Why experience is key when hiring a Financial Director - The Finance Team

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Why experience is key when hiring a Financial Director

Finding and hiring a financial director should be a simple exercise for most Chief Executive Officers. Traditionally you would place an ad on LinkedIn, engage the services of a placement agency or approach trusted individuals and ask for recommended individuals.  Whilst all of these methods may sometimes work with differing degrees of success, finding the most experienced and most suitable financial director for your business can become a costly and time consuming exercise, fraught with frustration and taking up valuable time that you should be utilising elsewhere in the business. If you are looking to hire a financial director, chances are that you need one immediately and not in three months’ time. The longer you wait and the more desperate the situation becomes, the more inclined you will be to rush your decision and hence increase the risk of making the wrong choice.

Why experience is the most critical determining factor when hiring a financial director.

The experience of the financial director is key and probably the most vital attribute to look for when hiring a financial director. Academic qualifications are obviously important but experience is what you need and what you pay for. To become an experienced financial director you have to have had worked and operated across a multitude of industries which can range from anything from; mining, manufacturing, logistics, financial advisory, strategy and retail. Most Chartered Accountants have served at least 3 years of articles and have been exposed to numerous industries even before specialising in any one field or industry.

Why is experience so critical when hiring a financial director? The answer is that because they have experienced all types of challenges in the companies that they have worked in over the years, they can “hit the ground running” and add value to your business the minute you engage their services. This experience is why you want them working for you – they will present viable and sustainable solution for your business.

The challenges of finding an experienced financial director

1.       Cost

Financial directors that have many years’ experience across a range of industries can be expensive and come at a high cost to the company, and rightly so. The greater their experience the higher their value.

2.     Need

A lot of SME companies probably don’t need the services of a full time financial director. This is certainly true if the business has excellent Financial Managers and Financial Staff supported by sound systems and processes. There are companies that outsource experienced financial directors on a part time basis. You may only need a Financial Director 3 times a week. An experienced Financial Director can probably get done in 2 days that which a newly employed full time Financial Director can get done in a week.

Why use an experienced part time financial director?

Besides the obvious cost saving of using an experienced part time financial director, there are many other advantages that CEO’s tend not to take into consideration when considering using a part time financial director.

  1. No employee tax submissions – You contract with a company, not an Individual.
  2. No pension or provident fund contributions.
  3. No medical aid contributions – Part time financial director’s have their own structures in place.
  4. No labour issues – because using a part time financial director on a consultancy basis is not an employment relationship, the usual risks of full time employment are negated.
  5. It’s a 30 day commitment – A simple 30 day notice period is all that is required.
  6. Team approach – using an outsourcing company like The Finance Team, your engaged part time financial director has access to a pool of highly qualified, experienced financial director’s with whom they can collaborate.
  7. Director level involvement – whichever financial executive outsource company you may choose, if there is no director level involvement initially then reconsider your options. Director level involvement will ensure that your expectations are met from the beginning of the engagement.
  8. Finding the right fit for your business – personality plays a large part in the selection process when looking for a financial director. An outsource company can finding the right experienced financial director that “fits” within your organisation.

More and more companies are choosing to engage part time financial director’s, as the benefits that they present have a massive positive effect on the bottom line and performance of your business. It is a trend that has grown in leaps and bounds both in Europe and the States and is growing in popularity amongst South African businesses – as the old saying goes ’work smarter not harder’. 

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Image credit: philipunderwood.com

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