What Does It Take To Be A Finance Leader

In professions like Finance one thing you know is this.

The only way to progress beyond a certain level, financially and otherwise is take the step up to leading.

Of course not every technically brilliant accountant can become an effective leader in Finance.

Equally there’s no checklist which if you follow will ensure that you become an effective leader.

There’s also the problem of different schools of thought as to what it takes to be a leader in finance.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers either.

What I offer is my perspective.

A Level of Self Confidence

You are probably really confident in the areas where you are an expert.

Those areas where you aren’t the expert can be a challenge.

Having the confidence to speak up, offer your view or even say you don’t know or need help is important.

Good Personal Insight

You are talented without a doubt.

Equally you won’t be great at everything.

Being aware of your strengths and area of struggle matter.

Not just for development purposes but for building your team, hiring and making sure that you play to your strengths.

Recognition You Are Surrounded By Good People

This is particularly true if working in a larger organisation.

Recognising that you have good people around you is a key building block to getting the best from your team.

Saying What Needs To Be Said

Is this easy?

Not always.

But what you have to understand is that sometimes difficult messages need to be delivered.

Even when others might not want to hear them.


By that I mean being able to see things through the lens of others.

To understand and appreciate why people might see things differently to you.

Honesty and Integrity

This should be the easiest one to honour as it’s part and parcel of being a professional and bound by a code of ethics.

Personal Resilience

You will encounter setbacks.

You will encounter resistance.

You may even find that you are asked to present a rosier picture than is reality.

All of these require personal resilience.


Some things matter more than others.

Sometimes you may have to support decisions because of the wider commercial benefit.

This requires judgement on your part.


Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Change often takes longer than you expected.

Realism might be seen as being too soft a touch.

On the other hand it will show you aren’t out of touch.


By this I mean acceptance of what you can and can’t influence and control.

So that’s my thoughts.  What might you add based on your own experiences?

Are you a leader in Finance.  Take this quick assessment to find out.


About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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