How to become a successful finance director
How to become a successful finance director
How to Become a Successful Finance Director
A career as a Finance Director can bring with it an impressive salary, networking potentials, and opportunities to engage with stakeholders within the industry and further afield. Whether you’re on the first step of the career ladder with your eyes on becoming a finance director or if you are looking to scale up your career, there’s a clear path you can take to reach your goal. We’re giving you five tips to help you become a successful finance director and develop your career within the industry.
Qualify as an Accountant
The first step of your career is to qualify as an accountant. There are several routes you can explore to get your qualifications. It’s not all about academic work, as being an accountant or finance director requires a unique blend of skills. You want to develop your teamwork and leadership skills by interacting with colleagues at every level of the financial industry.
While you’re studying for your qualification, you want to try and get a diverse variety of work experience within the sector to give you a taste of what to expect. If you managed to get onto an internship programme, these can often develop into a part-time or full-time position within the organisation.
Working as an accountant will give you the best foundation for progressing through your career to become a finance director. You’ll learn to develop the analysing, budget management and critical thinking that you need for a successful career. You can enrol in a full-time course of study on a specialist programme or choose an alternative education path, such as an apprenticeship or part-time course.
Develop Effective People Skills
Working in finance is all about engagement and negotiating, whether it’s with your clients or colleagues. You’ll be spending your days meeting with people online and offline. Your communication skills are essential to developing a network of people who can help you progress through the ranks of your career. Communication is about more than just speaking to someone face-to-face. You want to make sure you’re touching base with your colleagues and clients as much as possible, either over email or in person.
As a finance director, you’ll need to know how to manage expectations and problem-solve. Two days will never be the same when you work in the financial sector, so you want to be prepared for anything that might happen. You need to be able to listen and understand the concerns of your clients and show empathy towards them, particularly in difficult situations. Similarly, you want to be able to translate your thoughts and expertise. You might not always be delivering the best news to a client, and you have to be prepared to deal with these situations in the most appropriate manner.
Working in the financial sector means you’ll need to brush up on your social skills. You never know when you might meet someone at a networking event or party that you could bring into your business as a colleague or client. Depending on the company you work for, you might be asked to represent the organisation at official functions, events, and speaking engagements. You want to become comfortable with meeting new people and introducing yourself to them. If you plan on becoming a financial director, you need to be able to pitch and sell yourself in these situations.
Master Your Excel Documents
When you have a career in the financial industry, you’re going to spend most of your life working on excel documents. This software is the basics of what you will be using every day in your job, from the first day working in a financial organisation until you finish your career in the industry. You want to be comfortable with using every aspect of Excel to create and maintain spreadsheets and presentations. You might also want to look at a CDFO to help with your digital transformation.
If you’re not familiar with the Excel software, then it’s worthwhile to invest in a few training courses to become more informed about the tips and tricks of using the programme. It’s also worth being prepared to experiment with other programmes and software that become more popular within the industry. At the speed at which technology innovates, you want to make sure you’re always aware and able to use the latest software.
Find A Mentor
The best way to put yourself on the path towards becoming a successful finance director is to find mentors within the industry. It’s never too early to start thinking about your career progression, and there is always somewhere out there who can become your mentor. There are always dozens of networking events you can join either offline or online to find a mentor. There are always people in senior leadership positions that want to help the next generation.
Don’t be afraid to look within your organisation to find a mentor or support network. Some financial organisations will run specific mentorship programmes where they’ll pair you with a partner or senior executive to help develop your career goals.
The financial industry is one of the fastest evolving sectors within the professional world. While you continue to work in the present, you want to have one eye on the future to see what’s coming on the horizon. Staying informed of the latest developments within your industry is essential for anyone wanting a leadership position.
A finance director is a strategic role, and you have to be prepared to evolve with the industry and develop your skillset. It’s a good idea to take time out of your day-to-day job to focus on your professional development. You want to attend conferences and networking events throughout the year, especially if it’s in a niche within the industry that you specialise in. You can stay informed and build your profile within the industry at the same time. The ICAEW organises professional development courses, which are worthwhile to attend.
Don’t be afraid to choose an area of the industry to become a specialist or expert in. Deciding on a niche to specialise in can help you carve out space for yourself within the industry and navigate your way towards becoming a finance director.
If you feel your career is ready for your first step up to the number one role, then reach out to the team at FD Capital, we recruit full time Finance Director roles on a regular basis and may be able to place you.
Finance Director Recruitment
If you are a business looking for a Finance Director make sure to reach out to FD Capital Recruitment today. If you are a candidate looking for Finance Director jobs, ensure to check our job board regularly and check in with our team.