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FDs’ focus is too narrow to succeed in top job

Microsoft Dynamics‘ research
into the views of MDs and corporate headhunters found that just 38% thought
their FD would succeed in the role of MD or CEO.

“His focus is too narrow, with no real knowledge of the market sector or what
we do… he just knows if we are making a profit or loss,” said one respondent to
the research.

Despite this, almost two-thirds (63%) of headhunters said their FD clients
are looking for MD or CEO roles.

By far the most important element of the FD’s role, according to MDs, is
measuring and monitoring business performance, with the ability to drive growth
coming second. While MDs listed compliance as being the third most important
element, this was well down the list and, in a separate question, came out as
the top gripe that MDs had with their previous FD.

In fact, 54% of the MDs surveyed thought their previous FD spent too much
time dealing with compliance issues, with 46% believing they were too focused on
data, rather than strategic business issues.

Strong financial management skills (80%) and strategic experience (46%) were
the top two priorities for MDs when looking for a suitable FD candidate. One
respondent said the fact that the candidate was “a bit of a mover and a shaker,
rather than a backroom person” lay behind the reason to recruit.

One respondent said that any prospective FD must have “an understanding of
our industry and an ability to keep up to date with the bombardment of
legislative, financial and European industry standards and laws” that the
company must abide by.

More than three-quarters of the MDs questioned said their next FD is likely
to come from another company, rather than having risen up the ranks internally –
something of a blow to any aspiring financial controller.

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