On May 15 – 16, Director of Finance and SME magazines attended The Finance Leaders’ Summit 2019, as media partners. The event gathered over 120 Finance Directors at a 2-day event at The Montcalm Hotel in London. It was a chance to meet and hear FDs from large, and small/medium businesses speak on career learnings, flowing from their experiences through start-ups, private equity takeovers, scaling up and exits. With a highly focussed programme and dynamic line-up of SME finance leaders and panellists, delegates heard fascinating stories on the challenges faced by FDs and CFOs alike, in their transitioning roles in a digital age.
Zoya Malik, Managing Editor, Director of Finance (DoF) and SME magazines at Publications UK stated, “Much interest surrounds the qualities that HR is looking for in hiring accountants to fit these new roles, such as, how FDs must train and position themselves for team leadership by motivating teams to align with change. Also, in FDs’ career development and avenues for reskilling, what’s especially critical is how FDs must adopt a commercial mind-set to be able to drive cross-functional teams, that may be less financially literate”.
Themes surrounding the soft-skills side of career grooming were squarely at the forefront of speakers’ thoughts and delegates’ curiosity. This was well demonstrated by greater numbers of delegates favouring the Talking Tables session, “Debating the role of the ‘modern’ FD”, over more operations-based chats.
Zoya Malik commented, “Director of Finance and SME are both leading in exploring many of the themes and views amplified at the event. It is agreed that expectations have changed in how company FDs are viewed by colleagues, the Board and external stakeholders alike. They are increasingly expected to share their opinion on company direction and create a sense of stability and confidence for all shareholders. In fact, FDs are being regarded as equal partners to CEOs and the debate ensues on the future role and aspirations of the FD and CFO, to respond to changing market demands and their own career ambitions”.
Visit DoF and SME for our conversations with FDs on how they are meeting new challenges in the workplace and market, and where they find inspiration in reframing their outlook in facing career challenges.