The portfolio finance director (PFD) needs to make a pragmatic difference quickly and demonstrate it. They need to be fluent and eloquent in a manner that builds confidence.
The starting point of any engagement is to build client and client stakeholder rapport, gathering the information necessary to focus on the goals for the finance function (and of course the portfolio FD) and the business, and of course the assignment. This will form part of the client service level agreement (SLA).
The PFD’s engagement continues; they must be simultaneously assessing, auditing even, the resources of the client’s organisation. This is much more than the traditional auditing us grown up accountants were taught early in our careers. Instead, we should invoke critical, but often overlooked models we were taught in business strategy – for example, the Three ‘E’s, 9 M’s or the Seven ‘S’s.
That needs to be done because the PFD must quickly engage those resources behind the goals in ways that traditional FD’s are not ordinarily developed to achieve. This includes coaching and motivating client staff behind the plan which needs to be implemented. The PFD needs to be a project manager too.
This means the PFD needs superior interpersonal skills that are empathic with but have high expectations on their client’s staff.
Finally, the PDF needs to have the courage to step back, survey their impact and report the ROI of their efforts to the client CEO.
Effective PDF’s are highly evolved individuals and developed professionals with a structured approach to client management. I term my process RIGAARIS.