Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course: Hiring a Finance Director

Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course: Hiring a Finance Director

Article excerpt

Money talks and your business needs a finance director who can manage the numbers as well as helping you make the right decisions. So how are you going to find a CFO who's more than just a high-powered bean counter?

First time? If your start-up has been managing without a finance director, a time will come when you need one. 'There's usually a light-bulb moment when the CEO or chairman realise they don't have enough grip on the finances,' says Phil Scott, director of FD Recruit. A specific event such as an injection of capital can also trigger the need for an FD or CFO.

Dip your toe. A smaller business might not need someone full time initially and in that case it makes sense to bring in a part-time individual as an interim solution. 'You might have a financial controller or management accountant who does the numbers and a part-time finance director who comes in and contributes the strategic element,' says Scott. 'At pounds 20m, you probably need someone full time and permanent.'

The brief? 'Getting the job description right is critical,' says Karen Young, director at Hays Accountancy and Finance. 'In a smaller organisation it can include a gamut of responsibilities, including secretary, insurance, HR and contact centre operation. But it's just as important you are clear in what you are looking for them to achieve over six months, a year, five years, and what you expect their strategic input to be.'

Know what you really want.

An accountancy qualification is essential, an MBA a bonus, but the track record is critical in determining if the candidate can meet the needs of your forward strategy - particularly if you plan something like an IPO Your interviews must be competency based to establish if they have what you are looking for, says Young.

Look for the X factor. Research by Hays found that 'commercial awareness' is the most important attribute for an FD. …

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