You are a good country finance director or head of finance. You have a stable department, the knowledge of the local systems and legislations, and you have been very successful in this role for quite a while. Your multinational company is very happy with your financial directorship – the operating income flows are steady, your reporting is on time, subordinates act professionally and are satisfied with their jobs. And then you wonder – what is next for me? How can I do more? What is coming next in my career in multinational finance management?
You of course know the answer: the next natural career step is to take on a role in multi-country financial management. The usual path leads to a cluster or regional controller (or finance director) role. You should be heppy with that, since it gives you the chance to expand your financial management skills at multi-country level, as well as to embark on a path of multic-cultural and complex corporate finance learning.
There are also lots of questions – and the successful country finance directors are usually unsettled by them:
a) What does the new role require from me in terms of skills, experience, interactions?
b) How do I cope with the new role and the pressures associated?
c) How do I manage not one, but multiple legal entities/countries – whilst keeping the same success levels as in the past?
d) When do I start and where do I stop? etc
It is hard to answer all these questions in a short blog post such as this one, however – I will give you here some practical (and theory based) insights on how you can become a successful regional finance manager/director quickly and with little associated stress: Read more
Recently I was browsing a few articles on the CFO job in Central East and East Europe. Actually quite interesting readings, even if you are not a boring finance professional trying to make his/her way to the top. Whilst reading them, I had two major surprises:
– The articles on the topic were few and far in between, and quite old (we are in 2014, they were from 2007-2010, when probably the enthusiasm and the PR needed to recruit high-caliber professionals for CFO jobs were substantially higher);
– Surprise to surprise – despite their aging, the CFO blogs had some interesting insights which are still valid so far.
What were the key findings of these headhunter blogs related to the ideal CFO?:
– CFO’s in CEE need to have superior technical finance knowledge, especially related to the complexity of accounting standards, fiscal requirements, M&A’s and financial analysis (the Western Europe CFO’s who deal with much fewer and more developed countries need paradoxically less of such technical skills);
– Communication skills are highly priced in CEE for the senior financial leaders of the companies; Read more
One of the problems some of the CFOs have in their careers periodically is that it is stalling. Then, naturally, you have to do something. As a consequence, they go interviewing. Or maybe (more probably) they are on the other side of the desk and are looking for somebody. Again, they go…well…interviewing, right?
Well, the recruitment companies are full of advice of how to go for a finance interview. Guess what – most of it is useless, since if you are a finance professional you will already know most of the interviewing questions, techniques etc.
Maybe some of the more practical advices below could help you be more successful when you interview for a finance top job:
1. Go for your level of job. Maybe slightly aove it, but not too much, or you will risk flying too high and disappoint yourself. Read more
When I started my financial manager career several good years ago (almost 15), I entered the ranks of the commercial finance professionals very idealistically. I thought:
a) everything is according to the books or even better
b) there is no room for politics or hazard in decision making and
c) I will change the world, even in a small way. Read more