How To Become a Finance Director

1-2 minutes

Becoming a Finance Director is the prized final destination for many finance and accounting professionals. It's hardly surprising considering the significant salary, responsibilities and privileges such a role commands. 

Being a Finance Director can be a challenging and demanding role that requires a strong understanding of finance, accounting, and business principles. The difficulty of the role can vary depending on factors such as the organisation's size, industry, and complexity. 

However, if you think you have what it takes and want to know how to become a Finance Director, we’ve covered everything you could need to know in our latest insight piece. 

The roles and responsibilities of a Finance Director

A Finance Director manages and leads a company's financial operations, including risk, compliance, strategy and operations. They also advise senior management on financial strategies and performance targets, provide information on risk management, and help create and maintain policies and procedures to ensure their organisation's long-term growth.

To become a Finance Director in the UK, you must have a combination of highly-developed technical skills and qualifications, relevant industry experience and thorough knowledge of the finance industry.

Skills and qualifications

A potential Finance Director must understand financial management principles, such as accounting, budgeting, forecasting and financial analysis. A bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, mathematics or similar, and professional qualifications are also essential. 

It is also likely that you will need to gain between 5 and 10 years of valuable experience within accounting, economics and accounting. Many Finance Directors will work as an accountant or Finance Manager and work their way up through the ranks.

Salary expectations

The average salary of a Finance Director in the UK can vary widely depending on several factors, including the size and type of the organisation they work for, their level of experience, and their location. 

Through independent research conducted by Spencer Clarke Group, the average salary of a Finance Director is:

  • London - £104,000
  • Manchester - £95,495
  • Birmingham/Wolverhampton - £78,250
  • Leeds/Bradford - £69,750
  • Liverpool - £58,150
  • Newcastle - £84,000
  • Glasgow - £60,450
  • Southampton/Portsmouth - £66,900

Finance Directors who have extensive experience and a proven track record of success can command higher salaries than those who are just starting out in their careers.

Industry experience

It's important to have demonstrable experience in financial management, preferably at a senior level. This could include time served as an Accountant, Financial Manager or Head of Finance. Hands-on experience in top-to-bottom roles that involve leading teams, delivering to KPIs, and adding value to a business is also beneficial.

Knowledge of the UK finance industry

In addition to technical skills and qualifications, you need to understand the UK finance industry as a whole. This includes an in-depth knowledge of relevant legislation and regulations, and an innate understanding of current business trends and ongoing developments in the finance sector.

How to take the next steps to become a Finance Director

1. Develop core financial skills such as budgeting, forecasting, accounting, taxation and investment management

When looking to become a successful Finance Director, developing and refining your hard and soft skills, including your core financial skills, in the years preceding your application for such a role is important. These core skills include budgeting, forecasting, accounting, taxation and investment management. A thorough understanding of using these competencies effectively will help you make sound decisions when managing a company's finances. 

Having strong analytical skills is also essential. You should be able to accurately analyse a company's financial performance and make informed predictions. Understanding how to interpret and use financial data will give you the edge when looking for Finance Director positions. As will a range of soft skills, such as adaptability, resilience, leadership, communication, problem-solving and strategic thinking.

2. Familiarise yourself with industry regulations and legal requirements

As we mentioned, your journey to becoming a Finance Director requires you to be familiar with ever-changing industry regulations and legal requirements. For instance, you should develop a strong understanding of tax laws, investment regulations, data protection legislation, and financial reporting frameworks. Understanding these rules can help you with decision-making when managing the finances of a company. 

It's also important to stay current with general developments in the finance industry. This can help you to make better-informed decisions and remain competitive. In addition, a proven track record of identifying potential risks and opportunities will help you stand out from other aspiring Finance Directors.

Network with relevant contacts to find out more about potential job openings

On route to becoming a Finance Director, never underestimate the power of networking. It's an invaluable tool for anyone looking to enter finance leadership roles. Building contacts within the sector can not only help you to find opportunities, but it can also be invaluable for seeking advice and guidance on how to progress. With the right approach, qualifications and aptitude, you can realise your ambitions of becoming a Finance Director.


Latest Finance Director jobs at Spencer Clarke Group

If you’re searching for your next Finance Director job, why not take a look at all the vacancies currently available in accountancy practices across the UK? 

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Why not upload your CV or contact our finance recruitment specialist, Shannon McGarry, to discover more about upcoming opportunities. 

Meet Shannon McGarry

Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

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Corporate Functions & Business Support

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IT & Digital

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Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you. 

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