I have just downloaded an interesting report from Pegasus (the IT systems people) on the pressures facing a Finance Director (FD) in small and medium sized businesses which outline how an FD can help their business.
A quick summary
- SMEs are very important for the economy
- The burden of regulation compliance falls heavily on smaller businesses
- The economy is turning nasty
It then gives the five steps you should expect from your Finance Director:
- Be regulation savvy - personally I hate compliance issues that get in the way of business but your FD is probably best suited to monitor what is happening and to make sure that you have the right compliance systems in place. It is an important element in managing risks.
- Count the cash - absolutely critical and a core responsibility of your finance director is to make sure you have the cash available for your business over the foreseeable future or to make sure that you focus on what's needed to generate extra cash.
- Delight your customers - perhaps not an obvious responsibility of an FD but customer satisfaction is central to many profit building strategies and is why I only focus on customer focused entrepreneurs. Anything else is making business even tougher for yourself.
- Keep costs low and productivity high - focus on costs is a traditional responsibility of your Finance Director. I believe everyone should understand the importance of keeping costs low and eliminating waste but it is often the FD who drives cost reduction strategies.
- Innovate to grow faster - probably the most contentious of the issues on the list since I suspect few business people connect Finance Directors with innovation. But remember innovation does not have to be a big, new technical breakthrough. Huge gains can be made through focus on continuous process improvement and the FD is in a great position to help you.
You can download the report from Pegasus Software
If you are too small to have your own full time finance director, more qualified accountants with years of senior management experience in industry and commerce offer a part time Finance Director service working with a small number of clients.