How to Assess Your New Finance Manager

Hiring a finance manager is only half the battle – the other half is evaluating their performance. Here is what you should be looking for.

Love ’em or hate ’em, performance evaluations are a fact of life. From math quizzes in high school to driver’s tests and eye exams – most of us are used to being evaluated and have plenty of experience at it.

But it’s one thing to be evaluated – it’s another to be doing the evaluating. Assessing the performance of others carries with it many additional responsibilities, both to the team and your company as a whole. And the stakes are even higher when you’ve been tasked with evaluating a recent hire – like a new finance manager.

There are, of course, both formal and informal means of evaluating someone. Informally, there are a number of questions that you can use to guide your assessment. They are based on key core values that comprise an overall recipe for success. Formally, the use of a scorecard can help guide a year-end review, emphasizing objective assessment around several performance indicators. Read on below to find out how to assess your new finance manager.

“Do they meet deadlines?”

In a deadline-driven world, your new finance manager must be able to stick to schedule and deliver on time. Whether the deadlines in question have been set internally, e.g., management reports, or are externally imposed, e.g., tax returns and public documents, your new finance manager will be expected to manage their competing priorities.

A good finance manager, in sum, is someone who can multitask and hit deadlines. Figure out whether yours can do so.

It’s one thing to be evaluated – it’s another to be doing the evaluating.

“Can they think outside of the box?”

Your new finance manager must be a creative and independent thinker – someone who isn’t afraid to challenge complacent orthodoxies or upset the status quo, if it means doing things smarter and better. They have to see themselves as a partner to the business, whose job is to add value to every part of the organization.

Strong finance managers are never satisfied with existing processes and procedures; on the contrary, they are constantly looking to innovate and develop solutions that will enhance efficiency and increase profitability.

“Are they a mentor?”

Ask yourself whether your new finance manager grasps the connection between their own success and that of their team. Look for signs of a collaborative approach to problem-solving on the part of your new hire, along with a genuine desire to improve team metrics.

Strong finance managers will provide their teams with useful and constructive instruction at critical junctures, in order to yield positive results. This includes guiding the group as a whole, of course.

In a deadline-driven world, your new finance manager must be able to stick to schedule and deliver on time.

But your manager should also be active in mentoring individuals in one-on-one situations. Modelling desirable behaviour is the best way to encourage and establish the right working culture in a group – ensure that your new manager isn’t neglecting this part of their job.

Keep a scorecard

In addition to this informal laundry list of questions, you can also adopt a more formal approach to assessing your new finance manager by keeping a performance-based scorecard. The scorecard can include mutually agreed-upon objectives and deliverables that are tied to a specific timeframe (as well as, possibly, compensation for reaching these benchmarks). Shape the scorecard around the company’s strategic priorities, which should certainly include a section on team metrics. Use this tool at the annual performance review.

Grading a new finance manager on their performance can be tricky. But as long as you ask the right questions and keep score of the right metrics, you can take a good measure of their performance that will let you know whether they’re a keeper or a dud.

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!