By Jennifer Price and Richard Morris of Archer Mathieson, www.archermat.com

When is the time right to do it?

Sooner than many imagine! If you need one now, you’ve probably left it too late. It can take several months to find and hire an FD; at least four to six weeks, on average, to identify candidates, interview them and make an offer that’s accepted. Add a couple more weeks if you haven’t yet defined the role and objectives. There’s usually another one to three months’ delay as they serve their notice period before they’re working for you.

How can you make sure you hire the best financial brains?

The best FDs are never short of offers. How do you attract them? Do you have time to do it effectively on your own? This is where a specialist search firm comes in. They will show you not only how to create the job profile, present the opportunity and which ‘pond to go fishing in’, but also advise on getting key things like remuneration, long-term incentives and the career development plan right. And they’ll do it much faster than you would on your own. The best people will find it off-putting if the screening and recruitment process isn’t slick, thorough and well thought out.

What qualifications and skills?

Let’s assume the numbers wizardry as a given. Next on your list should be making a good cultural fit and finding someone who has strong communication and leadership skills — this person might be doing your current job in a few years! Hire someone whose experience aligns to the growth plan you have, be it through acquisition, organic, overseas, IPO or merger. An FD with experience of the growth journey you expect to take will be a solid investment. Personality fit is critical in smaller organisations; there is nowhere to hide! Flexibility may be important as you may need them to get involved in other areas like IT and HR from time to time. Look for someone who’s not afraid to challenge (with diplomacy and tact) as well as support you; someone willing to ask the questions no-one else is willing to ask.

About The Authors

Jennifer Price and Richard Morris of Archer Mathieson have more than 26 years’ combined experience in search and recruitment for CFO roles and their direct reports.