Survey results revealed: Skills Survey

August 24th 2015 | Posted by phil scott

Leadership and communication are the most important FD skills

A finance director’s ability to lead a team and communicate with colleagues is deemed just as important as holding any professional accreditation, according to the latest FD Recruit survey.

The 2015 FD Recruit skills survey asked hundreds of top FDs and CFOs throughout the country across a range of industries to rate the most vital skills and attributes – and soft skills topped the list.

Effective leadership and the ability to mentor was deemed ‘essential’ by 86% of respondents, with 79% rating professional qualifications and accreditations the same.

Communication with colleagues and internal stakeholders, strategic thinking and planning are also crucial to the success of FDs and CFOs.

Skills scored more ‘advantageous’ than ‘essential’ included the ability to communicate ideas with external audiences, understanding of marketing and commerciality, a good understanding of IT. Foreign languages and social media skills ranked as least important.

These results were reflected by the fact that only 28% of respondents are currently studying towards finance-related professional qualifications, but 58% are currently undertaking, or will undertake in the next 12 months, personal development courses.

Of those not currently studying any qualifications, just 12% stated a lack of desire or available courses, with two-thirds reporting time constraints and a fifth hindered by financial constraints.

Phil Scott, director of FD Recruit which undertook the UK-wide survey, said: “It is clear that proficiency with numbers and analytics is just one of the strings that a successful FD or CFO needs in his or her bow. In today’s market, heading a finance department means building a team, nurturing individuals, and communicating ideas with colleagues as well as shareholders and financiers.”

Phil added: “It’s clear from these results that employers looking to recruit and retain the best talent should encourage their FDs and CFOs to undertake personal development training. Our respondents reported the desire to study and train, but were looking to their employers for assistance with funding and flexible working hours.”