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Interview questions

Sample presentation topic and interview questions for Finance a Director role

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I have an interview for Finance Director role. I have been in middle management for 15 years so now trying to secure a promotion but do not know what to expect at the interview for such a role. I believe a presentation may be required. Does anyone have an idea what sort of questions to expect or presentation topic to expect?

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By memyself-eye
11th Oct 2020 10:42

Difficult to advise when we don't know what sort of business you are applying to.

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By Dainty Dee
11th Oct 2020 21:53

Thanks Memyself-eye. I’m asking for general pointers to start on my preparation, but I understand you, it’s not easy

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By Matrix
11th Oct 2020 22:19

He was asking for which kind of business are you interviewing. Please advise.

I would take your time to answer, listen, don’t waffle. I don’t think they expect you to know everything.

Be commercial too, what do businesses and particularly FDs need to do to survive the downturn?

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Dainty Dee
12th Oct 2020 00:34

Thanks Matrix,
I find, FD’s being strategic, do a lot of talking, which I need to muster. It’s encouraging to know I won’t be expected to know everything.
FD’s are not CEO’s, what can FD’s do to survive a downturn like the impact of this pandemic on not-for-profit organisations?
I’ve got a lot to work on to prepare myself.
Thanks

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By zebaa
11th Oct 2020 13:34

Research the prospective employer. Accounts at Co House, if you can. Think about your strengths and how to put them over. Present on them if that is what is required. Practice your presentation. Make any weakness trivial, but have one ready anyway as some interviewers like to ask. Good luck.

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Replying to zebaa:
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By Dainty Dee
11th Oct 2020 23:45

Thanks very much Zebaa. I really appreciate this. I was imagining something else. Maybe. Thanks for the good wishes.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
11th Oct 2020 14:02

"Finance a Director" ?

I like it......

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Mike Cooper HJS
By mike_uk_1983
15th Oct 2020 10:12

The OP did mention in a comment further up its a not for profit organisation so maybe its a charity to help provide finance to those directors who are struggling to survive in the current climate.

Some of the top directors in London who didn't get their 6 figure bonus at same level as last year are really in need of your hard earned cash. Please donate what you can :)

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By paul.benny
11th Oct 2020 15:54

"Tell me about yourself" is the most common, although it comes in many guises.

If a presentation is required, they'll give you the subject a few days beforehand to prepare. In my experience, it's a second/third stage ask.

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By adf2410
11th Oct 2020 22:33

Depends on a lot of things, but often the features of middle management (MM) and FD are:

MM - operational, inward-facing, thinking about now/short term
FD - strategic, outward-facing, horizon scanning, longer term planning.

So, assuming that it's a decent sized company where the FD has a team below them, questions are going to focus on what you know of the wider sector/industry (e.g. upcoming issues/risks), your company's competitors, how you can add value to the business, what your plans for improvement would be etc. They're unlikely to ask you to prove that you're amazing at preparing consolidated accounts - unless you're applying to be the FD of a small company/group where you're the only accountant.

Presentation titles at a guess:

1. What do you think the main challenges for this sector/industry will be over the next 3/5/10 years and how would you help this organisation to mitigate against or overcome those challenges?

2. The company has been adversely affected financially by the global pandemic in x, y and z ways. How would you ensure that the company recovers even during further local lockdowns?

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Replying to adf2410:
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By Dainty Dee
12th Oct 2020 00:13

Hiadf2410,

This is so helpful. Gives me a lot to work on. This role has a team. Very challenging, but I think FD is the ultimate destination for most accountants though we all don’t get there.
Thank you.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Oct 2020 09:41

Refreshing your recollections of how you previously managed changes in
any processes/procedures will likely not be time wasted

Having any notable career achievements ready to recall, if asked ,would be advisable.

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By bernard michael
13th Oct 2020 09:37

The standard questions are always.
What do you think you can bring to the job ??
How do you feel that your experience will fit the role and expand it as the company grows

I could go on but they generally come down to the same things

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
13th Oct 2020 10:50

Learn as much as possible about the company. Depending on the business, visit/use their shops / outlets / products / warehouses. Look on LinkedIn to see what you can pick up from other employees (pay for the premium access if necessary).

You are trying to prepare for the questions they will ask you. Turn the interview around, drive the interview by showing knowledge of them and get a discussion going so it stops being an interrogation of you.

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By marco75
15th Oct 2020 10:39

@DaintyDee:

You mentioned that you're looking for a FD role in not for profit so I'd suggest that you think about the following:
1) Reading the organisation's annual report and having a think about the specific sector that they operate. For example an arts organisation will have different funding issues to a not for profit organisation which provides care for people in a care home funded by a local authority.
2) Look at charity tax issues, especially VAT. If you get the job, you will be responsible for getting this right and identifying potential risks or charity tax reliefs. Few charities will have dedicated in-house tax resources who can keep on top of this for you. I'd suggest you make sure you know the VAT treatment of the various income streams that the organisation has (e.g. donations out of scope, selling Xmas cards is VAT-able, welfare services exempt etc).
3) Team building and leadership examples from your previous experience. Also examples of working with different teams apart from finance.
4) I suggest you look at the latest information of Government support schemes in case the charity needs it.
Hope this is helpful.

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