Finance director jobs are one of those roles that can vary enormously depending on the individual setting and scope. As such, diving into what makes up the core elements of the finance director role is crucial. This guide is intended to help those looking for their next finance director to create a successful recruitment strategy. It will also provide support to candidates looking to move into this role.

Read on to find out more about the different elements of the finance director role, the skills and qualifications that are required, and how to match winning employers with winning candidates.

Duties and responsibilities of a finance director

Finance directors occupy a critical role within the business. They need to be adept at strategizing, forecasting and planning, as well as leading others within the vision of the business. They need, of course, unrelenting business and financial acumen. But they must also be energised motivators, capable of inspiring and driving their team.

Day to day, those in finance director jobs are responsible for overseeing all of the financial activities of the business. This will include, but is not limited to, reporting on revenue, undertaking training of other accounting and financial staff, budgeting, disbursement of funds within the business, risk management and improving financial processes to further business objectives.

Furthermore, the finance director needs to implement and manage internal controls, set targets, potentially undertake fundraising, manage and engage with investors, carry out feasibility studies, monitor cash flow, organise and manage insurances, and oversee tax compliance.

Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Undertaking financial planning and strategy.
  • Conducting analysis of complex financial data.
  • Reporting on financial matters to the board, stakeholders and external agencies as needed.
  • Monitoring cash flow and raising investment as needed.
  • Departmental budgetary management.
  • Financial risk management.
  • Managing auditing and taxation responsibilities.
  • Developing and implementing accounting policies.
  • Training finance and accounting staff.
  • Managing business performance and internal controls.
  • Competitor analysis
  • Strategic planning in line with the wider board.

Finance director qualifications and skills

The qualifications of a finance director are, rightly, considered hugely important. Typically, finance directors hold a reputable degree in finance or accounting. Other subject areas which are relevant are economics, maths or business. From here, the candidate will be a fully-qualified accountant, holding qualifications from one of these bodies:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)

As part of membership of these professional bodies, the individual will need to keep their skills up to date by attending regular training and undertaking CPD.

Experience should include:

  • 10+ years’ experience in the financial sector.
  • 5+ years’ experience in a management role.
  • Relevant industry experience.
  • Demonstrated business and financial acumen.

Skills required:

  • Exceptional commercial, business and economic awareness.
  • Strong mathematical ability.
  • Proficiency with all relevant accounting software.
  • Outstanding people and staff management skills.
  • Reliable analytical skills.
  • Clear reporting proficiency.
  • Problem-solving ability.
  • Project management and prioritisation skills.
  • Clear aptitude for communication and negotiation.

Job description must-haves

The finance director job description should also include the fundamental aspects of the role. Standard finance director jobs stipulate 9-5 office-based working. In reality, much longer hours are likely needed, especially at key times such as end of tax year. In addition, finance directors are one of the figureheads of the organisation and will be expected to attend networking events.

The position is likely to be based in a main office or headquarters. Travel to other branches may be required.

Hybrid models of working should be established.

Finance director salaries

Finance director jobs are high paying. Average salaries top £100,000. For large businesses, expect to pay salaries considerably higher than this. In addition, large performance related bonuses are expected.

It is helpful to use the support of a headhunter to help you determine the correct market value for a finance director in a business of your size in your industry.

Benefits packages available are usually high calibre and contain multiple attractive elements, including share options and high pension contributions.

How to find your finance director candidate or role

All board level positions require sourcing the highest quality candidates, with unrelenting accuracy. Finding the best candidate can be difficult, and its success depends on identifying a good match between employer and candidate. The finance director is often seen as being within the top two of the organisation, and the recruitment must be taken appropriately seriously.

For this reason, traditional recruitment is to be avoided when hiring candidates for finance director jobs. The most remarkable candidates will be in position for other businesses, proving their worth. Headhunters, including those who accept direct application from potential candidates, are best positioned to source these candidates and strategically bring them on board with your business.

Find out more about how a headhunter can help you find your next finance director.

Potential career paths

Finance directors may move on to become the finance director in a larger business, but for many, this is the pinnacle of their career. People come to the role from a variety of financial management positions, including working as a business analyst.

Finance director recruitment FAQs

How do we get the best finance director?

Choose a headhunter to actively uncover the best candidates for your role. They will craft a relevant and unique job description and entice relevant candidates into position. They will undertake all necessary market research and ensure the process is as smooth and fast as possible.

What qualities make a good finance director?

The ideal finance director blends mathematical, business, financial and reporting acumen with a person-centred approach to management. They are business focused and typically meticulous when it comes to detail. They are career-orientated and driven, able to align their own vision with that of the business.

What should we look for when choosing a finance director?

Look for a fully qualified professional with at least 10 years’ financial experience, with at least 5 years of that at management level. Then narrow down your selection by looking for candidates with evidence of success, as well as the ability to assimilate industry information.

How long does it take to fill the finance director role?

Finance directors are amongst the most senior roles and can have a long lead-time to fill. Candidates are typically currently employed and will have a 12 week notice period. Using a headhunter will ensure the process is as efficient as possible.

Why do I need a finance director job description?

The job description helps to ensure you secure the best candidate by clearly defining what is needed for the role, and what constitutes the ideal candidate.