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Another level

How do you recognise when the FCs in your organisation are ready to make the step up to management, and how do you prepare them for the transition? Xenia Taliotis finds out what special qualities make for a good first-time FD.

One might wonder how different the role of the FC and the FD can be? Richard Brooks, co-founder of FD Solutions, a specialist in flexible director services, knows the answer: “The gap between FC and an FD is huge,” he says.

“It’s far bigger than that between a bookkeeper and an FC, say. You need different skills, different abilities and, most importantly, a different mindset because you’ll need to be able to make decisions based on reasonable assumptions of what factors – external as well as internal – will affect the business you’re working for in up to five years’ time.”

Brooks’s company places FDs on an as-and-when-needed basis with organisations that don’t need a full-time FD. In his time he’s seen – and appointed – the best of the best, developing a finely tuned ability to recognise those who will make the grade in the process. “I think you can tell from early on if an FC will be able to step up successfully, because you see a depth in those who’ll prove capable of making the transition. Being an FD is a complex and multi-faceted role, and you need a complex and multi-faceted set of skills to do the job well. People have to be very well-rounded. They have to be so much more than technically strong.”

This is an extract from the Finance & Management Magazine, Issue 245, July/August 2016.

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