Start a New Job in a Finance Manager Position: First 90 Days
The first 90 days of any job can be a challenging time as you adjust to new working environments and expectations. As a new finance manager, you'll be expected to hit the ground running with your projects and initiatives.
However, it's important that you have time to learn about your team's workflows before jumping into them – especially if they are different from what you're used to.
In this article, we discuss how best to approach your first 90 days as a finance manager so that you set yourself up for success in this exciting new role.
We'll be covering:
- How to Understand Your Team's Workflows & Culture
- Steps to Establish Yourself with the Key Stakeholders
- Jumpstart Your Role in Ongoing Projects: A Quick Guide
- Equip Yourself with the Right Tools for the Job
- How to Perfect Your Skills with Practice
- Starting a New Job in a Finance Manager Position: Final Thoughts
How to Understand Your Team's Workflows & Culture
Starting a new job can be both exciting and overwhelming.
To seamlessly integrate and make a positive impact, it's crucial to grasp the nuances of your team's workflows, processes, and culture. Not only does this demonstrate your commitment to the organisation's ongoing initiatives, but it also positions you as a proactive team player.
Here are action steps to understand your team better:
1. Understand the Team's Workflows
Engage in shadowing: Spend a day with a team member to observe how they execute their tasks. This hands-on approach will give you insights that mere explanations might miss.
System audit: Identify the systems in place. Are they intuitive? If not, why?
Problem-solving: If there are issues with the current systems, brainstorm solutions. Initiate discussions on how you can contribute to resolving them.
2. Understand the Team's Processes
Project mapping: Trace the journey of a project from inception to completion. Visual aids like flowcharts can be beneficial.
Identify bottlenecks: Are there stages where delays consistently occur? If so, why? Engage in cross-departmental dialogues if delays stem from external factors.
Continuous improvement: After identifying challenges, collaborate with the team to devise strategies to prevent recurrence in future projects.
3. Understand the Team's Culture
Value reflection: Understand and align with the team's core values. This is the foundation of every action and decision.
Open communication: Initiate conversations about what it means to excel in the team. Understand the expectations and the benchmarks of success.
Collaborative problem-solving: If there are areas of friction, such as communication gaps or workload disparities, address them head-on. Organise team-building activities or workshops to strengthen bonds and improve collaboration.
Pro Tip: Regularly set aside time for reflection on your integration journey. By periodically assessing your understanding and alignment with the team's workflows, processes, and culture, you can identify areas for deeper exploration and ensure you're consistently moving in the right direction.
Steps to Establish Yourself with the Key Stakeholders
Stepping into the role of a finance manager? It's crucial to not only manage numbers but also relationships.
Key stakeholders are the pillars of your organisation, often seasoned professionals who command respect and influence. While they might not be in your direct reporting line, their perspectives can shape your early experiences and successes.
Here's a step-by-step guide to engage effectively with stakeholders:
1. Identify the Key Players
Research: Understand the organisational structure. Who are the decision-makers? Who influences opinions?
Seek guidance: Ask colleagues or mentors about the stakeholders' preferences, communication styles, and priorities.
2. Introduce Yourself Proactively
Schedule meetings: Don't wait for introductions. Set up one-on-one meetings to discuss your role, understand their expectations, and gather feedback.
Craft a compelling narrative: When introducing yourself, highlight your experience, vision for the role, and how you plan to contribute to the organisation's goals.
3. Showcase Your Work
Regular reports: Ensure stakeholders receive periodic reports detailing your team's performance, achievements, and challenges.
Visual presentations: Use charts, graphs, and infographics to make complex financial data more digestible and engaging.
4. Maintain Open Communication
Update regularly: Don't just communicate when there's a problem. Share wins, progress, and even minor updates to keep stakeholders in the loop.
Seek feedback: Regularly ask for their insights or concerns regarding your department's work. This not only keeps them engaged but also helps you refine your strategies.
5. Build Trust
Deliver on promises: Ensure that any commitments or targets you set are met consistently.
Be transparent: If challenges arise, communicate them early, along with potential solutions.
Pro Tip: Leverage informal settings, such as coffee breaks or team lunches, to foster genuine relationships with stakeholders. These relaxed environments often lead to candid conversations, providing insights beyond formal meetings and helping you understand the nuances of their expectations and the organisation's dynamics.
Jumpstart Your Role in Ongoing Projects: A Quick Guide
To hit the ground running, it's essential to have a comprehensive understanding of ongoing projects and initiatives.
Follow this action plan to ensure a smooth transition:
1. Dive Deep into Past Records
Document review: Go through project files, emails, and notes left by your predecessor. This will give you a clear picture of the project's history and trajectory.
Status check: Identify the current stage of each project. What milestones have been achieved? What are the pending tasks?
2. Understand the Project's Core
Goal assessment: Clearly define the objectives of the project. What is the desired outcome?
Budget analysis: Review the financial aspects. Are there any cost overruns? If so, identify the reasons and potential solutions.
3. Metrics & Performance Indicators
KPI review: Familiarise yourself with the key performance indicators set for the project. How is success being measured?
Feedback loop: Establish a system for regular updates on these metrics. This will help in timely course corrections if needed.
4. Connect with the Team
Meet and greet: Schedule one-on-one sessions with team members involved in the project. Understand their roles, challenges, and expectations.
Stakeholder insights: Engage with stakeholders to gauge their sentiments about the project. Are they satisfied with the progress? What are their concerns?
5. Set the Path Forward
Action plan: Based on your findings, draft a clear action plan for the next steps. This should include timelines, responsibilities, and contingency plans.
Regular check-ins: Establish a routine for project updates. This ensures everyone is aligned and any issues are addressed promptly.
Pro Tip: While understanding the past and present of a project is crucial, always keep an eye on the future. Anticipate potential roadblocks and proactively brainstorm solutions, positioning yourself not just as a manager, but as a forward-thinking leader ready for any challenge.
Equip Yourself with the Right Tools for the Job
The financial landscape is evolving rapidly. Traditional methods, while foundational, are no longer sufficient on their own.
To stay ahead, integrating digital tools into your workflow is essential. They not only streamline tasks but also provide real-time insights, ensuring you're always a step ahead in your decision-making.
One of the most time-consuming tasks for any finance manager is tracking and managing expenses.
This is where ExpenseIn comes into play.
As a cloud-based solution, it simplifies the entire expense management process. From real-time tracking to ensuring policy compliance, ExpenseIn offers a comprehensive solution, allowing you to focus on more strategic tasks.
While ExpenseIn is a game-changer for expense management, a well-rounded approach to financial management requires more. Integrating tools for invoicing, forecasting, and financial reporting can provide a holistic view of your organisation's financial health. The key is to ensure these tools work in harmony, offering you a cohesive and comprehensive financial overview.
Being a finance manager today is about merging expertise with technology. With the right tools, like ExpenseIn, at your disposal, you're not just managing finances; you're leading with vision, strategy, and innovation.
Pro Tip: Periodically review and assess the effectiveness of your tools. The tech landscape is always changing, and what's cutting-edge today might be outdated tomorrow. By staying updated on the latest advancements, you ensure that your financial toolkit remains robust and relevant, empowering you to deliver optimal results.
How to Perfect Your Skills with Practice
Embarking on your journey as a new finance manager can feel like a whirlwind of responsibilities and learning curves. While the initial 90 days are pivotal, remember that business growth is a process.
Here's a structured approach to help you transition smoothly and effectively into your new role:
1. Prioritise & Plan
Weekly goals: Break down your responsibilities into weekly objectives. This makes the tasks more manageable and gives you a clear direction.
Daily reflections: At the end of each day, take a few minutes to assess what went well and where you faced challenges. This daily introspection can guide your actions for the next day.
2. Embrace Continuous Learning
Ask proactively: If you're unsure about something, seek clarity. It's better to ask questions early on than to make uninformed decisions.
Resource utilisation: Leverage company resources, be it training modules, mentorship programs, or knowledge-sharing sessions. These can provide invaluable insights into your role and the company culture.
3. Dedicate Time for Self-Improvement
Skill enhancement: Identify areas where you feel you could improve and consider online courses or workshops. For instance, if you're using a new software tool, look for tutorials or user forums.
Feedback loop: Regularly seek feedback from peers, subordinates, and superiors. Constructive feedback can be a goldmine for personal and professional growth.
4. Build Relationships
Network internally: Engage with colleagues from various departments. Understanding their roles and challenges can provide a holistic view of the company's operations and foster collaboration.
Mentorship: If possible, find a mentor within the organisation. Their experience and guidance can be instrumental in navigating the initial challenges.
Pro Tip: Always maintain a balance between absorbing new information and applying it. As you navigate your role, regularly set aside moments to implement what you've learned, turning knowledge into actionable insights and fostering tangible growth.
Starting a New Job in a Finance Manager Position: Final Thoughts
Stepping into the role of a finance manager is both a challenge and an opportunity. While the influx of new information can be daunting, remember that growth often comes from discomfort.
Approach each task methodically, seek clarity when in doubt, and trust that with time and effort, you'll not only adapt but excel.
Your journey as a finance manager is not just about mastering the role, but about the impact and legacy you'll create along the way.
Ready to streamline your financial management journey? Book a demo with ExpenseIn today and discover the difference the right tool can make.