The Importance of Training and Mentoring Your Financial Officers

Are your AFT departments ready to move your company to the next level?

Your Accounting, Finance and Treasury (AFT) departments play an important role that enables your company to move to the next level. The Senior Financial Officer is the cornerstone of that group. New Senior Financial Officers can be blindsided by critical business events they have never faced before. If they and their staff are not prepared to tackle these challenges, your company may stagnate, or possibly, fail. Even seasoned CFOs who have been with the same company or in the same industry for years may have blind spots that limit the company’s growth and profitability. Training and mentoring will help fill any critical gaps.

Owners, CEOs and SFOs should expect their AFT departments to:

  • Understand industry best practices for financial reporting and accounting.
  • Master the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement, including how to use these tools in forecasting and planning for your company’s future.
  • Establish other effective planning and forecasting tools.
  • Possess a broad knowledge of accounting and reporting procedures.
  • Fully understand your business, including internal cost structures.
  • Work closely with banks or investors for funding.
  • Know where to look for alternative sources of financing other than a bank.
  • Have people, processes and systems in place that support the businesses growth plans.
  • Anticipate events in the future that may hinder growth.

If your AFT department is limited in any of the above areas, you have an opportunity to make big gains by putting in place development programs to nurture your staff responsible for these areas. Here are a number of methods you can use. A combination of them may be most effective.

  • Create a mentorship program using internal or outside experts. For example, an employee with expertise in a competency the AFT lacks could become a mentor to applicable AFT staff. If communication skills are an issue, a sales person with good communication skills could be assigned as a mentor. Another rich resource for mentoring can found in the companies trusted advisors; your CPA, banker, insurance broker or other advisors. A mentorship relationship should be a transparent, goal oriented exercise with both parties having equal say in the objectives and agreement in the commitment required for success.
  • Use specific development programs that focus on the main shortcomings you have identified. Depending upon the shortcoming, community colleges, universities, vocational schools or on-line courses may offer solutions that will achieve your goal.
  • Participate in financial associations that offer networking capabilities and resources that will help the AFT overcome its shortcomings. It’s possible you have worthy associations locally. There are also global networks that offer targeted development needs to financial professionals on line.

For success, any of the methods outlined above depend on an AFT staff that recognizes their shortcomings and are willing to invest the time it takes to overcome them. If that is lacking, there are more fundamental hiring needs that need to be addressed.

Tailoring the development of your financial staff to match the needs of the company is a powerful tool to prepare your business for profitable growth.


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