FDs: Make an impact in 180 days

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If a week is a long time in politics, then 180 days might seem like a lifetime in the finance hotseat.

 

However, that 180 days (or two quarters) is the time it takes for a new-to-role CFO to make an impact or ‘own the numbers’, according to Deloitte report ‘The CFO view: Making an impact’.

While conventional business wisdom proclaims the first 90 days of a new leadership role as a vital transitionary period, those who have been there and got the t-shirt can testify that time passes quickly in a busy senior finance role.

Deloitte report author Richard Horton states that while a lot can be achieved in the first three months, the first quarterly report or figures are likely to be a legacy from the previous incumbent.

According to Horton, it takes two quarters or 180 days for good CFOs to assess their talent, understand how the business operates and build critical relationships.

With 40% of senior executives leaving their role within 18 months of being appointed, a good transitional period is crucial to the success or failure of a finance executive.  

With this in mind AccountingWEB looks at five key areas a new finance director or CFO should be looking to focus on during this pivotal 180 days:

  • Step back, take a breath
  • Understand how your business makes money
  • Check what’s left behind
  • Clear time in your diary
  • Get to the data that matters

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First priority for me in a new role is to get hold of the balance sheet and carry out  my own audit review. It's vital to understand any potential exposures that you may have inherited.

Thanks (3)

Low Hanging Fruit

When I have taking on new roles in my FD days, particularly if the outgoing guy had left under a cloud or was long in his post and had become a touch stale, I would always try and find some low hanging fruit or a quick win, which a fresh set of eyes can often pick up on.

That would give the staff some confidence that you know your stuff and things will get better.

It also gives you some quick browny points with owners/Directors.

After your quick win, it  will take some pressure to get your feet under table and build term plan of what is needed.

Also check the drawers to make sure the out going accountant has not left 2 envelopes for you.

 

Thanks (2)

I've always been lucky with teams I've inherited on starting a new job, but I know more than one person who's had a personnel clear out because the current staff 'didn't come up to scratch'. Just another way of making your mark I guess.

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Little Things
After been shown around on the first day and been shown my office, I’ve always made the drinks.

It gave me the opportunity to get to know names and show that I’m not above making a brew (some senior staff often think this is above them).

Thanks (0)

Good plan, however

cheekychappy wrote:
After been shown around on the first day and been shown my office, I’ve always made the drinks. It gave me the opportunity to get to know names and show that I’m not above making a brew (some senior staff often think this is above them).

A good plan, I have used that myself. However on one job I went to make the drinks for all my new staff - and dropped the tray down the stairs - smashing everyone's 'favourite' mugs. It stopped being mentioned after about three years..

Thanks (1)