The finance leader role requires a wide range of skills, knowledge, and behaviors. In transitioning from an individual contributor to manager role, finance leaders need to develop and exercise a unique set of strengths. To support finance leaders in identifying and developing finance talent, we put together this list of 7 key traits of effective finance leaders.
- Empathetic: finance leaders work closely with every department in the organization, collaborating with each team to formulate their budgets, projections, and processes. As part of this process, finance leaders leverage their active listening skills to develop deep understandings of each group’s challenges, workflows, and opportunities.
- Detailed: finance leaders operate at the lowest level of detail. For finance leaders, every decimal counts. Ensuring accuracy in financial records is a core part of the job of finance leaders, and to this end, their attention to detail is crucial.
- Analytical: finance leaders work to improve efficiency and reduce expenses within their company. To this end, they closely analyze historical data and identify opportunities for greater spend control. Finance leaders are incredibly data driven in this process, building and analyzing dashboards to draw key insights.
- Organized: finance leaders manage so many different moving parts from reporting to spend analytics to audit preparation to approval flows and more. As a result, finance leaders need to stay extremely organized with an intense focus on process and execution.
- Gritty: finance leaders encounter nature ups and downs, including more challenging macro or industry climates, unexpected expenses, and financial projection misses. Consequently, finance leaders need to be resilient, learning from obstacles and developing innovative solutions in a constantly evolving environment.
- Honest: finance leaders tell the truth about the company’s financial performance through data and reporting. To this end, they need to have a high level of integrity, being ethical and transparent even when the decision to do so is not an easy one.
- Communicative: with the metrics, finance leaders tell a story, contextualizing the data for internal and external stakeholders. Finance leaders must communicate well, blending the quantitative and qualitative worlds, triangulating between different information sources to paint the picture of the company’s history and future.