An efficient, reliable finance department is essential for any business that wants to achieve long-term, sustainable success.
It’s the responsibility of the finance manager to oversee all aspects of the company’s day-to-day financial operations and keep the organization in good fiscal health. To do that, you need a strong, capable team of professionals with a diverse range of skills and character traits.
Here are some of the particular personality types that can make an invaluable contribution to the success of your department:
1. The strategist
A carefully planned, well-articulated strategy is vital for business success, since it helps you to create a clear picture of what the organization does, the value it provides to customers and the goals it wants to achieve in the future.
In finance, having the right strategy is particularly important because the decisions made and actions taken by this department are central to the company’s results.
“A good strategy will help you make good investment decisions, like how and where you would like to spend money. It also helps to provide guidance on project prioritization and other activities within your organization.” - Nirmala Reddy, senior management executive and consultant at Stanford Seed.
With qualified, proven strategic thinkers on your team, you can have maximum confidence that everyone is working towards clear targets that fit in with the overall ambitions of the firm.
2. The analyst
Finance isn’t all about numbers, but there’s no doubt that raw data and statistical information have a key role to play in the day-to-day performance of your department. Therefore, you need to have people on your team who can look at this data and derive useful insights from it.
Competent analysts are essential to the performance of the company, partly because they can draw clear conclusions from financial statements and reports, which can then be used to create a picture of your current financial health, devise effective budgets and compare yourself to your competition.
Without proper analysis, the wealth of facts and data at your disposal have little to no genuine value to the organization.
3. The creative thinker
Creativity can make a huge contribution to the success of any business. It can help to distinguish you from the competition and deliver innovative solutions to problems at the times you need them most.
“Creativity is essential in business because it’s a differentiator. Companies who are creative are more successful.” - Tucker Marion, associate professor at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.
As far as the finance department is concerned, creativity might not seem like one of the most important traits to look for in team members, but it can prove vital when you’re faced with unique challenges that require fresh, innovative solutions.
4. The pragmatist
As important as creative thinking is in every area of business, including finance, it’s also vital to have people on your team whose key strength is their ability to think in a pragmatic, practical way.
People with a firm grip on the day-to-day realities and priorities of your business will help to keep the most imaginative thinkers on the team in check, ensuring their ideas and proposals can actually be implemented.
Pragmatists can prove particularly important at times when your company is having to deal with challenging market conditions, or when demands on your financial resources require a diligent approach to planning, budgeting and prioritization.
5. The communicator
Good communication skills are vital in every area of business, and it’s important that all employees have a basic level of competence when it comes to maintaining relationships and collaborating with others.
Having specialist communicators in the finance department can be particularly valuable, considering how critical it is for the firm as a whole that members of this team are sharing information and functioning in harmony with each other.
“Every team needs someone who is trained to hear between the lines and who knows the team perhaps better than the team knows itself. Without an understanding of all the people on the team and a desire to really listen to what is wanted and needed, the team will likely fail.” - Lori Darley, Conscious Leaders LLC.
6. The multi-tasker
There’s a lot to be gained from incorporating a select range of specialists into your finance team, but it’s also extremely useful to have people with a broad array of skills, who have extensive experience and an in-depth understanding of the department’s workings.
Seasoned professionals who are able to turn their hand to various tasks, and do a good job with everyone, are enormously valuable to managers. They really demonstrate their worth at times when you’re understaffed or your team has a heavier-than-average workload and needs extra support.
Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the manager to find the best possible mix of skills and experience in your department. If you’re able to strike the right balance in the finance team, the company’s prospects for long-term success will improve immeasurably.