Forming a state-of-the-art Finance Team: it’s all about personality.

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When hiring finance staff personality is more important than experience and education.  The first you are born with, the other two you can work on.

Mark Dumon describes the 7 types of personalities which are deemed to fail in Finance.  They include the Selfish Jerk, the Doormat and the Excel Lightweight. You may be surprised to know that most accountants are in fact extroverts and not introverts. Sarah Hunter explains how in terms of Myers Briggs scores, 42% of accountants are ESTJ. (Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) I find this particularly interesting as I am ENTJ, which is near as dammit.

I, however, have my own conclusions about what personality traits are needed for a high performing finance team. Here they are.

Order obsessed.  Someone who loves order. No. Needs order. The stapler is not at a 90 degree angle to the desk and that is upsetting.  The t’s are crossed, the i’s are dotted. Seeing files in the same colour, in a row, on a shelf, without bits of paper sticking out of them brings a sigh of relief and comfort. This person is detail oriented, strives for perfection and their filing is always up to date. This person is good at excel spreadsheets and analytics work. An essential member of the finance team.

Outgoing. Approachable, fun, articulate and definitely not shy.  This person is your face of finance and your relationship builder both internally and externally. He or she gets along well with the rest of the company, can explain finance issues in a simple, non non-financial way. When they call customers to chase for money they are not shy, they are not threatening, they are just building on their existing relationships with the client. This is my ideal sales ledger persona.

Calm in a storm. Every position in finance needs this trait. This person does not get flustered when asked by a more senior member of staff for information which they need now. This person knows all too well that to overcome any challenge, a methodical approach wins every time.  With calmness brings precision, good judgement, and fewer mistakes.

The big thinker.  This is best suited for the Finance Director, or Head of Finance. He or she has all the traits listed above, but once she has the trust of her team, does not get involved in the nitty-gritty. She thinks strategically. To be able to advise management on business strategy, build three-year plans and rolling budgets, this person can switch easily between the detail and the big picture. Glass of water versus the ocean.

Team worker.  Lastly, you need to be able to work in a team.  Month-end and year-end closures don’t happen on time because of one person.  You will have a state of the art accounts department if all members of the team help each other, rely on each other and work together towards the same goals.

Want to test your personality for free in less than 5 minutes? Have a go.