With competition being high among candidates in all sectors, developing the right skills at every stage of your career is crucial. But what can you do to make yourself a prime candidate if you're a Financial Director (FD)?
People in this role can no longer rely solely on their qualifications to make them a lucrative target for potential employers. FDs need to develop specific skills if they want to stand out among their competitors.
Here are five skills every FD needs to master:
1. Compliance and regulations
With finance and strategy being at the core of every FD's role, it's a sound assumption that you need to have a masterful understanding of compliance with regulations that could affect these fields in the near or long-term future. Financial Directors are now more than ever having to apply these skills to help the company make the most of opportunities and identify any potential threats.
2. Business strategy
FDs need to be competent advisors to the rest of the company, especially the CEO or CRO. This makes it essential that they have a comprehensive understanding of the business's wider strategy and how its finances will impact their opportunities in the future. Not only does this mean familiarizing yourself with the business model, but also looking into how the different elements of the company complement or cause friction with each other.
3. Communication skills
As companies become more collaborative, Financial Directors will need to master soft skills as much as the legal and compliance-related requirements of their role. Being able to converse with diplomacy and tact, while effectively communicating your own priorities and concerns, is therefore a valuable trait in FDs.
4. Talent acquisition and retention
Employee retention and acquiring the right talent has understandably become a top business priority in recent years, and FDs are no exception to this. Being able to keep your most talented employees and identify the candidates that will best complement or even expand your organization is essential for remaining competitive. For Financial Directors, there's another priority too, as recruitment and retention are directly linked to how and where the business is able to make investments in the future.
5. Data integration
More than ever, companies all over the world are realizing the importance of data. Whether this is internal or from your customers, FDs need to understand what this data means and how it will impact business decisions in the future. With the GDPR just around the corner, it's also crucial that the organization understands the data they collect, store and delete from employees and clients. For Financial Directors, this will mean liaising with other specialists to allow for the most accurate fiscal reports or projections.
It's important that FDs are able to master these skills to enable them to confidently act in many aspects of the business. For any Financial Director to be effective, they need to have the support - and trust - of the rest of the company, making self-assurance an essential for anyone in this role.