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How to successfully build and maintain a high performing finance team

How to successfully build and maintain a high performing finance team

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Your finance team aren’t just number crunchers, and nor do they operate in isolation from the rest of the business.

If you can find the right people and work hard to maximise their productivity, you can benefit from a finance function that enhances the entire organisation. Your in-house team will become trusted advisors, who add tangible value to your business.

So, how do you start building this dream team of high-performing finance professionals?

Of course, you’ll be looking for individuals with the right qualifications, skill set and experience to excel in a finance role. But just as importantly, you should be looking for team players with exceptional communication skills and an aptitude to add value.

A compelling research study carried out by MIT a few years ago looked into what made a successful finance team. They discovered that individual talent seemed to matter far less than the strength of the team as a whole. Emotional intelligence (EQ) was found to be just as crucial as technical qualifications.

According to Professor Alex Pentland, who conducted the study: “The best way to build a great team is not to select individuals for their smarts or accomplishments but to learn how they communicate and to shape and guide the team so that it follows successful communication patterns,”

Since the study, major organisations such as National Australia Bank (NAB) have successfully adopted this strategy for finance recruitment.

Developing a strategy for exceptional performance

So, you’ve found an all-star team of experienced professionals, or bright sparks with the potential to excel within your finance team. How do you build and maintain exceptional performance?

Here are some of the most important strategic points to bear in mind:

  • Automation and super-efficient use of capacity (or outsourcing) can significantly reduce the cost of finance. In top-level companies, costs can be as much as 40% lower due to increased efficiency strategies.

  • Improving diversity in your workforce is key to bringing a richer, broader range of ideas, talent and experience to the table. To build a great team, you need people from a range of backgrounds, who think differently and can challenge each other while still working as a unit.

  • Your finance team need to feel valued, recognised and supported. Smart businesses will appreciate the vital role that all teams have to play and will implement ways of working and workplace benefits that foster wellbeing and employee engagement, whether this agile or flexible ways of working.

  • Your finance team should collaborate and integrate smoothly with other key functions such as IT and HR, to increase operational effectiveness.

  • Investing in high quality internal training is important not only for building team skills. It can also help you uncover and refine untapped talent, and mould individuals to fit the business.

  • Trust and open communication with your finance team is everything. Employees who are trusted, valued and rely on honest communication from management are more motivated, and more likely to innovate.

If you’re ready to supercharge your finance team, we’re here to help.

Get in touch with our specialist accountancy and finance recruitment team here at Sewell Wallis to start your search for talented professionals who can drive your business forward. Call us on 0113 242 1200 or email

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