The life of an FD: Exciting or Terrifying?
Updated: Jun 13
I remember my first day as an FD. Excited and terrified all at once.
Can I do it?
Of course I can.
What if I can't?
A constant debate.
My self-belief conquered my self-doubt. But there was still self-doubt.
Within a couple of months, I attended my first board meeting. I didn't circulate year-end numbers. They were nonsense. There was no data integrity. I didn't see the point. I came under fire - one of them told me that my behaviour was a joke. I stuck to my line about data integrity and making a call.
I knew very little about reporting to a board. I was unprepared. After the meeting, a couple of the board members told me that what I had said made sense. I was stunned. Why not say that during the meeting? One went as far as to say that I was the first FD to speak sense. And went on to warn me that I had a tough job ahead and to watch out for my qualifications.
I remember alarm bells going off and maybe it was only then that the enormity of what I had taken on came to light. On top of data integrity issues, there were cash-flow issues, an under-resourced finance dept, funder reporting backlogs and more.
I turned things around. It took time and so much out of me.
So often finance leaders are expected to tick the boxes at board meetings or to do things the way they have always been done. But to have real influence and shape strategy we need to find the courage to challenge constructively.
Does this sound like you? I can help you to avoid the same mistakes I made.