27 tips on hiring a top FD

21 Sell your role, don’t just post a job spec

When posting your FD job advert, be it online or in print, don’t just simply copy and paste the job specification. Your job advert needs to be just that: an advert. “To attract the best financial candidates, sell the role (including bonuses, flexitime, pension, training and career potential) but also sell the company,” comments El-Doori of GAAPweb. “If your business has experienced 300 per cent growth year on year, won a clutch of industry awards and has an impressive client list, mention it in the spec.”

22 Genuine experience

Make sure your FD can hit the ground running on day one. “Don’t let your business be the proving ground for an FD looking for a career change, unless the chemistry is outstanding. Drill hard during the interview on specific examples of supporting entrepreneurs, ideally in your sector,” says FD Unlimited’s Bloom.

23 The extra responsibilities

Give them HR, IT and admin – it comes with the turf. A good FD will typically pick up these back-office functions, allowing you to focus on sales, marketing and business development.

24 Sense of humour

Yes, FDs do have them. “You both need to feel good about the interaction,” says Bloom of fd unlimited. “Make sure you get that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling in the first five minutes of the interview.” Iain Imray, founder of financial advisory firm The Abacist and former FD of Grampian Country Food Group, says you should imagine yourself on a ten-hour car journey with your FD as driver. Would you survive and be talking at the end of the journey” If not, don’t make the appointment.

25 Don’t just consider accountants

Don’t just confine the role of FD to qualified accountants alone. Competition is healthy – boards should be able to appoint
an MBA to the role of CFO in place  of a chartered accountant if they’re better qualified to do the job.

26 Call in the headhunters

If you don’t have time to scour the land for a top FD, get someone else to do it for you. Real Business readers recommend Hays, Michael Page, Robert Walters and SThree. There’s also a clutch of specialist FD recruitment firms such as GAAPweb (www.gaapweb.com), FD Unlimited (www.fdunlimited.com), Equity FD and Finance Headhunters (www.financeheadhunters.co.uk).

27 Go to the FDs’ Excellence Awards

More than 450 financial directors attend our FDs’ Excellence Awards each year (held in association with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales). Last year’s winners included Stephen Morana, FD of Betfair, Autonomy’s Sushovan Hussain, David MacFarlane of Dana Petroleum, and Marc Bradley of Westbury Street Holdings. The next event is on May 10, 2011 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square. We defy you not to find your next superstar FD there. Tickets cost £205.62 (plus VAT). For more details, go to www.fdsawards.co.uk

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