What makes a good FD great?
Finance Directors play a crucial role in the performance and strategy of businesses in the UK today. But what makes a good FD… and what makes a great one?
Here are four characteristics that we believe distinguish between the ordinary and the extraordinary:
Staying ahead of the game
With the speed at which things are constantly changing in this fast moving world it’s important for an FD to find the time to keep up-to-date with everything in their industry and not just rely on information that has got them through in the past. In fact, a report by Hays, revealed that having a commercial understanding was the most important skill to be a good FD. Incredibly, only 6% regarded cash flow management as the most important skill, with financial analysis skills top for only 5%, highlighting that there’s more to the job than pure numbers.
It sounds cliché but it’s true. The job of an FD is serious business, there’s no denying it, but that doesn’t mean an FD has to have a boring attitude to match. Passion and high levels of energy are important factors of success. The job is often challenging, hard work and stressful and to be done effectively it needs someone fully committed to succeeding no matter what is thrown at them. Without passion and energy this becomes a highly difficult task.
Whilst it’s important to look back and evaluate failures and successes, a great FD will spend more time focusing on the future than dwelling on the past. After all it is more valuable to focus on where the business is headed as the process of forward planning provides insightful analysis allowing businesses to make better judgements. Also, predicting future cash flow is a good indicator of where the business has the ability to grow and can allow you to plan in the steps to take your business to the next level.
Likewise, staying ahead of the game with industry innovations can enable the business to remain competitive. This not only applies to the business’s core activity but also with regards to new developments in business funding that could enable the business to push forward.
The way an FD communicates to get a point across is critical. The ability to interact effectively, influence and persuade are massively important to making a real difference within a business. Simply being a good FD is not sufficient in terms of adding real value. People need to trust and respect your opinions. Therefore, the ability to manage down, across and most importantly up to MD’s and owners is critical. Also it’s not just about the ability to build a strong team within a business. A great FD will develop relationships outside the business to provide a strong network of supporting professionals.
What characteristics do you think a great FD possesses? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share your views in the comments below.