ASK THE FD SERIES: Career Progression Advice for a Finance Manager

As specialist financial recruiters, we often get asked what advice we have for financial professionals who want to progress their career.

Me there’s three key things number one very very important is the ability to network obviously it’s been very tough in the last 15 16 months to um do that for obvious reasons now the world is seemingly moving out of all of these lockdown restrictions and opening up it’s a perfect opportunity for you to network so it’s not just about doing it online via linkedin

It’s about actually going and meeting people introducing yourself because you never know how it’s going to help you you could strike the right core right note with somebody that you meet and in future that can help you land the job that you need and help you progress your career finance manager role is actually one of the most difficult in the finance team it’s

Where you’re stepping up from not just doing your own day-to-day work but you’re now starting to look after a team around you and and that demand on your time is a huge drain so i think you you really need to be able to balance the two and look for as much support from those around you your fd your financial controller etc to support you through that period of

Transition and to get the maximum you can from your team members as a finance manager you need to really focus on adding value to your business make sure they know that you’re not just a finance person always volunteer for the project work even if it’s not always that exciting because it will still give you a lot more insight into the wider business and then help

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You come up with future ideas of how you can add value but it’s all about adding value focus on that massively you’ve got to keep abreast of the latest economic developments and business developments you’re working in a financial role it’s very important that you understand the context you’re working in not just because it helps you do your role but because it

You’ve got to understand how it impacts on a potential uh employer future employer that you want to work for so very very important you keep up to date with all of those things read the financial press and watch the news a very very important thing to do the main advice i would give is looking outside the role so he’s looking at company strategy because where

The company is going is um a key factor in what information you provide so you need to look at kpis you need to look at um the sort of information that you’re providing to the managers who are deciding and helping the company to go where it’s going so you need to look beyond the borders of the finance department but then take that information that you learn and

Bring it back to the finance department and help it grow and help it provide better information two things i put here i said i think first thing is be clear on what role you want because you know sort of do you do you want to be a reporting type person do you want to be a forecasting type person you interested in treasury by the time you get to that level you

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Should have a level of experience that that sort of means you have a broader view of what’s going on and you need to be pretty clear on on where where you want to um where you want to go because otherwise you’ll get put in a role you don’t really want and all of a sudden you spend another three four years in that and it’s sort of you you’ve can miss the boat and

The other bit of advice i’d give them is you haven’t got an accounting qualification you’ve got to get one being a finance manager so you’ll manage a small team whereas a financial controller will manage a larger team so i would expect that a finance manager instead of just like wearing blinkers you know we need to start looking a bit above in the business trying

To ensure that they are starting to query and challenge the business as well so because i would expect that you know from a finance manager to becoming financial controller to becoming a finance director the various steps involved you know you have a management of the function you have a management of a team and the management of a business so what i will say

Is being a finance manager you are managing principally a function of finance but you need to start managing the team and ultimately managing other sites of a business in terms of reporting as well i say you know record what you’ve done let your manager and other people know and so remind them of the good things that you’ve done the improvements that you’ve

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Made try to sell yourself so when it comes to that sort of next stage in your career and the opportunity comes up you’ll be first in their mind you should also be thinking how can i add value um with the role that i’m doing and how can that add value to the company that i’m working for um again a very good example um that i’ve used what i’ve spoken about many

Different roles is if you think about a particular task that you’re being asked to do don’t just think about the getting the task done itself think about what extra you can do on top of that that’s going to help the person that you’re doing that particular task for what added value can you do a good example that i’ve used in previous roles is the preparation of

A cash flow forecast for example whether you’re doing the whole thing or whether you’re actually doing a bit of it think about what value you can add what can i do to help the person that i’m doing this piece of work for so they actually they actually get the most out of it so that’s a very important thing as well you

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ASK THE FD SERIES: Career Progression Advice for a Finance Manager By Accountancy Recruit