In this blog, we are going to share our top tips for finding the best finance individuals who possess an attractive balance in their skillset and the ability to help grow your company at the same time.
Hiring the right talent is absolutely essential when growing and scaling a startup. Some entrepreneurs are led to the belief that finding and retaining talent is a minor task or something which can be taken lightly, only to find that retaining the right talent is a struggle. Those of us that are part of the business community have come to understand that the importance of candidates with both hard and soft skills..
Strategic and analytical skills are essential
It should go without saying that strong strategic and analytical skills are key when it comes to hiring a finance manager or any finance professional for that matter. They are probably among the most important hard skills that come with financial training and acumen. The ideal candidate is an individual that is comfortable working with highly complex reports, data and calculations and is savvy when it comes to solving differences and discrepancies.
A financial management role also demands a candidate that is truly passionate about accuracy and ensuring that reports are crystal-clear, legible and that information is presented in a way which is interesting and informative to readers and colleagues alike. It’s essential to bear in mind that a finance manager will often be your right hand as startup founder, and you need to select a candidate that is highly trustworthy and who can vouch for you and your figures in potentially challenging meetings with investors.
When it comes to dealing with investors and presenting reports in a way that benefits the business, strategic abilities are often a marker of an outstanding candidate.
Pragmatic and process-oriented
The daily activities and workload faced by finance managers requires a pragmatic outlook and a strong character. Your candidate needs to be able to deal with challenging situations and enjoy analysing and putting together P&L statements, balance sheets and forecasts which they can then defend down to the last cent. It is worth highlighting the importance of modelling and keeping a constant eye on future projections rather than simply focusing on day-to-day tasks, especially considering the importance of scaling the business.
A CFO often acts as a right-hand to the CEO and when it comes to startups and ever-changing fintech companies, these professionals often end up stepping into the CEO’s shoes. This makes the candidate’s professional outlook and vision all the more important and individuals with a pragmatic outlook that uses the 3P approach to quality and compliance are particularly valuable. The 3P approach refers to Processes, Product and People. While all three factors are fundamental to the working of a modern company, it is essential that your CFO understands that the order we’ve just mentioned is absolutely key to success. Processes must come first in order to comply and produce accurate information, followed by product awareness and people. It’s important that you analyse a potential candidate’s ability to fulfil their role with this order of priorities and bear in mind that putting processes first can be a difficult task for some professionals.
Passionate about the business itself
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s fundamental that we mention it. While finance managers and CFOs do need to focus on the bottom line and make processes their priority, let’s never forget that a business requires passion and personal involvement, especially when it comes to a dynamic young startup.
The key lies in finding a talented and able finance professional who also understands the startup ecosystem, the relevant technology that pertains to your business and the know-how to truly get to grip your product. For this very reason, it would be extremely wise to do lots of research and hold honest conversations when recruiting for a CFO in order to determine whether or not the candidate shares your passion for the product. It is also worth bearing in mind the importance of striking up good rapport with a potential candidate considering the important role of working alongside one another.
Passion for the business also fulfils a more technical aspect when it comes to hiring a candidate to manage your finance department. This comes down to the essential nature of startups and how a startup works in comparison to a traditional company or multinational. In a startup environment, finance managers need the passion and acumen to focus more on the company’s metrics, cash flow and constantly evolving progress (while keeping the company’s scope in mind) rather than simply focusing on general financial compliance issues.
Soft skills are key for any CFO
Nowadays, it is impossible to understate just how crucial soft skills are to the working of a successful company. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the COVID-19 pandemic enhanced awareness around people skills and interpersonal relationships in the workplace and put even more emphasis on the human touch in any role.
A finance manager needs the skills and character to tactfully communicate with colleagues across the company as well as investors and suppliers. Having a way with words is essential and provides a huge advantage in difficult situations where one might need to make difficult requests or ask challenging questions. As is often the case, the ultimate goal is striking a balance between soft and hard skills to achieve results.
Working with an expert external CFO is invaluable
At The Startup CFO we are passionate about the startup system and draw on our vast experience to offer entrepreneurs the best external CFO services. We possess a deep understanding of how distinct startup environments work and provide our clients with access to best business practices, optimal reporting and networking opportunities which all contribute to helping entrepreneurs to cultivate existing and future talent.