PracticeAccounting FirmsView from the board: training for the top tier

View from the board: training for the top tier

From influencing stakeholders to managing client relationships, financial directors are becoming increasingly key players in shaping and driving forward their companies’ business strategies

To the modern day boardroom FD, faced with the pressures of heightened
strategic responsibility, the concept of compulsory CPD may well seem a
frustrating distraction of little practical benefit or relevance.

This perception is perhaps understandable when CPD is seen within the
constraints of technical update and the development of tactical skills and
techniques, for which someone at this level will have limited everyday use.
However, training providers have been quick to act on demand from senior finance
professionals for non-technical training and development activities, which cater
for their needs and interests.

Continuous professional development training activities have been designed
which offer FDs the chance to enhance their effectiveness at work outside of
building on technical knowledge.

Instead of approaching CPD from the standpoint of ‘what’s the least I can get
away with?’ I would encourage senior professionals to identify the range of
skills they require to perform and develop their ‘real role’ at the optimum
level. Think beyond technical training to management skills, leadership
attributes and other so-called ‘soft skills’ that can make the biggest
difference between achieving your desired outcomes and acceptable compromises at
the highest level.

For instance, do you feel that your ability to inspire and influence your
internal and external stakeholders could be improved upon? If so, then consider
attending a course with a practitioner who has practical experience in this
area. If you feel your team is not operating as productively as your business
objectives and timeline requires, then investigate management training
opportunities for top-level team leaders, covering areas such as motivation and
cascading responsibilities effectively? Maybe you’d like to develop your
networking techniques, improve your communication skills or your business
understanding.

Only you can produce this shopping list, but once you have, you might be
surprised by the breadth and quality of CPD opportunities training providers
offer to senior finance professionals, a trend which will only expand further to
reflect demand.

Si Hussain is chief executive of professional
development at BPP Professional Education

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