Finance managers have overall responsibility for an organisation’s financial strategy and health.
Their duties include providing financial guidance and advice, managing risk and overseeing budgeting and expenditure.
As a senior member of staff, the finance director also supervises teams of finance professionals who all work towards keeping the organisation financially sustainable.
This comprehensive guide provides all the information you need about the role of a finance director, including duties and responsibilities, pathways for progression and a sample job description.
- Finance director job description
- How much do finance directors earn?
- What do finance directors do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs finance directors?
- Which junior jobs progress to finance director roles?
Finance director job description
Finance director | Franklin Arts Foundation
About Franklin Arts Foundation
Franklin Arts Foundation was established to support and develop young artists from underprivileged backgrounds. We work with young people from across the UK, offering grants and scholarships as well as the opportunity for artists to display their works in high-profile galleries.
About the role
We are looking for a passionate and meticulous finance director to join our senior management team. Working closely with the CEO, you will provide advice on financial planning and strategy and support with key contracts and grants. You will also lead the development and maintenance of our annual operating budget.
- Providing strategic advice and leadership of the finance function across the organisation
- Managing relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders including the senior management team, the board, partners and vendors
- Offering analysis and financial expertise for any identified partnership or business development opportunities
- Overseeing the organisation’s fundraising strategy and managing relationships with investors
- Creating financial systems and processes to govern all financial activity carried out within the organisation
- Establishing and overseeing major contracts and grants
- Producing annual budgets, regular forecasts and monthly management reporting
- Managing a team of finance and grants officers, including their recruitment, training and performance management
- Ensuring company-wide adherence to financial regulations and HMRC requirements
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full-time position
- Based in Liverpool city centre
- Occasional travel and evening work required
- Previous experience working in a senior financial management role
- Excellent analytical skills
- Excellent communication skills with the ability to translate complex financial information into plain language
- ACA, ACCA, CIMA or equivalent
- Proficient in the use of MS Office Suite and financial management software (e.g. SAP)
- BSc/BA in accounting, finance or related field;
- Previous experience working in the charity sector
Contact us to apply
If you are passionate about playing a role in supporting struggling artists, please send your CV and cover letter to our HR manager Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do finance directors earn?
Finance directors earn an average of £47,500 a year, this can often be increased greatly through bonuses and other benefits.
Finance director salaries in the UK
- Low: £35,000
- Average: £47,500
- High: £62,500
Finance director salaries can vary based on;
- The industry of the employer – Niche experience such as technology or fin-tech will often command higher salaries
- Size of employer – Finance directors in larger companies will have more responsibility, which often translates to higher salaries
- Candidate qualifications – Generally, finance directors who are qualified accountants will receive higher salaries
- General salary factors – such as level of candidate experience and location
For example, a senior finance director who has a completed an ACA qualification and who specialises in fin tech will normally earn more than a less experienced finance director without post-graduate qualifications, who works for a smaller organisation.
What do finance directors do?
This section breaks down the job description into simple terms, listing the tasks and responsibilities finance directors can expect in an average working week;
- Financial management – Holding responsibility for the financial health of the organisation and overseeing the development of a long-term financial plan
- Budget management – Developing and managing the company’s annual operating budget and making sure the business meets its financial targets
- Financial analysis – Reviewing and interpreting financial information, and predicting future trends
- Providing strategic guidance – Supporting senior members of staff with financial advice that will help to achieve the organisation’s objectives
- Implementing financial systems – Creating policies and processes to ensure all financial and statutory regulations are adhered to and risk is minimised
- People management – Managing a team of accountants and other financial staff, including their recruitment, training and performance
- Reporting – Maintaining financial records and sharing them regularly with key stakeholders and board members
- Statutory compliance – Ensuring adherence to corporate tax requirements and regulations from financial regulatory bodies
- Contract management – Negotiating and managing high-profile or high-risk contracts to minimise costs and maximise value to the business
- Relationship management – Establishing and maintaining relationships with banking and investment partners
What do finance directors need?
Finance directors are senior members of staff, and expected to have a breadth of experience as well as formal qualifications.
Some industries will also prefer to see specialist experience and training, but here’s what’s generally needed.
Finance director is a senior position, so it’s crucial that candidates have significant experience working in financial management before applying for this role. They should have proven experience overseeing the finances of an organisation or a department, and have held roles where they have worked closely with senior executive staff such as the managing director or CEO.
Finance director skills
To be successful in their roles, finance directors need to possess both soft skills and technical knowledge.
- Financial analysis: Monitoring and analysing all financial activity within the organisation to ensure it is on track to meet its goals
- Communication skills: Being able to translate complex financial matters and communicate to a wide range of stakeholders and staff
- Leadership: Setting a clear strategy for the finance function and directing all finance staff
- Attention to detail: Ensuring all financial records and reports are accurate and compliant
- Business acumen: Possessing solid commercial and business awareness including understanding market trends
- Accountancy knowledge: Superior understanding of accountancy practices including cash management, cost control and budgeting
- Taxation knowledge – Understanding UK company taxation and HMRC reporting requirements
- Financial regulation knowledge – Sound understanding of global financial regulatory bodies and processes required to adhere to their rules
Finance director qualifications
Formal qualifications are very important for the role of finance director, and there are high expectations in the market for candidates to have university degrees as well as industry-based qualifications.
Bachelors or Masters degrees
Often, finance directors are expected to complete formal university training and there are universities across the UK offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in areas such as accountancy, finance, economics, mathematics and business administration.
Accountancy and finance qualifications
Further financial and accounting training can be achieved through professional diplomas including Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountant (CIMA).
These globally-recognised qualifications take around three to five years to complete and provide participants with a sound theoretical understanding of core financial processes.
What is expected of finance directors?
Typically, finance directors will be expected to commit to the following;
- Full time work – Standard 35-40 hours per week
- Some overtime and evening work – Especially during peak times such as end of financial year
- Location – Office based
Finance director benefits
Due to their value and seniority within companies, finance directors often receive a number of benefits in addition to their base salary, including things like:
- Car allowance
- Performance-based bonuses
- Profit share
Who employs finance directors?
Most large businesses will require a finance director, or a similar person who oversees all financial operations. This is due to the varied and complex financial and banking operations larger businesses are required to undertake.
Smaller or growing businesses may also need finance directors to help put a sound financial strategy in place and improve business performance.
Here are some examples of industries that hire finance directors:
- Financial services
- Public sector
- Not-for-profit organisations
- Industrial and manufacturing
Which junior jobs progress to finance director roles?
Being a senior position, there are a number of roles candidates will need to have held as they work their way up the ladder to finance director. These include:
Finance managers will work for a specific department within an organisation, and may report to the finance director. They will be responsible for monitoring and reporting business expenditures for their department and advising their colleagues on financial matters. This role is the ideal stepping stone into the finance director role because it offers exposure to a wide range of business and finance matters.
Management accountants provide financial reports and insights to company leadership, often working closely with finance director – making it an excellent spring-board role.
Which senior jobs do finance directors progress to?
The next step for finance directors is either staying within a finance focus or taking a broader business management role within a business, such as the following roles.
Chief financial officer (CFO)
The CFO holds the highest-ranked financial position within a company and will usually sit on the board of directors. They will work closely with the CEO and COO to ensure all financial operations within the organisation are accurate, compliant and working towards the company’s business goals. This is the highest position within the financial industry and a candidate will need significant experience and time as a Finance Director before stepping up into the role.
Managing director (MD)
Managing directors are responsible for the overall strategy, operations and success of a business. Whilst they are not specifically focused on finance – the company’s revenue and financial position will be a priority. Finance directors can move into this role once they have gained experience understanding how a business runs, how to lead people, and the role of other departments within the organisation.
Finance director job description – conclusion
Finance directors have the unique ability to transfer their significant financial and accounting experience across a range of industries and work closely with senior members of staff.
The role suits someone with the ability to form strong relationships, communicate well to a range of different stakeholders and above all work towards making their organisation run in a financially sustainable way.