8 steps to becoming a successful finance director

November 21st 2018 | Posted by phil scott

8 steps to becoming a successful finance director

8 steps to becoming a successful finance director

It takes a certain type of individual to become a successful finance director.

As well as being able to keep within a tight budget and manage the expectations of key stakeholders, you need knowledge, expertise, experience and the ability to keep a cool head in all situations.

Finance Directors are important players in many key projects. It’s no longer a 9-5 accounting and finance desk job.

Here are some the key requirements to becoming a successful FD…

1. Become a qualified accountant

Finance directors need expert numerical and budgeting skills.

It is therefore advisable to undertake an official accounting qualification. It helps you to build skills such as critical thinking, analysis and organisation and time management, which are essential for finance directors.

It will teach you better budget management, working under pressure and give you a greater understanding of compliance requirements.

The role also requires a lot of organisation and excellent time management skills, which a certification can help build.

2. Bridge the gaps between teams

Sometimes, there is a divide between finance and other departments within organisations.

Some departments may feel finance is being too critical and finance may feel they are being misunderstood.

Everyone works and plans better if everyone understands each other’s viewpoints.

Finance director, in particular, need to make an effort to understand different departments’ pain points in order to bring them together.

Reaching out and collaborating is a must for a finance director.

3. Use and understand ERP software

Technology has completely changed how people work and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is now connecting everything together.

Using ERP, purchase orders and invoices can be put into the system, which will then appear for the finance team to process.

You can see everything at the click of a button. Therefore, you’ll notice the reasons why there are delays in processing, so you can improve efficiency.

4. Improve your people skills

A Finance Director will be working with many different individuals and teams from different backgrounds.

To bring people’s expectations together and resolve conflict, you need to talk to them a lot.

That’s means being a good communicator and listener and to be able to lead.

You aren’t just crunching numbers – you need to make an effort to be more social in order to produce stronger teams.

Join professional groups and get out there in order to meet other people.

5. Learn from your peers

There are hundreds of way to learn from your peers – such as attending FD events, online forums and even co-mentoring schemes.

Find out both their best qualities and their weaknesses.

Share your knowledge with them and they may share theirs. This way, you will improve as a leader

6. Stay up-to-date with your stakeholders’ needs

Understanding your stakeholders’ different priorities will automatically give you an advantage.

You’ll have access to more funding this way, and have a greater impact.

7. Be open to change

As we’ve discussed before, strategic roles are more about analysis than number crunching.

The role of finance directors is transforming because of technology and the changing needs of businesses.

Accounting experience will always be important, but the analysis is now more important than ever.

8. Become an Excel wizard

With the increased need for more financial analysis, advanced tools are a must. Excel one of one of the best programs available for data analysis.

There’s always more you can learn about Excel  – so invest in training courses, which easily available online.

If you are a finance director looking for a career change or the next step in your career, register with us now.