Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » FD Q&A: Nick Pulford, WSP Talent

01. Rise early or work late?

Early riser – having a global role means that I catch the teams in Australia and Asia. However, with businesses in the US, it often means a late finish as well.

02. Training preferences: on the job or formal?

Definitely on the job – the context and application mean so much more. Formal training has its place, but it’s too easily forgotten and the training material often ends up in a drawer somewhere.

03. What is your management style?

Supportive. One part of my job that gives me huge satisfaction is seeing my team grow and develop. I give them as much opportunity as I can, while providing support and guidance to achieve the objective.

04. Does delegation come easy?

Probably too easily if you talk to my team.

05. Who do you rely on most?

My wife. I couldn’t do this job without her support.

06. Boardroom or restaurant?

Boardroom. Both have their place in facilitating discussions and decisions that need to be made, but I feel that the focus of the board table is more effective.

07. What technology would you never be without?

Difficult choice – probably my laptop. It’s travelled a few hundred thousand miles and allows me to produce those all-important spreadsheets, dear to every finance director’s heart. I can also use the internet, listen to my music, and make calls.

08. Are you an FD for life?

The role of the finance director will continue to evolve and have ever more influence on the strategic, tactical and operational dynamics of the business. Therefore, I can see that there will be plenty to keep me challenged.

09. What keeps you awake at night?

Desire for continuous improvement – was there more that I could have done today? If I had approached things differently, could I have achieved a better outcome?

10. Your critical advice to a would-be FD

Learn to work with the business and – this is equally important – learn everything about it. Your ability to deliver maximum value relies on engagement with people at all levels of the organisation. Being a finance director is not just bean-counting, despite what the outside world perceives.

A true finance director is a guide, supporter, mentor and leader embracing all parts of the organisation, as well as being the custodian of the finances.