Much has been written about the way in which FDs and accountancy teams have changed their roles. Largely due to the emergence of financial automation.
Cloud computing and the power of Big Data has given them the tools to manage many of the more mundane processes. And technological and analytical advancement has also provided FDs and their staff with more ways to influence the formation of business strategy.
New levels of forensic accounting and a raft of new predictive abilities have helped to take financial staff out of the corner office and into the boardroom.
But this new role as a “trusted advisor” carries with it a subtler responsibility. A less obvious role.
Financial Directors are now becoming the “conscious guardians” of companies, and a counterbalance to excess.
There but for the grace of God
When huge high-street names such as Toys R Us file for bankruptcy, it sends shudders around companies large and small throughout the UK.
How can a long-standing and highly respected business get to that point?
This is perhaps where the role of the “new” breed of FDs comes into its own.
Their place in management teams is far more noticeable and defined. However, this is not simply a case of bringing facts and figures to the table to influence commercial and strategic development.
There is also a new emphasis on the need for “financial gatekeepers”, offering up control and stability.
FDs and their teams need to be ready to apply sound judgement and use tact and sensitivity to bring discipline to decision making. Particularly when entrepreneurial zeal threatens to outstrip financial acuity.
Emotional intelligence in financial management
For this new role to be effective, the ideal FD recruit for any company with ambition (or a legacy of serious financial problems) can’t simply be a financial expert.
They also need to be leaders, with the strength and confidence to impose checks and controls.
Having the raw data on which to base important business growth strategies – or control everyday monetary matters – is not the same as having the acumen required to reign back poor decisions, and advocate for wise ones. That requires emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence means being able to tune into – and if necessary control – the emotions of yourself and others. It requires insights and effort to handle interpersonal relationships well. And the ability to apply empathy in a business setting.
When building credible finance teams, a “moral compass” needs to be on the list of attributes. Integrity and honesty need to be as much valued as financial acumen.
When recruiting a new FD, they don’t “just” have to be ready to step into boardrooms and management. They also need to ready to be communicators and innovators. And, if necessary, they need to have the confidence to apply financial governance “brakes” to avoid costly errors in judgment.
At BTG Recruitment we specialise in accountancy and finance recruitment. We work with bright and effective individuals like you, who are looking to secure high-calibre interim, fixed or long-term roles.
If you want to recruit accountancy personnel or an FD willing to stand up and be counted – in good times and bad – call us today.
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