For many small entrepreneurial businesses that want to focus on growth, hiring a Finance Director (FD) can seem out of reach. With the average cost of an FD at over £100k per year it doesn’t seem feasible or wise for small businesses to support a six figure salary like this.
This conundrum can leave businesses stuck in a holding pattern, maintaining their current performance but not experiencing any growth because they don’t have the experience and knowledge that an FD would bring to help them take the necessary strategic steps to ignite growth.
This is where hiring an FD on a part-time basis can help and why it is becoming a popular option for small entrepreneurial businesses.
Tailored support from your FD
A part-time FD can provide the same level of experience and expertise whilst only in the business one or two days a week. This model allows both parties to reach an arrangement that suits them.
With an FD’s skills typically ranging from identifying and advising on strategy to developing and implementing day to day procedures for the finance team (and everything in between), hiring one on a part-time basis allows businesses to tailor the support they receive and direct the FD skills into the areas they need most help with.
FDs are typically viewed as a scrooge-like figure counting the coppers as they come and go. A typical perception is that they are there to control the money, stop spending and make savings.
Often sidelined and viewed as a function to literally count the money, the FD (and finance team) don’t alway get the opportunity to live up to their potential as forward-thinking, future planning visionaries!
In reality, a good FD will be someone who can objectively make an assessment of a business and identify what areas should be focussed to boost growth.
It may seem counterintuitive but often you need to spend money, intelligently and in the right places, to maximise efficiency, play to strengths, and ultimately increase profitability.
Right Person. Right Seat.
Personally, I go one step further, I believe that people are what make or break a business. Investing in the right people at the right time can increase job satisfaction and loyalty.
You may wonder why an FD would take an interest in the people, in my view it’s simple; Get the right people in the right jobs and give them the tools they need to do that job and productivity is likely to rise sharply.
There are few better feelings in business than when you have a team of people all working in unity to reach a goal they all believe in.
As a small business owner, you might ask yourself why you would need a part-time FD. Afterall, you likely have a small finance team or outsource an accountant who handle the day to day stuff well.
It’s worth remembering that most financial figures produced by accountants are retrospective. They will give you the numbers for last week, last month, last quarter.
Looking to the future
They can give you a really good picture of what has happened but what they can’t give you, is an idea of what will happen next. What I, or any good FD, will do is make the numbers make sense for the future.
A part-time FD will help you make decisions based on those numbers and their analysis of the story behind them. That’s what I do in a nutshell, in every position I hold my role can be distilled down to the simple fact that I am telling stories with numbers!
I believe in looking forward, planning for potential problems and projecting meaningful performance targets that are relevant to the business now – not as it was six months ago.
A part-time FD can bring a huge range of knowledge and experience to the table, with the ability to have accountancy as a skill whilst being commercially focussed, their insight and advice can be invaluable to a small entrepreneurial business.
They can help your business develop the right key performance measures and identify the right strategy for you.