for hiring a finance director useful and if you’re looking to learn more about the world of finance, we offer a Finance for Non-Finance Directors course or you can speak to us today on 0161 509 2999.
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Associate tutor of In Professional Development