How to Become a Finance Director – 6 Pieces of Advice
Not everyone will take the same route to get into a finance director role, but if this is something you are aiming for it’s helpful to know what steps you can take to achieve it. With tips from our own finance director, Andrew Guerin, Webrecruit looks at how you can reach this senior level position.
1. Understand the Role
As a director in finance, you’re one of the main individuals who will be making financial decisions for the business. It is important for you to be aware of the budgets, spending, and what’s going on with company performance.
As well as monitoring this, you will need to ensure that the budgets are being stuck to across all departments. With this, the objective of profit improvement and development is a fundamental aspect of the finance director’s role. To understand further the type of value an FD can provide to a business, view the following article by Livingbridge here.
2. Research Which Qualifications You Need
Qualifications are an important part of your career if you are looking to work up to a senior level. Key organisations that provide professional qualifications for those working within finance and accounting include the following: ACCA, CIMA, ACA, AAT, and ACT. Each of these will provide a range of assessments to work towards your chosen career as a director, with some full time, part time or distance learning.
3. Get the Experience
Experience is of course another essential, and with enough years of experience your potential earnings can be a lot higher. According to Reed, the average salary for a Finance Director in the UK is between £60,000 to around £90,000, dependant on location.
4. Develop Your Soft Skills
As is the case with any job application, soft skills are just as important. As a finance director you will need management skills to take charge of the financial situation within the firm that you are working for, along with good decision making to increase autonomy. Problem solving and people skills are also significant, as you support your team to encourage similar ethics amongst your firm towards financial issues and considerations of the business.
5. Learn the Routes
One route can be to join an accountancy firm, to become qualified and build your way up to the more senior levels. The AAT state that one way to look at becoming a director is to draw up your CV as you would like to look in 30 years time. From this you can identify the gaps and what you need to accomplish, including your varying levels of responsibility and which experience you need to build.
Chris Filter, now global finance director of Soap & Glory, gives his advice on his route to becoming an FD in this article by Morgan McKinley.
6. Tips from Our Own Finance Director
Webrecruit’s Finance Director, Andrew Guerin gives the following tips to those looking to get in to and maintain senior finance position. He states that it is important not to lose sight of the fundamentals; cash and costs. On top of this you must keep learning, and never stop your appetite for knowledge and developing skills. Andrew also mentions the importance of building a strong team around you, whilst working closely with the CEO of the company.
To become an FD it’s important to be involved in your organisations operational activities, as well as managing the company accounts and financial performance. From this, we can understand that commercial awareness is extremely important. It takes hard work and many years of experience, but reaching this role can offer copious career and salary benefits.