What does it take to be a great Director of Finance? For one, a management style that facilitates the building of an integrated and responsive finance function. For another, an ability to combine an operational focus with strong financial acumen.
Here are a few traits that the best Finance Directors have in common.
Create and Lead Teams
Proven finance leaders can create and lead teams to produce their best work. They can make tough human capital decisions if called upon, and know that leadership comes from a willingness to model the behaviours they want to see in their team. After all, a Director of Finance that is willing to do the heavy lifting alongside their team, sends a message that each person is expected to contribute and do what’s necessary to achieve the end goal of supporting growth while containing costs.
Read “How to Support Leadership Development on Your Finance Team” for tips on how to build your company’s future leaders.
Great Finance Directors can easily work with their non-financial peers, providing a disciplined viewpoint on new initiatives and relevant analysis to guide decision-making. They can also play the role of “influencer” to create momentum. They are masters of balancing controls and risk management, with positioning the financial reporting team as a proactive and genuine business partner.
Watch this video to learn about how a psychological bias could be derailing your attempt to be a strong leader.
Planning and KPI’s
Strong Directors of Finance work with the sales and marketing teams to analyze where the company is making money and where there is untapped opportunity. They build out scorecards and KPI’s that are accurate predictors of success.
The best Directors of Finance combine a strong operational focus with exceptional financial acumen. They are strategic, big picture thinkers, who can also drill down into the details. This also allows them to identify existing processes that are inefficient and reengineer them.
Top notch technical skills are required in the following areas:
- Month-end, quarter-end and year-end reporting
- Financial modelling
Great Directors of Finance can create and lead teams to exceptional outcomes. They model the behaviors they expect to see in their team. They combine an impressive financial acumen with an operational focus. They believe in positioning the finance function as a business partner and can quickly offer strategic insights to help move different business units forward. Their communication style helps them gain buy-in from their finance and non-finance peers, and they’re able to identify inefficient processes and reengineer them. The right Finance Director can help a company transition to the next level.
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