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What to look for in a Part Time Financial Manager?

Being a part time financial manager doesn’t mean being able to read financials and crunch numbers, it means being able to manage numbers. A good part time financial manager should be able to support and guide management as how best to implement or amend a company’s financial strategy, embark on expansion programmes and provide accurate financial data on all aspects of the business. They also need to become a trusted and confidential source of financial information. A part time financial manager needs to be persistent and assertive and combine this with tact and diplomacy. In our experience, we find that the title of “Financial Manager” is given very liberally and often elevates the functional position of senior bookkeeper or accountant to that of a manager.

While the role of a financial manager is more of a hands on role than that of a financial director / CFO, the operative word is manager. Unfortunately, many capable financial managers are not supported by competent staff below them which results in them having to perform tasks and duties NOT typically associated with the role. A financial manager should not be a data capture clerk and should not be entering debits and credits into an ERP system. For a part time financial manager these issues are amplified as there is limited time available to be effective at this level. A part time financial manager thus needs to have adequate experience to ensure that the people, systems and controls in his environment are operating adequately and efficiently so as to best execute his/her role. A key attribute is that of people management and delegation of responsibilities and the resultant measurement and management of these responsibilities. This is not a god given talent and comes with years of experience.

A Part Time Financial Manager must also be able to (Not Exhaustive)

• Assist in making clear and decisive financial decisions.
• Assume a hands-on approach to risk management.
• Understand operational performance and what contributes to better results.
• Provide a good understanding of the compliance requirements of a business.
• Understand organisational structure and human resource issues.
• Provide an awareness of the benefits of appropriate tax planning.
• Provide financial insight regarding a company’s implementation and execution of strategy.
• Assist companies with capital growth.
• Apply financial tools and methodology to benefit a company.
• Design and build appropriate financial models and “what If” scenarios.
• Design, Implement and monitor an appropriate budgeting process.

The risk of not utilising the services of an appropriately qualified and experienced financial manager can be catastrophic. Entrepreneurs and business owners start to slide into this role and start spending more of their time on finance and administration issues and ignore the one element in the business that they are really good at, marketing and sales. The opportunity cost of that will far outweigh the cost of a good financial manager. Similarly, smaller companies that start to expand rapidly often find themselves wanting when their controls, systems and processes start to fail and their financial forecasts / models produce misleading / inaccurate information. This can be the end of a very promising beginning.

Many small to medium sized enterprises believe that they are not in a position to engage the services of an experienced financial manager. This may be due to the costs associated with engaging a full time financial manager or that the volume of work simply does not justify the employment of a full time resource. This belief is completely unfounded as part time financial manager resources are available to the SME market and are provided by niche, financial resource consultancies such as The Finance Team. These part time financial managers are employed because they possess the required qualifications and come with many years of experience.

Larger corporates also utilise the resources offered by a part time financial manager. Situations and projects often materialise that require experienced financial expertise that are not readily available within the organisation. This can happen when employed resources are utilised to capacity and it does not justify the full time employment of a resource for a short term or interim solution.

How can a part time financial manager make your business more profitable?

By properly utilising the skill set of a qualified and experienced part time financial manager a business owner is able to embark on business growth whilst balancing external risk. A good financial manager can offer support and guidance to company management on issues that affect the company’s profitability.

In short, a good part time financial manager will be able to put the financial science behind your gut feel where your gut feel is no longer the prudent alternative, owing to the magnitude and risk associated with your next big business decision.

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