Successful businesses demand blood, sweat, and tears. However, that is not where it all starts. It begins when you hire the first member in the process of building your dream team — a team that adds strategic value to your business.
In the process of creating your dream finance team, you will need to focus on some key steps. However, while hiring reliable members for your finance team, you cannot disregard all the other factors beyond their financial expertise. After all, no team can function entirely on its own.
Your financial dream team should be your partner in maintaining your relations with the company board of directors and investors. The team should be able to curate reliable data for finance and operations so you can make informed business decisions in time.
The team will also need to collaborate with each department within the company to keep the company’s momentum of growth going in the right direction.
As the key decision-maker within the company, it falls to you to be vigilant about what goes into your hiring protocol. You also have to decide what needs to be phased out when you are hiring to build a strategic finance team.
Top 5 Tips to hire the best financial team for your business
The most common mistake companies make is that they start building a finance team after too much time has already passed. This makes it difficult for the team to start with the clean-up protocol for the accounting mess. Often this protocol becomes an exhaustive and expensive process.
Companies should start planning a finance team simultaneously with their launch. However, this seems like an ideal scenario. If your business has not been able to tie up the strategy in such neat lines, you should at least start with acquiring new talent or training freshers to take over the prospective or existing skills gaps in your finance department.
Without wasting too much time, let this article guide you through the vital points for your strategy to hire reliable members to build the dream team for your business.
1. Identify the existing gaps within your existing system
You cannot address a problem until you know what it is in the first place. Assuming that your company already has a finance department but it is not functioning at its peak, you need to start by locating the snags in the fiber of the department first.
This is a challenging step because none of the assignments within the finance department is executed individually. Instead of looking at each project on its own, you will have to look at each stage of the process to identify your key problem areas.
If you find the prediction and action of a financial strategy is causing a loss to your company, the problem might be deep-rooted in the initial data collection and sorting instead. An inefficient financial strategy can have two specific types of issues:
a) Process Deadlocks
A deadlock is defined as a phase when both the opposing forces are working at their maximum strength. None of the forces move in either direction. In this scenario, some stages of your finance processes are at its full capacity but still being burdened by more requests. The result? A stalemate! The process just does not move forward at that work stage while the requests pile up on the other end. Ultimately, the entire process comes to a screeching halt at some point.
To identify process deadlocks, look for signs of delay in work completion at different stages. You will find that it takes a lot of time to generate project reports, which eventually shoots up the financial expenses of the company.
b) System hitches
This problem is more common for mid-level to large-scale enterprises. Expansion of a company necessitates the addition of new work systems and collaborations in place. However, more systems also weaken the interlinking change of execution and information between each system. This results in inefficiency and miscommunications, which pile up as mistakes and sometimes cause confusion within the work processes.
You can identify the presence of a hitch if you find it hard to retrieve and sort financial data within the company. You might also look out for tangled communication between the finance team and the other departments.
2. Define the vision for success
Once you have identified the underlying issues, you will have to bring in the right personnel to deal with these issues using the right techniques. While hiring team members, design the interview to allow for a discussion on how each of them defines professional success on an individual level. Only when a prospective member is able to do that, there can be effective collaboration on a departmental level to bring that vision to reality.
CFOs should work closely with the HR department to streamline the interview process for standards of accountability. This should be measured at both individual and team levels. The training and incentive programs should also be designed accordingly to motivate and equip the team members to associate their success goals with the company’s profit margin.
3. Build a diverse team with a collaborative work culture
A top-notch finance team will not just focus on the range of skills within the department but also include diverse personalities on the team. This reduces friction and encourages collaboration.
Various tools can help sort out the personality portfolios of the prospective team members. These include tools like DISC and GC Index. Companies can also include an accounting assessment test or accounts payable test in the hiring process to sort out the skills portfolio of the individual applicants. Ultimately, the goal is to set up a team that is least likely to indulge in dramas and more likely to guide each other through innovation.
To develop such a collaborative work culture, the company should focus heavily on the professional and personal development of the team members. Foster a sense of personal accountability within the team. In addition, customize the work environment exactly according to the personality profile of the individual members for maximum efficiency.
4. Company brand transparency
Attracting the right team members needs transparent communication from both sides. If a professional has to dedicate a large chunk of time to the company, the company should at least be realistic about the work culture right at the onset of the hiring process.
Today, many brands have embraced the remote working practice. Do you need your employees to be self-starters that require little to no monitoring? Alternatively, do you need them to be at the office for eight hours every day with the occasional weekends?
A skilled professional will be able to adapt to any working environment but only a certain type of work culture will bring out their most efficient output. However, if they do not know what to expect as they start the work, their readiness to fit in will be severely pressured. In fact, friction due to an ill-fitting work culture is often the cause for employees quitting their jobs mid-contract.
Instead, reveal the true nature and value of your work culture to the prospective employees even before they have to make the decision to join.
5. Identify the key attributes of a skilled finance professional
To find the right candidate you have to check for skills, chemistry, perseverance and innovation. Only a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree might not be enough to give you a full view of their readiness to handle all types of potential financial crisis. Instead, look for a well-rounded portfolio with the following attributes as key.
a) Relevant professional degrees
Look for the skill that is most relevant for the position within the team. An MBA might be ideal but it is much more crucial for the candidate to have a Certified Public Account (CPA) degree or knowledge about the taxes and accounting processes.
b) Fundraising experience
A background in securing funding from acclaimed venture capital funds is a gold standard for portfolios for this position. You can also ask questions regarding their network for raising equity financing funds in the future.
c) Opening and closing deals
How is their experience level with negotiating new deals? How is their deal flow? At what rate do they receive investment pitches or proposals?
d) Personality profiling
At the personality level, look for the synergistic compatibility of the members in simulated business emergencies. You can also simulate situations to test how they restructure the parts of the organization to increase productivity.
Your search for reliable financial team members should be driven by what you need from them. Your ideal team member should understand your financial strategy and develop inclusive plans to properly execute your strategy. This includes projections of profitability and estimates of the starter fund. They should be able to locate the right fund sources and solicit the capital for your business growth.
Finally, their focus should be to analyze and improve your current financial strategy to eliminate any loopholes and strengthen the efficient aspects. Where is your liquid cash going? What can be done to improve the company’s transaction history? Your team should be able to bring you reliable answers to these key questions.
Do not overlook the fact that outfitting your finance team with the right candidates and resources can directly impact the growth of your business. Make sure your hiring strategy is inclusive of profiling for talents, skills and personalities to create a team that works together with maximum efficiency.