Five top qualities of a Financial Director
The role of a Financial Director can be hard to define from one organisation to the next. What skills and traits are most transferable and important, regardless of where you are sited in the business hierarchy?
Responsibilities and expectations can vary, depending heavily on the wider executive and corporate structure of a business. Does the company also have a CFO? If so, how much overlap do your roles have? If not, how much will the CEO be depending on you for financial insight? These five skills and qualities can help you navigate towards success.
1. Data presentation
Reporting on and clearly communicating financial information is the keystone of an FD's effectiveness. The ability to break down complex data to inform wider action-planning is essential to having a positive influence on an organisation's strategy.
Technical acumen is a required part of any financial role. Elevating this skill to a director level is achieved by learning to communicate that knowledge to those without similar experience. Consider the 'Communicating financial information with impact' workshop offered by ICAS and BPP.
Occasionally, the FD may need to be the one pointing out flaws in the plan or financial issues that will have an impact on the company. They need to be confident as a voice of authority on these matters and be willing to bear bad news when called for.
Strong working relationships, communication skills and an irrefutable attention to detail put you in good standing in these situations.
3. Business strategy
A well-informed perspective on the impact of internal processes, customer needs and industry influences will ensure financial insight is drawn from a good knowledge base. Being able to think long-term and apply commercial thinking to financial planning distinguishes a good FD. Gain a deeper understanding with the BPP 'Business Analytics' course, available at a discounted rate for ICAS CAs.
Cultivating a good working relationship with the CEO, other directors, and colleagues throughout the business will allow you to gain a full understanding of how the business works at all levels.
Skilled structuring and management of a well-functioning financial team should be a priority element of an FD's repertoire.
Employee retention is a key business concern in all industries and staff with essential technical ability should feel valued in the workplace. It is the responsibility of the FD to not only make the best hiring decisions for the organisation but also to ensure the finance team works as a cohesive unit.
Honing your Leadership and Management Skills will help drive performance and motivate your teams.
Keeping up with industry trends and anticipating how evolving technology will impact not just the FD role, but the wider business as well. Advances in artificial intelligence and automation in data collection and reporting are set to have a significant impact on the responsibilities of financial professionals.
An up-to-date working knowledge of new laws, regulations and compliance standards is essential to protect the organisation from potential ramifications.
ICAS offers a range of opportunities to support the professional development of all finance directors and finance professionals - whatever your area of business.
Finance Directors' update course
Our concise Finance Directors' update half-day course, is a great opportunity to build your technical skills in the areas of Financial Reporting and Tax. Featuring practical sessions presented by industry experts, it looks at key developments – as well as the judgements, calculations and discussions that these changes entail.
ICAS Executive Coaching Programme
Today’s finance directors are striving to contribute more to organisational performance, and FDs have emerged as much more rounded, commercial and strategic business leaders than the traditional role of ‘scorekeeper’ of yesteryear.
Leading Figures, experts in coaching and consulting for finance and business professionals, have produced the ICAS Executive Coaching Programme to accelerate the career growth of CAs and to help you develop your leadership skills.