Building a career as a Finance Director

March 15th 2023 | Posted by Stuart Clark

Respected and experienced finance directors are best placed to provide advice to those aspiring to reach the top of their profession.

Having the right financial training, experience and qualifications in place is a given. In addition, here are five other top pieces of advice that most successful professionals give to those at an earlier stage of their career.

Plan your career path

Top finance professionals talk about the importance of knowing where you want to get to when you start your career in finance.

Every stage in the journey to get there then involves making strategic and tactical decisions to achieve the goals required to meet your final destination.

These decisions involve broadening your experience in order to develop skills across the finance function. Spending time in different roles also ensures that you are able to relate to those in subordinate positions as you progress up the ladder.

Consider the benefits of the role rather than solely the salary

When the most ambitious finance professionals are developing their career as a finance director, they are not solely focussed on the related salary.

They pay careful attention to the entire package on offer and the learning and development potential involved. It’s also advantageous to have a well-known and respected name on your CV.

Get international experience

For any executive level role, having international experience is an advantage. The main reasons why an ambitious finance professional benefits from having this experience are the connections they make and the knowledge of international markets they gain.

Given the increasing level of globalisation that is set to continue, having this knowledge and these contacts in place is valuable to anyone hoping to achieve success as a finance director.

Optimise networking opportunities

Experienced finance directors who are at the top of their game will tell you how much of an essential role networking has played in their journey. Developing a network of connections is valuable in terms of opening up opportunities to progress. It also works in terms of acquiring transparent advice, feedback, and recommendations.

Be known for your credibility

Credibility is one of the greatest attributes that the most successful finance directors have. Honesty is essential, even when it means owning the times when things did not go to plan.

Talking about the problems as well as the successes garners you a reputation for being credible. Showing an understanding of what went wrong and how to reduce the risk of it happening again is far more impressive than professing perfection.

After all, no-one goes through their entire career without experiencing events that could have gone better. Being open as a leader shows that you are not trying to hide anything.

Others within the organisation are more likely to follow suit when you set an example. Having this type of influence aids career progression.

Finance professionals who are at the pinnacle of their career have been helped by embracing each of these factors. Those who are still in the early stages of their career have the opportunity to succeed if they utilise this advice to their advantage.

If you are a Finance Director or CFO looking for a new role, register with us. If you are an employer looking to hire an FD or CFO into your leadership team, contact us.