Often when working with SME's, one of the first hires we're asked to source is a Finance Director or Head of Finance. In the early stages of a business, most founders or owners tend to do one of two things; either manage the finances themselves or outsource their finances to an accountancy firm. Both options have their benefits in the short term, and for a time they fill a need. However, once a business goes through a period of growth, either the financial needs become excessive for the founders to tackle on their own, or the use of an outsourced accountancy option can feel a little too remote for comfort.
Hiring your first Finance Director will no doubt be a big decision. You'll agonise over the cost, and weigh up whether you can really afford or even warrant it. For many SMEs, finding the budget to hire a full-time FD can seem like a step too far. Fortunately, there is another way. There's a relatively untapped market out there of highly experienced hires that need flexible working or reduced hours. Imagine having a fully qualified and experienced FD on hand when you need them, without having to pay the cost of a full-time Finance Director. That's what you get when you hire a part-time or flexible hours Finance Director.
What are the qualities of a good FD?
When SME founders or owners come to us, they normally reel off a list of wants and needs: profit and loss reports, proper management accounts, cash flow projections, and market analysis to know whether they're costing and charging appropriately. Fortunately, a good FD can provide all this and more.
A good finance director will have a relentless focus on future cash flow and ultimately your company's valuation. They'll be able to bring rigour and structure to your plans for growth, giving you the confidence to strive forward with expansion. Equally, if your goal is to move towards the sale of your SME within the coming years, a good finance director will have the experience to steer you through this process, optimising the quality of your SME's cash flow and increasing its valuation.
The most valuable FDs will be more forward than backward looking, spending more than half of their time focussed on your company's future. Importantly, they won't do this on their own. They'll have a collaborative approach, working closely with your team to get to know the business inside and out. A good FD will be confident; with a willingness to challenge and influence your ideas, whilst having the tact to communicate in plain English and inspire the outcome that's best for your business. Above all, they'll have the experience and qualifications to prove they can manage the finance function and add value to your fast growing business.
Approximately 25% of our candidate pool has a finance background or qualification, and many have gained their experience in larger organisations. Many have cut their teeth in blue chip corporates or one of the Big 4 accounting firms. Some have then moved on to gain skills and experience elsewhere, which can be of huge benefit to a fast growing company, especially one that needs systems structure and process refinement.
Benefits of hiring a part-time FD for your SME
Having a skilled Finance Director on-hand two or three days a week can make a huge difference to your growing business – more so than someone with lesser skills who can work five days a week.
By making the wise choice to hire part-time, not only will you be able to get the skills you need within the confines of your budget, you'll also be able to access a relatively untapped market. SMEs often find it impossible to compete for top-tier talent as they don't have the employer brand or deep pockets that large employers have. By offering a part-time FD position at the point of hire, you'll be in the enviable position of being able to attract the attention of previously unattainable candidates.
We have access to many highly experienced professionals that have taken an extended voluntary career break due to maternity leave or caring for a loved one, and part-time working offers them employment that fits around their needs. We pride ourselves in finding high quality candidates, with big brand experience and stellar credentials. Matching highly experienced people with organisations that will value their skills and experience is one of the most rewarding aspects of our role.
Capability Jane Recruitment specialise in sourcing part-time professionals for SMEs. If you’re looking to expand your team, contact us to find out how we could support your business.
Author: Caroline Doherty, Senior Account Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org