Finance director vacancies are becoming increasingly difficult to fill as employers search for accountants who have the ability to act as the public face of the company, according to an executive search firm.
Russell Reynolds Associates said last week the search for accountants who have good interpersonal skills and are also good communicators, team managers and fundraisers, is getting harder.
‘It’s harder to find chief financial officers than it was ten years ago,’ said executive consultant Jeremy Rickman, ‘because of the set of skills required.’ He added that these often included communicating with investors and being the face of the company.
Gordon Grand, head of RRA’s financial officers practice said: ‘The CFO has become the face of the company and has to be willing to take the bullet if things go wrong.’
One company facing a hunt for a new FD is computer games maker Eidos.
The creators of Lara Croft last week told Accountancy Age they were searching for a replacement FD, following the departure of Jeremy Lewis in October of last year.
Eidos’ shares plunged 15% last Wednesday as it announced pre-tax losses of #13.9m and revised its expectations for the current financial year ‘downwards significantly’.
Many of the company’s games rely on Sony Playstation, which has been delayed, setting back Eidos’ new game launches and slowing sales. The company also received negative publicity as its proposed merger with French competitor Infogrames Entertainment collapsed on 9 October, 2000.
But despite these problems, Rickman believes it will not be hard for Eidos to find an FD ‘because the company is still an interesting business with great products’. He believes sales will grow again when the new Playstation is launched.