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An FDs first 100 days

It is important to hit the ground running in the first few months in a new job, but what should an FD's priorities be? Linda McKay and Alison Coleman consult three senior finance professionals for their insight.

My top three priorities, carried out in parallel, are people, financial due diligence and business and processes. Forging effective relationships is vital.

In the first 100 days I aim to build seven connections: my CEO, the HR manager, the accounts team, the executive board, non-executive directors, staff members and key external contacts. The chief executive is Batman to your Robin. They lead and you support. Work out their preferred style of being kept informed.

Meet with your fellow executive directors to understand strengths and interests. Non-executives need an email or phone call to set up an informal meeting later, once you have gained further knowledge of the business. The HR manager is a natural ally and will help you understand morale and people issues within the business. Take time to understand your own people in the accounts team – their roles and aspirations.

You should undertake a tour to see staff face to face, try to cover items of personal interest such as a favourite football team (even if it is Coventry City). Make time for external contacts such as the audit partner, bank manager and enterprise resource planning (ERP) support company staff. An FD is likely to own the ERP system. Using the system is a good icebreaker for initial discussions with staff around the business, as most people have an opinion.

This is an extract from the Finance & Management Magazine, Issue 236, October 2015.

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