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What does it take to become a Financial Director?
You need an excellent academic background and extensive experience to become an Administrative and Financial Director (AFD). What are the best courses to follow? What kind of experience are recruiters looking for? What are the prospects for professional development? Our job description for the role of CFO tells you all you need to know.
A degree in management, finance or accounting is the minimum requirement for candidates applying for the post of Financial Director. Further specialised internships and work experience, workshops and on-job-training help you create a professional network which in return will drive your finance career.
Work/study programmes are definitely a major asset in terms of the experience and professional network afforded.
Expectations in terms of experience
A university education is far from being sufficient for obtaining the post of CFO. Prior experience of working for an accounting or audit form would seem to be indispensable. Some initial experience in more specific management control or consolidation roles is also another option. Candidates must be able to demonstrate that they have seen several major projects through to successful conclusion as proof of continuous career progression. Candidates for the post of post of AFD may also provide proof of their expertise through previous experience as head of management control, financial controller, an experienced manager within an audit firm or accounting director.
After a number of years in post, a CFO can expect to move up to higher executive roles. They might obtain a role in senior management or the post of Chief Financial Officer, European or International Financial Director or another similar role. The role of AFD itself has changed over the years. Greater technical (e.g. LBO financing) and risk management (improving control and process tools) skills are required and the strategic side is more important (identifying the right circumstances for expansion). And there is no getting away from the fact that the number of international transactions has risen sharply.