The approach of top Finance Directors in a modern business

April 19th 2023 | Posted by Laurence Underwood

Today’s top finance directors have a more rounded commercial and strategic approach than their predecessors. They are central to the strategic planning process of the business and work hand in hand with the CEO.

Given their modern-day role, finance leaders are no longer in the “back room” of the business, number crunching. Rather, they are at the forefront of the business contributing to its strategic path and growth.

The strategic role of modern finance directors

Top finance directors drive strategic thinking in the business. They consider facts, including financial data, and assess risks, before promoting opportunities for growth. They also retain the traditional role of guardian of business assets and combine this with working closely with the CEO to drive the business forward.

Even though they still protect the finances of the organisation, gone are the days when finance directors were known for playing safe and for being somewhat risk averse. Today’s ambitious professionals understand that risks are part of business strategy and understand how to make well-calculated decisions that are not completely free from risk but that help to grow the business. Having said this, finance directors are still the voice of reason and caution when risks are too great, and decisions need to be measured.

To undertake their more strategic role, modern finance leaders know the importance of developing a range of skills. It’s no longer sufficient to be technically competent, strategic abilities, commercial awareness, and communication skills are now just as vital.

Key attributes today’s finance directors have

Overall, there are several key attributes that modern finance directors possess, in order to carry out their strategic leadership role in a business while maintaining their traditional role as protector of the organisation’s finances.

These key attributes include:

  • An impactful presence – today’s finance leaders have the ability to make their opinions and insights understood in order to be a driving force behind the growth of the business.
  • The ability to influence others – successful finance directors have the character necessary to get others to listen when they talk and take action based on their insights.
  • An inspirational presence – top finance directors inspire those around them by building trust and gaining respect, helping them to effectively harness the skills and energies of people throughout the organisation.
  • An innovative approach – modern finance directors look to innovate in their role and find new ways of taking the business forward and promoting growth.

In summary

Finance directors in modern businesses play a strategic role. They are no longer simply a numbers person, and instead work closely with the CEO to promote the growth of the organisation. To undertake their role proficiently, today’s finance directors possess key attributes such as having an impactful presence, being able to influence others, having an inspirational character and qualities, and being innovative in their leadership approach. These attributes combine to enable contemporary finance directors to undertake their role as a strategic and forward-thinking business leader.