This site uses cookies. If you continue you consent to this but you may change your cookie settings at any time by following this link.

DNA of a Finance Director
What does it take to succeed?


We asked over 800 financial directors across the UK what makes them tick and how they got to where they are today. What qualifications and experience is required? How important is commercial awareness? Top tips for the next generation and what Finance Directors do in their spare time.



Key findings:

• FDs are typically men in their 40s and 50s with 64% of respondents aged between 41 and 55.

• To become an FD requires experience and hard work; 45% of FDs have more than 20 years’ experience.

75% of FDs have always worked in finance.

• Only 37% of FDs have worked outside the UK during their career, but 93% of finance directors who have worked abroad say that the experience has benefitted their career.

• FDs need commercial nous; 36% of respondents say commercial awareness is the most important attribute for an FD to have.

• FDs are active; 76% of those surveys choose to play sport or exercise in their spare time

• 58% of FDs would like to stay in their current post or take on a higher finance leadership role.

69% think the up and coming generation need to get involved with their organisation’s operational activities. 

Download your copy of the full report

In addition to our general survey, we also interviewed Financial Directors from top UK and international businesses. Read the full interviews to get an insight into what life is like at the top in the world of finance. Follow the links to the Finance Directors and companies you would most like to learn about on the left side navigation.


Caroline Hudson, Specsavers

caroline_hudson_120Caroline Hudson trained as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse. She has since worked with the University of Nottingham before joining Boots Opticians. She moved to Specsavers as Director of Retail Finance in April 2013.

Find out more

Elizabeth Lake, Hugo Boss

elizabeth_lake_120During her career, Elizabeth has worked for Superdrug, the Guardian Media Group and Marks & Spencer. She has been UK & Ireland Finance Director of Hugo Boss since 2012.

Find out more

Tony Roberts, Mercedes-Benz World

tony_roberts_120Tony joined Mercedes-Benz in 1989 and has held his current position as General Manager – Finance Controlling at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge since 2006.

Find out more

Paul Venables, Hays

paul_venables_120“Nobody’s going to hire you simply for your ability to add up the numbers. Clearly you’re responsible for all aspects of finance, but you’re here to add commercial value and support the Chief Executive in running the business”

Find out more

Get the DNA of a Finance Director report

DNA of an FD - More Highlights

DNA of a Partner

Accountancy & Finance insights