Modern Finance Team Structure: Best Practice Guide

By Linda RoperNovember 16, 2022
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A well-structured and efficient finance team is critical for any business, no matter the size.

But what does a modern finance team structure actually look like? And how do you go about hiring for one? 4 Finance team members looking at a laptop In this article, we'll take a look at the different positions held within a corporate finance team structure and provide some tips on how to hire for optimal performance.

The Main Purpose of a Finance Department

At its core, the main purpose of a finance department is to provide financial support and guidance for the rest of the business. This includes tasks such as managing budgets, overseeing payroll, calculating taxes, analysing financial performance, and more. The finance team will typically be comprised of a number of different positions, such as the Finance Manager, the Payroll Assistant, and others.

At a top level, the finance department will help guide the business to make data-driven financial decisions that are in the best interests of the company as a whole. However, this key part of your company can also save you precious time by handling bookkeeping, month-end reports and forecasts, and keeping your senior staff informed on where money is being spent and where investments can increase, or savings can be made.

Key Responsibilities of a Finance Team

While we've just mentioned a couple of the roles a finance department can take on, let's dig a little deeper to understand the full range of responsibilities held by this specific team.

4 Finance team members looking at a whiteboard to discuss responsibilitiesSome of the main responsibilities of a finance team include the following:

  • Analysing performance metrics and creating real-time reports on business efficiency to share with the rest of the company

  • Helping to create and manage business budgets, including forecasting future income and expenses and tracking actual performance against these.

  • Managing payroll and ensuring compliance with labour laws, including tax filings and other payments.

  • Performing risk assessments on areas such as credit control, business continuity plans and legal issues that could impact the business.

As you can see, there are a wide range of roles and responsibilities that fall under the umbrella of finance. Managing such a large and complex department takes experienced leadership and careful planning, but when done effectively, this department can have a significant impact on the success and profitability of your business.

But the performance of this department really relies heavily on the corporate finance team structure. This is because each member of the team brings to the table a unique set of skills and will specialise in one area of finance.

For instance, the Finance Manager will usually have a more in-depth knowledge of financial reporting and analysis, while the Payroll Assistant is more likely to be an expert on payroll functions.

So how do you go about structuring your finance department to ensure optimal performance?

Here are some best practices for building your corporate finance team structure:

  1. Look for a varied team

  2. Bring in outside experts

  3. Prioritise team relations

1. Look for a Varied Team

Depending on the size of the company and budget, a best practice is to look for team members with a range of different skills and expertise rather than trying to find one "all-around" finance guru.

When you consider that 'diversity can be a source of creativity, innovation, and problem-solving', the importance of hiring a varied team is emphasised.

This will allow each member of the team to focus on the areas they are most skilled in, while also providing flexibility if other roles need to be filled in the future.

2. Bring in Outside Experts

The next best practice is to consider bringing in outside experts for certain roles, such as accountants or auditors.

This can be a great option if your business is growing quickly and needs the expertise of someone with more experience in specific areas of financial management.

3. Prioritise Team Relations

Work on building strong relationships between team members so that they have each other's backs and can help share ideas and provide support when needed.

Now let's talk about the individual roles and how to hire a comprehensive modern finance team for your company.

Different Roles within a Modern Finance Team Structure

When it comes to modern finance team structure best practices, there are a few key roles that most finance teams will hold.

Wooden blocks with people printed on them and stacked on top of each other to represent a finance department's structureThese can include, but are not limited to:

Finance Manager

A Finance Manager is typically the top job in the department and requires someone with strong leadership skills, as well as financial expertise and experience. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire multiple Finance Managers who will each oversee different areas of the finance team's operations.

Financial Controller

This is a mid-level position that will be responsible for overseeing many of the day-to-day financial tasks and reporting functions within the department.

Learn all about how a financial controller contributes to corporate strategy here.

Payroll Assistant

As you might expect, this role is focused on ensuring accurate payroll processing and compliance with labour laws.

Accountant

This is someone who can perform in-depth financial analysis and provide strategic insights on areas such as budgeting, forecasting, and risk management.

When hiring staff for your finance team, it's essential to look for candidates with strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and a solid understanding of accounting and financial reporting principles.

Beyond these core skills, you may also want to consider candidates with expertise in other areas, such as risk management, business continuity planning, or legal compliance. And above all else, it's vital to prioritise communication skills so that your finance team members can effectively collaborate and work together towards common goals.

Hiring for a Finance Department Best Practices

Hiring for a modern finance department can feel overwhelming at first, but by breaking down the process into a few best practices, you can streamline your search and find the right candidates for your business. Man shaking hand with woman at the end of successful interview for Finance roleHere are some tips to help guide you through the onboarding process for new finance team members:

1. Define what Skills & Expertise You're Looking For

Define exactly what type of skills and expertise you are looking for in each role. This will make it easier to identify potential candidates with the right qualifications, as well as, there are several key steps that you should follow in order to ensure success.

2. Clearly Outline the Position & Responsibilities

Start with a job posting that clearly outlines the position and responsibilities, as well as any additional requirements or qualifications. This will help to attract suitable candidates and weed out those who might not be a good fit for your team.

3. Screen Resumes

Next, you will need to screen resumes and cover letters thoroughly, looking for relevant experience, relevant education or training, and skills that match the position requirements.

4. Set up Interviews

Once you have a list of promising candidates, set up interviews to assess their technical skills and overall fit for the role.

5. Check References Thoroughly

Finally, be sure to check references thoroughly and take steps to verify any credentials or certifications that are required for the job. This can help give you confidence in your final hiring decision and ensure a successful integration of your new team members into the finance department.

You can also optimise your recruitment success by reading our latest article on: How to Hire A New Finance Team Member - 6 Mistakes To Avoid

With these tips in mind, you can feel confident about building a high-performing finance team that will help your business thrive for years to come.

By focusing on strong collaboration, open communication, and relationship-building within the department, you can create a positive work environment that will attract and retain top talent for your organisation.