5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
Contact us
Suite 1, Ground Floor West,Cardinal Square,10 Nottingham Road,Derby. DE1 3QT
Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

Newly promoted for the second time to Managing Consultant, Tom Norton, has finally moved into a new home. Here at Astute we always try our best to support our team in any way we can.

From our Friday pub lunch club, to our office treat box we keep topped up, we make sure we can have fun!

But all of our team have busy lives, and ‘stuff’ happens. From the renovations for a new kitchen (Matt Morgan) to repairing garden fences after storms (Richard Bowe). We’ve allowed them to WFH and have the flexibility to do what they do best – recruitment clearly) but to also enjoy their own lives and deal with that ‘life stuff’ that sometimes gets in the way.

Back to Tom. After numerous possible homes that fell through, finally he was able to exchange – but it was all a bit short notice.

He was a bit anxious!

His saved holiday from last year technically expired with the start of a new holiday year.

He needed a week off to move in and get all the plumbing, wiring and decorating sorted.

Then there were some internet delays and problems.

So how did our owners, Sarah and Mary, help Tom out?

They allowed him to carry over the holiday from last year.

They allowed him to take a week off at very short notice to move in – with their blessing.

The result?

Tom has just moved into his fab new home and we couldnt be happier for him.

(Plus, we’re all waiting for invites to the house-warming party!)

How many interviews is the right amount of interviews to get the best candidate











“In todays’ talent starved candidate pool, how many interviews is the right amount of interviews to get the best candidate?”



Born from a genuine conversation between a senior recruiter here at Astute Recruitment with a client for a Head of Finance role we are recruiting for: –


OUR CONSULTANT: “Great I’ll get the first interviews arranged, how many interviews did you want to have in your process?



THE CLIENT: “5, is that normal?”



OUR CONSULTANT: “Typically a 2-interview stage process is the norm. 3 stages are acceptable for a CFO/ FD role, but 4 interviews is getting silly, let alone 5! The candidates won’t be available for a 5-stage process, they are already interviewing for other roles which are 2 stop processes, and they will get snapped up.”


THE CLIENT: “Oh, I see, yes I’ll speak to the Directors, and we can streamline the process to 3 as we are pretty confident with the shortlist you have provided! Thank you for the advice!”


So, we wanted to raise this question.


“In todays’ talent starved candidate pool, how many interviews is the right amount of interviews to get the best candidate?”



As a niche specialist in sourcing finance professionals, our team regularly give consultative advice around this and other recruitment issues. Why do we feel the two-interview process is best?


We give you example ‘A’.


A UK Group FD needs a senior financial reporting accountant for a permanent role. The client realises that the role profile is a difficult one – someone ACA or ACCA with original practice background who is looking for their second move from practice, already having a role in industry.

We shortlisted 2 great options and the client agrees that they would like to arrange interviews in short order. We have told them that both are in play for other roles.


The client’s process.


Initial interview consisting of a presentation around key objectives in the role and around what the candidate’s envisage their first 3 – 6 months looking like. What they plan to bring in and how they would deliver specific projects etc. The second part of the first interview will be to discuss these with the FD.


The second interview? Aiming to drill into more depth about the candidate’s vision, aspirations and attributes relevant to the role and business they are interviewing for. There would be 2+ representatives from our client and a good opportunity for open, two-way questions from the candidates and the client.


Then a decision would be made, with an initial verbal offer and a ‘meet the team’ opportunity.


Example ‘B’.


A global corporate and valued client has been looking for a qualified accountant to work in their Global Head Office. Specific criteria mean that FBP and analysis skills are essential requirements.


The client’s interview process?



After shortlisting just two exceptional applicants, a first interview was conducted with the overall line manager for the team. This detailed interview enabled the manager to ask incisive questions around the candidate’s expectations, where they wanted their career to develop and why they would be great for this role.


The second interviews, which have just been concluded, consisted of online interviews with senior stakeholders the relevant candidates would be working with should they be successful! The client’s stakeholders were able to give a ‘warts and all’ appraisal of the role, the good, the bad and the ugly if you like!


The line manager specifically wanted this honesty in the process, and we entirely agree!


Then there would be a ‘de-brief’ with the feedback discussed internally and an offer of employment to one of the candidates within 24-36 hours. As the preferred recruitment partner for our client – we are completely aligned with their process, can ensure our candidates are aware of timelines and everyone’s expectations can be fully managed.



For lower level/ more junior roles across transactional finance, swift interview processes with agreed timelines are equally important to ensure that good candidates are not lost due to quicker recruitment processes elsewhere.


Key points to take away:


  • According to a survey 62% of finance professionals say they lose interest in a jobif they don’t hear back from the employer within two weeks – or 10 business days – after the initial interview. That number jumps to 77% if there is no status update within three weeks. Our qualified recruitment team totally agrees!


  • 26% of respondents to the survey said they would leave a negative comment anonymously on review sites if they felt like they were being strung along, potentially harming the chances for the company to attract top talent down the road.


  • If a company is indecisive, it can provide a candidate with crucial insight into the company’s culture. “If the decision-making process is this difficult for the organisation – if they’re not able to pull the trigger after three or four interviews and you’ve done everything asked of you and they’re still unsure – then that’s a key indicator of what it might be like to work for that organisation and those managers,”



An often missed point in a recruitment process is that the process itself is an opportunity for the employer brand to really shine!



Not just to the successful candidate but to all candidates who are part of the process.


A good, professional recruitment process can provide a glowing image of the business and the way they conduct themselves. This can mean increased perception in the market as an employer brand of choice and can create an appetite in potential hires that they want to work for such a great company that take their employee selection process seriously.


It can also create an appetite amongst key recruitment partners whether internal recruiters, external HR professionals or specialist recruitment agencies/ consultants that this is a great company to flag to talented new applicants/ candidates.


“So, be Astute and to recruit the best

 candidate for your opportunity. 

Make your recruitment process the

 best, smoothest and most efficient it can be.”



You could be attracting an A Player of the future, even a business referral!



Our Qualified Team are happy to give confidential advice if you are a client thinking about a potential recruitment process, or if

you have any other questions around recruitment.



Our Qualified Recruitment Team: –


Andy Lilliman – Recruitment Manager

Qualified Permanent – City of London & Greater London [email protected]


Richard Bowe

Interim Qualified – East Midlands [email protected]



Tom Norton

Qualified Permanent South Derbyshire, South Notts, Staffordshire [email protected]



Harry Langridge

North Derbyshire, North Notts

[email protected]



Matthew Morgan

Nottingham City Centre and Central Notts [email protected]


 This topic is discussed in more detail with some great comments from actual people – from recruiters to real candidates – discussing their experiences: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210727-the-rise-of-never-ending-job-interviews


Other articles by Mary on career tips, business strategy, tips to recruit the right person and more are below!


How to boost your employer brand and achieve success!






How great things can happen when business people get together

Following the end of the last Peer Networks business growth hub this year, our MD Mary Maguire wanted to say a huge thank you.

Thank you to the partnership and collaboration of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and D2N2.

Thanks to Neale Lewis for leading the cohort and huge thanks to everyone in our group.

Its great to share the success of business opportunities such as this, and to show how a growth mindset can really make a difference to business owners and Entrepreneurs.

Since January 2021, a small group of business owners have laughed together, supported each other and inspired one another. The sessions have enriched their understanding of day-to-day business issues and how to solve key problems. From recruitment to HR to business strategies, they have been able to offer understanding in their specialisms, suggest solutions and brainstorm new ideas for others to take away and implement.


As the last cohort of the year has taken place – we just wanted to share how valuable, enjoyable and insightful the sessions have been. Neale Lewis is a great anchor for the group – picking relevant business topics for discussion, teasing out, and developing trains of thought amongst the group to encourage new ideas and free-flowing conversation.


Our MD Mary said that she has taken away many, many ideas over the sessions and made some great friends too along the way!

Mary had this to say;

“Sessions like these are really important as a way to build confidence amongst the SME business community across the East Midlands and nationally. I hope that these continue to inspire and encourage business professionals, MDs and entrepreneurs to make the most of the fantastic support available to them and to enable them and their teams to flourish.

My thanks go to all of these brilliant people and their businesses. Its been great to get to know you all and I hope we can get together soon for those pre-Christmas drinks! 😊”


If you would like some additional support / advice for your business you can contact Neale himself www.nealelewis.com.

Watch video testimonials from other business owners say how they have benefited from Peer Learning, click on the link below: –




You can find out how you can book onto future Peer Network Sessions on the following link: – https://www.peernetworks.co.uk/

and of course seek support from the East Midlands Chamber, Peer Networks  and D2N2.

“Strong, healthy leadership advice and support will inspire business success”




How great things can happen when business people get together

Why good recruiters are like swansGood Recruiters are like swans. Clients and candidates should experience a smooth, calm recruitment process, and not see the way our legs are kicking madly under the water! Clients do need to realise that there is a lot of work that proper professional recruiters do behind the scenes though!


Take client 1.  Long-standing, and currently we are on an exclusive recruitment campaign to hire two permanent qualified accountants and appoint for a 12 month maternity leave Qualified Accountancy role for them. Open, regular dialogue with the hiring line managers as to our headhunting progress, ongoing guidance on the salary budget, and whether the annual salary for the roles is accurate market rate to entice the ideal profile of the candidate.


This strategy of clear communication and collaborative recruitment partnership means that we can achieve near 100% CV sent to interview requested ratio.


The client knows that for every single applicant forwarded to them, our team will have already contacted and reached out to many, many more potential candidates that did not make the grade. When headhunting, we will investigate if they are looking for a role, and challenge the candidates on their aspirations, technical financial skillset for these particular finance roles and ‘team fit’ to see if they align with our client’s employee value proposition and ethics.


Our client knows that one CV in their inbox could have meant many man hours in the background, skilfully interviewing and deep diving into potential candidates’ skills, experience, and career/ life aspirations.


The result? A seamless process whereby quality interviews take place, with smooth, transparent communication and honest, constructive feedback the whole way through.


Our client benefits from one agency acting as a true ambassador for their brilliant finance teams, with a justified expectation of quality not quantity of applicant.

Our candidates benefit from a targeted search that takes their aspirations AND their accountancy skills into account.

This is a recruitment partnership that has lasted many years.


Client 2/

A qualified accountant with specific industry sector background and key system skills was urgently required. Our client needed an incredibly quick turnaround and wanted to conduct interviews and ideally offer a suitable candidate within a week. The job was taken at 2pm on a Friday.

The consultant worked hard.

Very hard.

Conversations were had with over 100 potential candidates – most calls lasting 20 minutes, up to an hour.


The result? 4 x  CVs were in our client’s inbox for Monday morning.

All were interviewed, one person was offered the role straight away with just a few days.

Scroll forward.

A friendly phone call to follow up as our bill was unpaid.


Our candidate was still in post – and very happy in the role. His boss was equally happy.

The reason for the bill not being was that they did not believe that we had ‘worked hard enough on the role. They felt that just a couple of quick calls were made and that was it so expected a reduction in our fee as a result. They had not realised all the man-hours and dedicated time sourcing and speaking to potential candidates behind the scenes.


This is why Good Recruiters are like swans.

Clients and candidates should experience a smooth, calm recruitment process, and not see the hard work going on beneath the surface.

They should understand that there is a lot of work going on out of sight, to make that process seamless and smooth.


Good employees are also S.W.A.N.s too!


The SWAN formula is an acronym created by an executive recruiter, John Swan, and is a very useful tool to improve candidate selection processes.


Four Simple Letters:  S. W. A. N.


SMART. Always look to recruit intelligent, smart people into your business/ team. But how can you measure the intelligence of a candidate? The answer is simple. Questions! Intelligent people tend to be more curious than average people.


Successful people are smart, especially when it comes to the skills and competencies required for their specific job. This is what Jim Collins meant in his business classic, Good to Great, when he wrote about “getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.” People who have a gift for their particular job tend to work faster, make fewer mistakes, and are far more productive.




WORKS HARD. When recruiting, look for people who are willing to work hard and who have backgrounds and achievements that show how they have gone the extra mile and exceeded expectations. As we emerge from the pandemic, employers need staff who don’t just work lots of hours. Instead they want employees who can work smarter and handle their workloads to deadlines. The years of presenteeism are fading away and rightly so.

People who actually want to “work hard” are more successful at their jobs. The basic rule is that “people don’t change.” A person who is unaccustomed to hard work is not suddenly going to transform under your supervision.




AMBITION. An excellent candidate is someone who wants to move ahead in life. Ambitious people are willing and eager to take additional training; they are already reading and studying and seeking opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally. They value continuous improvement and genuinely want to be the very best they can be.

This is not about only selecting candidates who want to be the FD of a Plc. It is the ambition to be the best at whatever level they are working at and the willingness to learn/ read/ train to become the best.

Candidates should be “ambitious” and able to demonstrate to you why they want this particular job.

We love this quote by Steve Miles, Vice Chairman of Heidrick & Struggles; “Don’t seek a flame-chaser, find people who are anxious to be effective and ambitious about this assignment, not some future promotion or benefit. They have to live for today in that job, not chase the flame of future possibilities.”




NICE. The likability of the candidate is a critical factor. Where this quality was once mainly prized in customer service/ public facing jobs, being ‘kind’ is a highly valued strength in people applying for all levels of employment and professions. Whether in finance, accountancy, or other professions, employers are looking for people who they can work with and who can share and believe in their team values, and who they like. Team fit is one of the most consistently important attributes that our clients are looking for.

When we say “nice,” we mean people who are cheerful, positive, easy to get along with, and supportive of others. They fit within the culture of your organisation. Their beliefs are in alignment with your values and the customers your organisation serves.

In the final analysis, your ability to pick the right people for your team is the key to motivation. You cannot hire the wrong people and then expect to motivate them to be excellent performers for your team. You need to look hard for your ‘A’ players, or use an ‘astute’ recruitment expert who can do a thorough search for you!


The saying, ‘measure twice, cut once’ is particularly true in the world of recruitment.



Other blogs you may be interested in: –


Candidate Blogs 


Client Blogs



If you would like to discuss anything regarding this article or any of our other articles, please  email [email protected]



Why no 2 days in recruitment are ever the sameRecruitment is a funny old game.

No two days are ever the same!

From arranging interviews, and sourcing jobs,

To building confidence, coaxing pre-interview nerves to stop!


Earlier today, a young chap called back

Relaying his interview feedback

He’s really keen and thanked me for the interview prep

He really wants our job and hopes he gets to the next step!


Then a qualified temp role to recruit, we needed CVs!

Onto the phones to drum up great interviewees 😊

A few calls later, we have a stellar candidate

Our client loved the profile, ‘Can they start on Monday around 8?


Then its onto reference checks,

Its important to ensure our candidate’s skills meet our client’s specs

Now to cover for a dear colleague whose very ill,

Ensuring continuity for their clients with their jobs we’re trying to fill.


Everyone is lovely and wishes our colleague all the best

So they can return soon, after having lots of rest (heart emoji)


Now its near home time for us in the office, the rest are WFH

Some are on annual leave, having a well deserved break from the phone!


Whether you’re a trainee recruiter, or a managing consultant

Recruitment is a helter-skelter, helping those needing a new move to those made redundant.

The ability to help guide those starting their finance careers

As well as to help FD’s and CFOs recruit amongst their peers


So if you’re looking for a brilliant new accountancy recruiter

Call our amazing, happy team – we really are ‘astuter’ 😊

With flexible working, and happy team vibe,

Your career in our family will really develop and thrive!



We are a multi-award winning and rapidly growing accountancy recruitment consultancy. We are recruiting for several opportunities, from Trainee Consultants to experienced Senior Consultants and Managers.



If you are looking for a genuinely original, caring, and fun team, who value integrity and honesty above all else, pop an email to Mary Maguire or Sarah Stevenson.

They will be delighted to arrange a confidential time to talk to you about what we can offer.


Remember: – 


If you need to recruit

Call our team at Astute!

Do you have FORTO fear of returning to the office


Do you have ‘FORTO’ – fear of returning to the office?


Apparently, many of us do.


A survey of 2000 UK office workers commissioned by the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) in March this year revealed 31% felt their employer was pressuring them to return leading to feelings of anxiety and stress.


IWFM’s ‘Returning to work’ research provides key insights into the thoughts, experiences, attitudes and concerns of the UK’s office workers as employers seek to establish new ways of working and wider adoption of hybrid working post-COVID-19.


Key takeaways from IWFM’s

‘Returning to the workplace’ research: –


  • The majority of UK employees expect a move to hybrid working
  • The vast majority of employees will expect a level of ‘hybrid’ working in the future – with nearly half (44%) of the workforce planning to work from the office for 3 days or fewer a week.
  • 63% of employees now believe the office to be unnecessary – a rise of a fifth since the first lockdown (51%).
  • The demand for hybrid working is particularly strong for younger staff, with two-thirds (66%) of 18-24-year-olds admitting that not being offered flexible work patterns would cause them to look for a new job.
  • More than a third (38%) of this demographic felt their employer is pressuring them to return to the office – risking losing new talent.


As Chris Moriarty, Director of Insight at the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management comments: ‘More than a year on, we continue to see employers striving to strike the right balance between remote and office working. The benefits of the office have not been forgotten, yet we continue to become accustomed and comfortable with our home working routines.


‘The truth is home versus office working should not be viewed as a binary choice between focus and connection. A true commitment to ‘hybrid working’ will give employees and employers flexibility to work in a way that is best suited to them – allowing them to reap the productivity and social benefits of both home and office working environments, how and when it best suits their needs. Employers should now make every effort to provide staff with genuine choice to perform their role wherever they feel their performance would be best supported – adapting the office space, incentives and policies to reflect the changing nature of the workspace environment.’


Over three-quarters (79%) of 18-24-year-olds believe that they will be equally as productive or more productive working from home.

This demographic is also working the most unpaid overtime from home – on average 11.6 extra hours a week – and has invested on average nearly £300 in creating a suitable working environment at home.


From speaking to all levels of accountancy and finance professionals our team has experienced most finance workers say that COVID has illustrated that most of their role can be effectively performed working from home. Finance Directors, CFOs, and Heads of Finance have said time and again that thanks to the implementation of additional technology and ‘smart working’ practices, their view is hybrid working – a blend of wfh and in the office – is here to stay.


Our view is that employers need to be flexible according to the sector of work employees are engaged in. Certain sectors – Sales, Creative/ Media, and others – need the face to face collaboration to bounce ideas off each other. Other sectors are able to be totally independent of the office environment, but for training and mental health reasons, a flexible approach is key.

Not so much cause for fear of returning to the office, more an opportunity for increased staff engagement and for managers to implement a great blend of flexibility that addresses individual’s needs and allow for continued business success.







Astute promotion for Sarah-Louise Wykes to DirectorIt is with huge pleasure that we can announce our long-serving employee, Sarah-Louise Wykes, has just been awarded a well-deserved promotion to Director! As part of the ongoing development of our recruitment team, it is crucially important to reward success and see the careers of good people in our team flourish. We have a clearly defined career structure of promotion and career development for our staff, and it is wonderful to see someone achieve so much in our team.

Sarah-Louise originally joined Astute in 2012 after a successful career as an Assistant Accountant. With her hands-on experience in accountancy, she has been able to develop excellent, long-standing relationships with clients and candidates in the local East Midlands market.

From starting as a Trainee Consultant, Sarah-Louise achieved 4 promotions. After a break to follow an opportunity to recruit finance professionals internationally, we are delighted to announce that Sarah-Louise has just been promoted to Director after resuming her career with us in 2020!

A well-deserved promotion!

Our MD Sarah Stevenson said of Sarah-Louise’s promotion: – “I recruited Sarah-Louise into my team at Astute with no prior recruitment experience, but a great grounding in accountancy and finance and lots of ambition. She has always been quick to learn, and equally keen to develop. Sarah-Louise has been and remains one of the hardest working members of my team. To be able to help her career along, and watch her thrive and become the successful business person she is today is one of the proudest moments in my career.”

Mary Maguire, MD also had this to say: – “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sarah-Louise for many years now. Recruitment is a people business and you need colleagues in your team who are great listeners, communicators, and team players. Sarah-Louise has each of these attributes in abundance. I’m thrilled and delighted to welcome Sarah-Louise onto our Board of Directors, and look forward to many more successful years working with her.”

All non-qualified, transactional finance staff, from ledger clerks to supervisors and managers, bookkeepers, assistant accountants, and aspiring part qualified accountants on a temporary, permanent, and contract basis within the East Midlands.

Email | Linkedin


What makes an exceptional finance director?The remit of a Financial Director (FD) is to direct the financial obligations, and financial reporting of a business AND help drive the company forward with the senior management team.


But that’s the easy bit. What genuine qualities lift an ordinary FD into an extraordinary Director of Finance?


This isn’t about which accountancy qualification you secured. The best, most brilliant FDs we have had the pleasure of recruiting and recruiting for, have had the full range of qualifications from CIMA, ACCA, ACA, CA, CIPFA, and QBE. The ability to pass exams, demonstrates academic rigour, but the modern FD needs much more than just letters after their name.


They need emotional and business intelligence as much as academic prowess. As the world emerges from the maelstrom of Covid into a new normal, MDs are looking for candidates who can own and understand the numbers, but who can also be intuitive to understand the power of having and keeping a resilient finance team intact.


To start with, let’s distinguish the difference between a Financial Director and a Financial Controller. The lines of duty can blur in an SME setting, but a crucial difference is an FD directs, while an FC controls the day-to-day operations of the finance function.


To effectively ‘direct’, you need to be able to command, lead, inspire. If you can’t influence people to perform their duties properly, this is a big problem.


Then we have the engagement /people bit.


You may have a great ‘number 2’ as a financial controller or finance manager, to manage staff day to day but it’s crucial you can also command the respect of the team underneath.

Don’t silo yourself but keep open lines of communication, at all levels.


A modern breakdown of the key attributes to being an exceptional FD: –



I                  Inspirational


               Emotionally intelligent


T                 Tenacious



Let’s look at these in more depth.


Decisive: – 

Decision Makers have to be able to make decisions. You’re in the wrong job as an FD, if you struggle to reach a decision, stand by it and take responsibility for the course of action you have taken. Hindsight is a great thing. There will be mistakes made. But the extraordinary FD will own their decisions and be able to deftly calculate a fresh course of direction weighing up the risks and benefits. There’s no hiding place for a great FD. You need to be seen to be a leader in your company, amongst your peers, and by your team. That’s how respect is earned.


Inspirational: – 

To inspire is to be innovative. To think “outside of the box” through your knowledge and experiences, and to be creative in your thinking. The key here is application. How you apply your experience to specific, spontaneous work and business situations. As a mindset, the exceptional FD will have the dexterity to apply their interactions to a wide spectrum of situations, encouraging, and motivating their people and peers to achieve the best possible business outcomes.


Resourceful: –

This has become an absolutely crucial attribute. More than ever, the ability to adapt to many different functions or activities, the FD may have to step into other roles e.g. Interim Managing Director/ IT Director/ HR Director. They must be commercially aware and must understand the other areas of the business such as HR, Strategic direction, and IT amongst others.


Emotional intelligence: – 

The Oxford University definition: the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

“emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success”.

People have been hugely affected by changes to their working routines. An FD needs to be more mindful than ever of the psychological and mental well-being of their team and lead their staff through the return to a new normal. An outstanding FD will be able to direct how their team(s) can be professionally steered during the transition from Lockdown to new normal.

They will also have honed great recruitment skills to select the talent they need, interview and challenge potential hires, and most importantly have a succession plan.


Collaborative: –

Collaboration at work means involving two or more people working together for a particular purpose for the benefit of the company. This means having the ethical, professional, and moral compass to know what needs to happen and how to work together, to bring the best results. Being emotionally aware of not just yourself but others at work is key. An exceptional FD will understand how to approach people at all levels and how to temper their language, tone and timbre to make the best possible collaboration work. Remote working and online meetings mean your efforts need to transfer even more clearly and effectively than in person.

Remember: Collaboration can be upwards, as well as cascading to more junior staff.

The FD needs to balance ambition with reality and needs to be the “wise counsel to the board without allowing entrepreneurial flair to become suppressed.”


Tenacious: –

Tenacity is the determination to consistently continue what you are doing. To see things through. From ensuring financial information produced stands up to scrutiny from external auditors, bank and other external, legal parties.


All stakeholders expect honesty and a “nothing to hide” attitude to be consistently delivered. The highest standards (ethics) must be maintained, the FD should be seen as the “Champion” of the organisation’s culture and ensure that good corporate governance is maintained at all times.

The exceptional FD will have this in hand.


Supportive: –

“Your support network is the solid ground from which you can propel yourself upwards” . Anna Barnes.

This is about your own support network as much as being a supportive FD.

The most successful business people will have great emotional and personal backup networks. From family, and friends to external services and people to make their personal lives run as smoothly, healthily, and efficiently as possible.

You can’t be an effective, exceptional FD if your personal life and own wellbeing are in disarray.


If you would like confidential career or employment advice around this or any other topic, please contact Mary Maguire and she will be delighted to help you or navigate you to one of our team.



Article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

What makes an exceptional finance director?

Astute Recruitment Ltd & their #miles4meals charity adventure reaches Lands EndSome numbers we’re really proud of!

  • 911 Miles

  • 21 Days

  • Over 30 companies and their teams

  • Over £500 raised

  • Four and a half weeks left!


Today, Monday 1st March, we have achieved our initial goal of walking, running, and cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End.


What an achievement!


When we launched our charity adventure for Derby City Mission to raise money for food parcels, we never in a million years thought that we would be able to get to Lands End so quickly!


A massive thank you to those who have joined us on our journey and welcome to those of you just joining us!


We look forward to finding out where we have got to next AND to discovering just how many #miles4meals we can cover from now until Easter!





Astute Recruitment's 2nd week of our #miles4meals and we have covered an incredible 564.5 miles! Astute Recruitment’s 2nd week of our #miles4meals and we have covered an incredible 564.5 miles!

An amazing effort from our wonderful team and fantastic clients, candidates, and their friends and colleagues who have joined in – a huge thank you and well done!

At this rate we will smash our target!

Last week saw us whizz past our first checkpoint and another 3! From the picturesque Scottish Highlands, past historic Edinburgh, down past Newcastle, and on into Leeds!

We are wondering where we will go from here and how many checkpoints will we hit by week 3!