The Financial Controller is a key hire once a business starts to grow. An experienced pair of eyes on your finances could make all the difference. But that pair of eyes is quite expensive. That is, unless you hire your Financial Controller part-time. Let’s explore that option a bit of detail.
The fact is, your Financial Controllers doesn’t have to be full-time. The tasks that they perform work perfectly well for a part-time position. Great news if you’re in a position of needing someone to check your finances, but also in that position because – well – you have a limited budget.
Let’s have a look at the role of Financial Controller to assess exactly why finance roles are so perfect for flexibility, and explore whether we can apply what we’ve learned to other roles.
What does a Financial Controller do?
First of all, let’s define who we are talking about. And to do that, here are some typical responsibilities found on a Financial Controller job description:
- Oversee the day-to-day finances of the business including financial planning, budgeting and control
- Manage and improve regular finance/bookkeeping tasks such as cash flow management and invoicing
- Produce in-depth month end cash, P+L and investor reports
- Create insightful financial reports, analysis and commentary, helping to advise at board level
- Review and authorise quarterly VAT returns
In terms of soft skills, excellent organisational skills are a must, as is the confidence and competence to act swiftly and decisively.
(By the way, if you’re looking to hire senior Finance staff, we have a lot of CV templates you can tailor. Find our Financial Controller CV Template here).
Why are Financial Controllers so important?
We place a lot of professionals in senior finance roles for smaller companies, and it’s evident that these hires are the drivers of a lot of cost savings in themselves.
In short a good Financial Controller works to implement improved processes and tools to streamline a business’s day-to-day finances. Finance controllers are a fantastic asset to your business – but the best come with a commensurate price tag (and rightly so).
Hiring Challenges of a smaller start-up
Take Rise Art as an example, and let’s look at them in a bit of detail.
Rise Art is a start-up we worked with at Juggle with the mission of making fine art accessible for anyone.
Facing a rapidly increasing order volume, growing 20-30% month on month, Rise Art were too busy recording transactions to proactively act on real-time data.
They wanted to bring someone in to the core team to set up structuring and reporting, scaling with the business. Essentially, they wanted to hire an experienced finance professional with real business nous.
At the same time though, they recognised that a full-time Financial Director would be overkill, so – through Juggle, we should add – they decided to hire a Financial Controller to work with the team for 2 days a week.
What’s right for me?
In short, it completely depends on the situation! The great thing about a part-timer is you can get the quick wins you need without having to worry about committing to someone full-time. Essentially, it’s proof of concept!
What is the future of finance roles in growth companies?
Like any roles, finance roles have been significantly affected by automation. And all for the better!
There are some things that computers are simply better at, like collecting and collating large amounts of data, and spotting patterns. What to do with that information is still largely beyond machines and likely to remain so for some time, so this is where a good Financial Controller steps back in.
If a Financial Controller has been successful in the early months of their role you should find that – through a combination of smart thinking and smart automation – their traditional workload has actually diminished significantly. Enter flexible or part-time working. Not only does it allow you to hire someone with experience that may normally be outside your budget, but it also:
- Frees up financial resources for the business and
- Allows the finance professional more time for strategic analysis
All benefits. You get more out of your finance professional for less, even if they work less hours.
The benefits of hiring a Financial Controller part-time
If a Financial Controller is not working for your business every day of the week, you may find that they’re using their time to perform a similar role in other businesses. This is a net positive for a variety of reasons:
Exposure to different environments
It’s all well and good to study different models, but actually operating and improving them is the best way to learn. This professional development comes at no risk, and no cost, to your business.
More well rounded skill-set
Most Financial Controller roles will have an element of management to them, both up and down. The more people they manage – and the more diverse the group – the more rounded and developed this skill set will be.
In the past, a Financial Controller was seen very much as a full-time 9-5 role, with little opportunity to operate outside that framing. As automation increases (and as businesses embrace the greater productivity that flexible working tends to bring) we expect to see this attitude shift, with more senior Finance professionals adopting multiple part-time roles .
Who should I hire?
Professionals most successful at “flex” are those that:
1. Know to ask for what they need, and
2. Are self-managing, well organised (and need to respect organisation as a key principle), good communicators and with an eye for innovation and automation within their day-to-day processes.
Flexible professionals can’t afford to cut corners, but if a corner can be smoothed off through clever use of technology, then they’ll do so.
So, it’s really no surprise at all that the Financial Controller is a role primed for flexible or part-time working. The attributes that one needs to be a good flexible worker and a good Financial Controller are one and the same.
And remember: Much of what we’ve discussed here for Financial Controller could easily be applied to other mid or senior level finance roles. Any role that consists of an iterative series of processes – but is done efficiently enough that it doesn’t take up 40+ hours a week – could be duplicated elsewhere.
Get started with your flex culture
If you are ready to make your next hire a flexible one – be this full-time with a flexible location, or part-time at 2 – 3 days per week – let Juggle help.
Our experienced flexible hiring team can help you identify top-quality professionals with flexible working experience as well as help you identify how to improve your culture to better support flexible working.
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Or you can explore further the different ways a part-time Financial Controller can help your growth.