Building a Start-Up Finance Team

As the owner of a start-up you’ve managed to wear multiple hats for years. You’ve been a marketing guru, a sales professional extraordinaire and a bookkeeper. But the company has grown, and it’s obvious that you need to start building a finance team. Where should you begin?

Consider Timing
Conserving cash is always of paramount importance in a start–up. We understand. But don’t wait until payables are piling up, and creditors are knocking at your door to realize that you need to hire.

Prioritizing Positions
Assess both your short and long-term needs. Perhaps a bookkeeper, or nuts and bolts accountant, who can take on your AR/AP or day-to-day accounting duties, is all that you need. If, however, you’re thinking long-term, or your company is at a certain point, it’s likely you’ll need to hire a Controller or Director of Finance to get the organization’s reporting in check. As you continue to grow, you’ll also need proper controls and processes in place (and help with strategic planning). Ultimately, whoever you hire needs to be able to grow with the company.

Read: “Top 3 Questions for a Controller” to find someone who is both a great communicator and strategic thinker.

Weighing Experience
Is start-up experience necessary? What about specific industry experience? 

We often speak about looking beyond the exact qualifications on a person’s resume. A solid stable of transferable skills, for example, can lend themselves to a successful hire. That being said, having previous start-up experience can help. Your hire will be used to the fast-paced, nimble environment of a start-up, where people wear multiple hats and juggle like they were raised in the circus. What’s most important, however, is that you hire someone with a can-do attitude, who has demonstrated adaptability and a willingness to take on different roles within an organization.

Resource: Are you on the other side of the table and considering working for a start-up? Here’s how to spot a good one.

Contract or Permanent?
Contract roles allow you to “try before you buy” and determine if the individual is a fit for the organization. They allow you to address your immediate needs, but hire with an eye to the future. Consider bringing on a senior consultant on contract who can help set up the reporting structure and processes. Then hire a more junior permanent resource to run the accounting function moving forward. 

If, on the other hand, you need someone to carve the finance function off so you can increase your bandwidth with more operational or strategic work, a permanent resource is required. 

Read: “Interview Questions for Hiring a Contract Director of Finance” to help you hire well the first time.

Key Takeaways
Position your start-up for success by hiring the right people for your finance team. Consider both your short and long-term objectives. Prioritize positions based on need and make sure to hire someone who can handle the ever-changing demands of an entrepreneurial environment. Don’t dismiss hiring on contract to allow you to “try before you buy.” Bringing the right person on board can free up your time, allow you to do what your best that and help take your company to the next level.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.