Checklist: How to choose a part time finance director worth their title

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Checklist: How to choose a part time finance director worth their title

If you’re shopping around for a part time finance director, you’re looking for a very special combination of traits. This person will be serving on the most senior tier of management within the business, but they’ll be doing it only some of the time, so their role will be fundamentally different from that of the CEO or another senior executive who is a full time employee of the company. Your company needs someone with financial experience, insight and leadership abilities. But they’ll need to make their presence felt in a different way to a full time director.

You probably have a list in your mind of the traits possessed by the perfect part time finance director. You might not find someone who possesses each of the traits of your ultimate candidate, and if the list includes a preference for eye colour or that they support a certain sports team, that’s okay! But in your search for the right person, there are certain non-negotiables that you should bear in mind.

Here’s a checklist that will help you identify some of the really necessary traits.

Trait one: Financial foresight.

A part time finance director needs to be able to get a sense where the company is headed in the long run, and what decisions will take it there. Because this exec will only be on the job for some hours a week or month (depending on how much you need them), they need to be especially gifted with financial insight and an understanding of how the company runs as a whole. This professional will use their insight to make effective decisions that will steer the company on its intended course without spending as much time hands-on.

Trait two: Confidence.

A part time finance director needs the direction and assertiveness to bring others along with them. Because they have less time on the job to build relationships and persuade employees to go in a certain way, part time finance directors need a special charisma or leadership ability to inspire others to follow their lead. A wilting violet is unlikely to be convincing in this role.

Trait three: Be able to weigh up risk.

Alex Butt, a former director of risk at Capita says “Risk is an essential ingredient in enterprise and most, if not all, successful companies take risks. However, there is a fine line between taking calculated risks and being reckless. A key responsibility for business management is to help their company make decisions involving risk while at the same time ensuring prudent management.” A part time finance director needs to strike this balance. They need a good understanding of the various aspects of risk facing the business, which risks to embrace and which to avoid. A measure of their effectiveness as a director will be whether the right amount of risk was taken at the appropriate time.

Trait four: The gift of the gab.

A part time finance director doesn’t need to be outspoken or loud, but they do need to be an effective communicator. When asked what the most important traits of a CFO are, the chief executive of the National Business Officers Association in the US, Jeffrey Shields said it is “the ability to communicate financial matters to nonfinancial people throughout the association. Most board members do not have a financial background,” he said, so “the CFO must communicate to them in ways that educate and inform them. With staff, CFOs must not limit themselves to ‘just the numbers.’” For a part time finance director, this trait is even more of a necessity. It ensures that their decisions are well-explained and that actions are properly executed in their absence.

If you’re looking for a suitable part time finance director who possesses all of these traits, speak to The Finance Team. We can arrange interviews for you with experienced, highly professional finance executives who suit your company’s criteria and needs.

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