Surviving as a new finance director

December 4th 2019 | Posted by phil scott

Surviving as a new finance director

Surviving as a new finance director

Working as a finance director (FD) is rewarding both professionally and financially. However, in order to optimise the rewards, you need to make sure that you survive as a new FD, and make a good impression.

In order to do this, you need to have a good understanding of what is expected of you. In the past, an FD was often regarded as a senior accountant. The numbers were the main concern. However, modern FDs have an expanded role. As such, FDs are now relied upon to have a wider and more in-depth understanding of the business. They utilise this in helping to develop overall business strategies and plans. It’s an important role that requires a new FD to have certain qualities.

The qualities you need to display as an FD

There are several qualities that you need to put to use when surviving as a new FD.

You need to have an impact on the business. This means that you need to develop a respect from others and be able to discuss business matters at an expert level. This helps to ensure that your voice is heard.

Influencing others is also an essential attribute that you should have. You need to be able to influence in a positive way even when the conversation is a difficult one.

In addition to influencing people, you should also aim to inspire them. This involves acting in a professional manner at all times. It also involves optimising opportunities and business relationships.

Innovation can also help you to inspire people. You should not just accept things as they are. You need to do all that you can to implement processes that revitalise the business.

Immediate tasks to address as a new FD…

Understanding the attributes that you need as an FD is just the start. You have to be able to use these attributes to undertake your most important tasks as a new FD. Doing so helps you to survive and make a real impact. There are several tasks that you should pay attention to.

Check the financials

Obviously, when you first become the FD of a company, you need to ascertain its financial standing. This helps you to understand the job that lies ahead of you and plan your priorities.

Understand the data and models

It’s important to immerse yourselves in the data and models that are currently available to the business. You need to appreciate whether the amount and content of data is sufficient in order to successfully plan ongoing financial strategies. You also need to make sure that the most current and accurate models are being used.

Get to know the people

It’s not possible to survive and function as an FD if you do not have an understanding of the people you are working with. You need to get an accurate view of what influences them and what your interaction with them will involve.

Process the value of improvement

It can be tempting to try and make a big impact as a new FD. However, any changes need to be subject to a business case analysis before they are implemented. This helps to determine whether the benefits of change outweigh the investment and saves you from making any costly mistakes. 

Build an efficient team

No FD can be successful without having a high performing team around them. When you first become a new FD in a company, you need to assess the skills of your team. You also need to implement any additional training that is necessary. It’s important to address any knowledge or experience gaps in a positive manner in order to engage with your team and optimize its effectiveness.

Addressing these tasks helps you to survive as a new FD and make a positive impact on the business.

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