Finance director

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Andrew Turner is the finance director of one of the largest building contractors in Northern Ireland. The company has worked on the construction of major new developments such as the Waterfront Hall and Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

What does your job as a finance director involve?

I am responsible for all aspect of financial management and work closely with our managing director to drive the business forward. I'm involved in the overview and planning of our company's activities, as well as managing the business and its finance.

Our finance team consists of seven people altogether, working on the purchase and sales ledgers, income into the company and payments out, invoicing clients, credit control and staff payroll.

Being company secretary is part of my job too, which means I'm responsible for making sure we comply with company law.

Do you have regular routines to follow?

There are regular deadlines for the finance team to meet – for invoicing, paying staff and reporting on the financial situation of the company, for example. The majority of this work is done on computer, with standard spreadsheets and financial reports to complete on a regular basis. I have overall responsibility for making sure these activities all run regularly and smoothly.

Outside the regular work, I prepare financial reports and forecasts on likely profit as required by the managing director and board, make sure money is invested wisely and liaise with outside companies – for example, the people who audit our annual accounts.

What skills and qualities are important for a finance director?

Good communication skills are necessary to interact well with people working at all levels throughout the company, as well as outside contacts and customers. Accuracy and attention to detail are vital in this sort of work too.

How do you update your skills?

I have to be up-to-date with current company law and accounting standards. Sometimes I go on relevant training courses to help with this, but always read the financial journals and websites for the latest news, especially relating to companies who are in a similar line of business to us.

What are your main challenges?

The greatest challenge is being actively involved in ensuring the ongoing success of the company. It's good to be involved in the planning and key decisions that are made about future activities and projects.

I work in a highly pressurised environment with constant deadlines to meet. I'm very involved in my job, so it's also a challenge to try and switch off from it and not think about it too much when I'm at home!

Do you have any plans for the future?

I'm in the job now that I wanted to get to, so am quite content at present to continue here and consolidate my position, while moving forward with the company at the same time.

Andrew's route to his job as a finance director

  • BSc (Hons) in Accounting.
  • Four years in a textile company, doing wages and purchases/sales ledger work.
  • CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualification.
  • Became finance director designate.
  • Finance director

Andrew's finance director tips

  • Finance is competitive work, so a degree is important.
  • Read the financial pages of your newspaper to get to know about stocks and shares, what industries/companies are involved in and any current issues.
  • Be prepared to work hard.

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Salary of a finance director

  • A newly qualified accountant usually earns between £17,000 and £24,000.
  • With experience and/or promotion to management level, salaries can rise to between £28,000 and £35,000.
  • A financial director can earn from £40,000 to £70,000 or more, depending on the type, size and location of their company.

How to become a finance director

  • Some financial directors work their way up to this position in their company, from a supervisory/management role, and then gain promotion to director level.
  • Having a degree can lead to entry into the profession at a higher level and some companies run graduate trainee schemes.
  • Useful degree subject include finance, accounting or business studies.
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) offers a professional qualification in financial management to people in employment who are working their way up in the profession.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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