Six tips on hiring a top FD

1. Work out if you need a commercial or technical FD

Most FDs will have a bias towards the technical and compliance side of a role or have more commercial and general skills. “It’s rare to find a potential candidate who is able to manage both the financial side of a business effectively and also develop and implement the financial strategy of a business,” says Bobby Lane, partner at accountancy firm Shelley Stock Hutter. Work out which type of FD will best suit your business and complement the board. 

2. Check their references

The best FD hires often come through personal recommendations. But always reference-check candidates. “Ask if you can see the management letter from the auditors from his or her last company,” recommends Jo Haigh, Real Business columnist and head of FDS corporate finance services.

3. Look out for acronyms

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is the oldest and best-known accounting body. Qualified members will have the globally-recognised initials ACA or FCA after their name, so look out for these acronyms when hiring. Around 70 per cent of FTSE 100 CEOs, FDs and company secretaries are ACAs. 

4. Make sure they have experience of negotiating with banks and asset-based lenders

Your head of finance needs to be a hotshot when it comes to funding your company’s working capital requirements. Check their little black book of banking and funder contacts. “A finance director must have a clear understanding of the various products available and where to go within the market,” comments Bobby Lane of Shelley Stock Hutter. “They must possess the knowledge, skills and experience to identify the problem, propose solutions and have the confidence and contacts to implement them.”

5. Know the pay scale

Make sure you know how much your competitors are paying for an FD role – and then better it. The average FD’s salary is around £65,000 but it varies wildly according to region, industry and company size. FTSE-250 finance directors aged between 40 and 44 earn an average of £559,470, according to the Financial Director Salary Survey.

6. Attend the FDs’ Excellence Awards

If you want to rub shoulders with the country’s top finance directors (and potentially poach one), head to our annual FD’s Excellence Awards, which attracts more than 450 FDs each year. This year’s shortlist features the likes of Stacey Cartwright of Burberry Group, Andrew Griffith of BSkyB and Sports Direct International’s Bob Mellors.

Book a ticket to this year’s FDs’ Excellence Awards, held on May 24 at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, here.

Want to share your tips on hiring a FD? Post them below or tweet them using the hashtag #FDVoice

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