A vacant director of finance position is not something your company wants to have for very long. The role is key to your financial forecasting and planning. But with competition for skilled finance professionals fiercer than ever, finding a suitable candidate isn't easy.
Identifying the right person starts with drafting a strong director of finance job description. Why? The job posting is typically based on the job description. If it hasn't been updated recently, the ad you place isn't going to attract the people best suited for the role.
The scope of finance executives' responsibilities has expanded, especially to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations. Take a close look at whether and how the function has changed in your organization: new reporting relationships, new technical skills, a more (or less) public role than in the past, or other factors.
Nail the basics
The required qualifications you want to include in your director of finance job description include the following:
- 10+ years of experience in accounting and finance
- Management experience
- Bachelor's degree in finance or accounting
- Strong leadership, technology, analytical and communication skills
- Knowledge of and aptitude for current regulatory and compliance practices
In addition to these prerequisites, many firms prefer that finance director candidates have a master's degree in business administration (MBA), as well as a chartered professional accountant (CPA) designation. Previous public accounting experience is also highly valued.
Now, think about the specifics of your organization. If your firm has moved to automate some functions — for instance, using software to reconcile accounts — you should list experience related to that as well. If a merger or acquisition happened in the recent past or may occur in the near future, you need a director of finance with M&A experience and expertise.
What you can leave out
Essential qualities, such as personal integrity and a passion for getting things done, should be givens, so there is usually no need to list them. Likewise, it's safe to assume that every high-level candidate is accustomed to juggling multiple responsibilities, so you don't need to take up space in your director of finance job description by including "an ability to multitask."
Diving deeper into the job description
Next, comes the list of duties. This is the place to signal the scope of the job. Here are some of the typical responsibilities of a finance director:
- Overseeing insurance and risk management
- Maintaining budgeting and forecasting models
- Performing financial modeling and analysis
- Assisting with business funding decisions
- Hiring, training and retaining competent finance staff
Promote your firm
Finally, when working on the wording, keep in mind how potential candidates scan listings — with an eye to their next career move. Your next director of finance isn't looking for just a job; he or she wants a professional challenge and a solid step forward.
To catch job seekers' attention, the job ad you create from your director of finance job description needs to be more than a bulleted list of skills and duties, especially for a senior position. In the ad, craft a few sentences that not only explain the executive's role but also what makes your organization a great place to work and grow professionally.