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Accountancy Advice – How to become an FD?

Maybe you are newly qualified or you might be coming to the end of your training contract and now want to consider the next career move. Or, perhaps, you’re working towards your 5, 10 or 15-year plan. Where should you start and what are your options?

You might be enjoying the technical side but wondering if it will be difficult to move into a commercial role later in your career. Or, you might feel that the technical side is not for you and wondering how the commercial/strategic career path looks like.

Having recruited for qualified accountants in Oxfordshire for over 10 years I can say that nothing is set in stone in the early stages of your career. In today’s market, the traditional path is not necessarily the one most followed or the one you need to take. You will, however, need to take a realistic view on the skills and expertise needed to reach your long term goals.

Those who are taking a more traditional route and looking to reach FD or CFO roles will find that an early exposure to statutory/technical accounting is exceptionally useful and it is almost expected that they have done it or have a good understanding of it.

On the other hand, the commercially focused roles are preferred by those who are at the beginning of their qualified careers with Finance Analyst and Financial Business Partner roles being the most sought after.

I must admit that I have experienced challenges when working with purely commercially focused accountants who were interested in taking FD or CFO roles. This is mirrored across the businesses we work with as they are concerned that what the accountants have gained in acumen, they have lost in financial control experience.

In my experience, a good CFO/FD have a combination of both technical and commercial backgrounds. Yes, a technical capability is important but you also need to put it into context for your business which requires commerciality. The important factor is to ensure you are on track for your career goals, acquiring experience and gaining exposure that will allow you to reach your potential.

For a confidential discussion on your career path to date, options open to you and advice on accountancy positions in the Oxfordshire area, please contact