Do you have the right finance team to support your business?

Do you have the right finance team to support your business? - Kevin Appleby

Are you starting to plan for 2024 and beyond? Setting objectives for yourself and your team?

Before you get to individual objectives, you must ask whether you have the right team to support the business. Do you have the correct number of people, and do those people have the right skills and competencies?

Things can get out of line, mainly when the business grows fast. The finance team rarely grows at the same rate. The business requirements change, too, impacting the skills your team needs.

Finance is changing, too. Finance transformation is everywhere you look. Automation and AI are driving massive change. According to ex Microsoft FD Oliver Deacon “60% of finance jobs today will not exist in 10 years’ time BUT only 1 in 10 of those impacted are currently aware of this. The overall number may not decrease, but the roles and work will evolve significantly. The skills required will be different to those needed today.”

So, what will you need to support your business?

There’s a five-step process to consider:

1) Understand the business strategy and needs – Where is the business headed in the next three years? Think of size and complexity; this will indicate what you need to support. While I previously mentioned a 10-year horizon, in practice, this is too far away for practical planning purposes.

2) Benchmark the finance function sizeThe GrowCFO Size of a Finance Team report can give you an excellent framework to estimate the overall team size you need. This will be driven by the business size and complexity you identified in Step 1. This table is extracted from the report.

Average finance team size

To determine whether low, medium or high is the right band for you comes down to the complexity of the business

3) Map roles and responsibilities – It’s essential to document the day-to-day responsibilities and project work to understand capacity and skills needs. Ensure you account for project work if you intend to run any major finance transformations.

Where will the business require more support? The new world order will require more strategic and analytical skills and less operational and transactional skills.

4) Assess existing team members – The process will start to reveal gaps in your team. You may need to recruit, but you likely need to upskill your existing people. Tools like the GrowCFO competency frameworks can provide insight into individuals’ skills and development areas to identify potential versus future needs.

The original CFO Competency framework has been augmented with similar frameworks for Finance transformation, FP&A, finance business partners, and controllers.

You can use these frameworks to assess your entire team, identify development needs and create the training plan for 2024.

5) Evaluate team dynamics – You can size the team right and improve the skills mix, but that won’t give you everything you need. Team dynamics are important too. This starts with having shared values and a strong culture.

Making the assessment work in practice

Catherine Marks joined me on the #growcfoshow to explain how she used a very similar process to assess her finance team at Depop. Catherine discusses the practicalities of carrying out the assessment and then implementing the changes she identified necessary. You can listen to the episode here

Catherine is joining me in the classroom in January as we run a quest for GrowCFO members that will lead them through a step-by-step finance team assessment. You can book your place now.


As you begin to plan for 2024 and beyond, assessing whether you have the right team to support your business objectives is crucial. Evaluating your team’s size, skills, and competencies is essential, particularly in the face of fast-growing businesses and evolving finance functions.

By following this five-step process, you can ensure your team is well-equipped to support your business goals and navigate the changing finance landscape. This proactive approach will help you adapt to future challenges and seize opportunities for growth and innovation.

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