Interim Finance Director: A Short Guide

Hiring a Finance Director isn’t an easy task – it’s a considerable risk and investment, with an exhausting hiring process that takes time and funding. While the search for the right permanent Finance Director is happening, a good option for any business is to appoint an interim Finance Director, who can support this important transition process. This gives the current CEO a little breathing space and time to focus on making the right appointment for the permanent Finance Director. After all, if this person is going to be in charge of the company’s purse strings, this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly! In this blog, we’ll cover everything that an interim FD does, and why a business might need one.

What is an interim Finance Director?

The position of interim finance director (IFD) is one that is typically taken on by experienced professionals who are brought in to provide high-level financial leadership during a time of transition. An IFD may be brought in during a period of change such as a merger, acquisition, or restructuring. They may also be brought in to fill a vacancy created by the departure of a permanent FD.

In either case, the role of the IFD is to provide financial stability and support during a time of upheaval. This includes overseeing the financial planning and management of the organization, as well as providing advice and guidance to senior leadership. An IFD must be able to work effectively under pressure and have the ability to make quick decisions in order to keep the organization on track. With their deep understanding of financial processes and regulations, interim Finance Directors play an essential role in ensuring that businesses can navigate through periods of change successfully.

When might my business need an IFD?

You may decide your business needs an IFD when any of the following applies:

  • The position of FD needs to be filled in, and the current CEO needs help with recruitment. The IFD can support the CEO in the hiring process, as they can provide professional opinions on candidate suitability, help draft the job specification and provide a handover and mentoring process to make sure the new Finance Director settles into their new role comfortably.
  • You need to hire an IFD to shadow a current Finance Director who may be working a notice period or to cover maternity leave. With this type of interim arrangement, a temporary FD with lots of financial and management experience can quickly come in and take the reins for a desired period of time, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. They will be able to stabilise and continue to lead existing teams within your organisation, so everything functions as normal while the CEO finds a new permanent one.
  • Your business may need an IFD so that other staff have an experienced, competent and reliable leader they can work with during the transition phase of appointing a new FD.

What makes a successful interim Finance Director?

First things first, any IFD you hire must have the technical skills, knowledge and a good reputation required for the role. Do your research carefully, and check out their standing in their industry. What makes this candidate stand out from the rest – and what makes them unique? As part of their job role, they’ll need a can-do attitude to be able to bring positive motivation and direction to various teams within your company. They’ll also need a calm disposition and problem-solving skills to balance the books and keep your company’s finances in tip-top shape.

A strong IFD will have an unrivalled knowledge of their industry, and should have a strong track record of working in similar roles at other companies on an interim basis – even better if these companies vary in size and structure). Being an interim Finance Director at a start-up, for instance, will be a different experience to that in a large and established company.

It isn’t all about skills and experience either. Having an adaptable and calm personality will also help the hired interim director to settle into the company culture, and motivate and support others. This will give them the opportunity to develop positive working relationships with various teams within the organisation, who they can call on for support when needed.

What’s the difference between an interim and part-time Finance Director?

A Finance Director may be either a part-time or an interim position. A part-time FD is typically someone who is hired to fill a specific need within the company, such as overseeing a particular project or providing financial advice on a short-term basis. An IFD, on the other hand, is usually someone who is brought in to temporarily fill a position that has been vacated by another employee. An IFD may also be hired on a long-term basis if the company is facing financial difficulty and needs someone with experience to help turn things around.

Why an IFD may work well for a small business

Hiring an interim Finance Director is often a good decision for small businesses that are experiencing growth. An interim Finance Director can provide the financial expertise and leadership that is needed to help a business manage its growth effectively. They can also help to implement systems and processes that will support the long-term financial health of the business. In addition, interim Finance Directors are typically experienced in working with investors and lenders, which can be beneficial for businesses that are seeking outside funding. Overall, hiring an interim Finance Director can provide a small business with the financial firepower it needs to navigate its growth successfully.

How Leadership Services can help

Leadership Services connects CEOs with experienced interim FD’s with a minimum of 10 years of experience. We can put you in touch with the skills and leadership you need to support your business during the re-hiring process, a period of transition, or early-stage growth.

Get in touch today to discover how we can help you find the right interim Finance Director for your business.

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