How to become a finance director in the UK

As a finance director in the UK, you will have a lot of responsibility when it comes to the accounts of your clients. Not only will you have to help them maintain their budget, but you will need to be ready to talk with stakeholders and help them understand the numbers and what it all means for them.

Most people think that being a finance director is a position that deals with numbers and financial decisions; however, it is so much more than that.

The position of a UK finance director brings a lot of responsibility. That’s why you will need to slowly work your way up the career ladder in order to become one – and the following steps will help you achieve it.

  1. Obtain an accountancy degree

Unfortunately, you cannot just jump into the position of a financial director. Instead, you need to gain experience before you obtain this type of job. You can start by focusing on learning accountancy.

As a finance director, you will have to work with numbers, accounts, and budgets on a daily basis. Becoming a qualified accountant can help you understand how these figures work, and how you can budget effectively. You can build up your skillset, cementing the basics. That way, later in life, you can move onto more complicated matters.

By becoming a qualified accountant, you can also expand your understanding of the role outside of numbers. It can also help you refine your organisational and time-management skills, as well as what compliance regulations you need to follow. The more you learn about financial support as a student, the easier it will be when you start to progress up the career ladder.

  • Understand other departments

Being a finance director is a lot more than just dealing with numbers on a daily basis. Finance directors need to thoroughly understand the business that they are in. Some may end up in the public sector, while others might serve in private businesses.

No matter where you end up, it is crucial that you understand the other duties of the members of your team. The best finance directors can be empathetic and learn more about the types of employees who are going to be working alongside them.

As a business owner, you may consider outsourcing your financial director role, because this will give you more options in finding potential employees. However, the best financial directors will have experience of the industry they are in, as well as an understanding of the other jobs of their current employees.

With this understanding in mind, a financial director will be able to understand why they need to budget certain things, and what other tools need to have money spent on them to ensure they can benefit the business in the future.

  • Develop your people skills

When you become a finance director, you need to have social skills to be able to communicate with stakeholders, other team members and investors.

You will find that around 50-80% of your role will be talking to other people and establishing relationships with other businesses and investors. So, you do need to be able to speak to people and help them understand why you have set up your budget in a certain manner. That way, you can also find out what is crucial in terms of spending money, and what you can be a bit tighter about.

  • ERP software

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a useful piece of technology for accountants and finance directors to use in their day-to-day duties. This type of software can connect all accounts together, including orders, invoices and spreadsheets. The finance team can then input all the data efficiently into their business’s system.

As a finance director, you should understand this software. That way, you can make it simpler for you and your accountancy team to monitor invoices and see how your budget is performing. Ultimately, this will make it easier for you and your team to process any future orders.

  • Excel software

If you intend to be a finance director in the UK, you need to understand how to use Excel spreadsheets. This is not just about inputting data into a spreadsheet. That’s because you need to know how to use it as an advanced tool so that it can be utilised for data analysis.

Are you ready to become a finance director?

If you are a finance director, you have a job that is extremely important and could impact the financial future of your company. Learn as much as you can about finance before you begin this career, as it will make a real difference to your on-the-job effectiveness and longer-term professional success.

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