Nick was a successful CFO and Finance Director seeking a change. He contacted James at vfdnet in December, after finding us on Google, to enquire about joining as an associate. This was his first step toward a portfolio finance career. After working as a Finance Director for several years it was time for a change.
Why Nick wished to move into a portfolio finance career
“I was seeking more control over my work and life – choosing who to work with and having the flexibility to work when I wanted.”
Nick shares his journey from that initial point of contact to where he is now working as a successful portfolio FD, just a few months on.
What due diligence do we complete on our associates?
First of all, we take time to have a no-obligation chat to prospective associates, it can often be their first step into launching their portfolio finance career. We work collaboratively and ensure associates can work to our values. It’s important for both parties that a good fit comes first. This first meeting normally includes doing our bespoke Portfolio ReadiMap ®, a self-test diagnostic designed to help the prospective finance professional evaluate their chances of thriving in a portfolio career.
We follow a tight process and conduct checks before they can join vfdnet as an associate.
Recruiting vfdnet Associates
As with all our vfdnet associates, Nick followed our recruitment process and checks before joining vfdnet as a licensee. We explain what happens following an initial conversation with James Shand.
vfdnet five-step recruitment process:
- Meet a prospective virtual Finance Director. Either James or Carl meets with them and checks they are suitable for the role. He then obtains a second opinion within vfdnet. They also meet with them which allows us to check our views are aligned.
- Check quality threshold. We are very keen that all our FDs and FCs are current members of their professional institute. Should there ever be a complaint (we are delighted that we have never had a complaint) it would go to their institute to decide if it’s a commercial matter or a disciplinary matter and proceed accordingly. Some associates in the past have had to re-join their institute to achieve this. We insist on this.
- Carry out an identity check using secure software.
- Take up references. We don’t rely on written references but we make a point of booking a phone call/meeting and ask prescribed questions, as we want to hear honest answers.
- New associates sign up to our code of conduct and complete their paperwork and join.
With a Virtual FD or FC supplied by vfdnet, you can be confident they will be suitable, qualified and experienced for the job in hand to support the MD and guide the business.
Onboarding new associates
At vfdnet we take onboarding of associates seriously, but what do we mean by that? It’s important for potential members to get a full picture of our vfdnet brand and what joining will mean to them. Our associates are placed in positions of high levels of responsibility and work closely with MDs becoming their confidant.
As a vfdnet licensee, Nick has received mentoring from Carl and James to support his personal development as he creates his own business. All vfdnet associates have access to our solutions library, including our Readimap tools.
Nick’s experience of having vfdnet to support him as a new virtual FD:
“To have access to expert mentoring from Carl and James who have been living a portfolio career for years is invaluable. I also have peer-to-peer support from other associates, regular member meetings and access to tools that have opened up conversations with prospective clients and given me a framework to work to. I probably would have got to where I am now, but it would have taken me so much longer and this way I avoid making mistakes and get the best outcome the first time.”
Nick’s first client as a portfolio FD
Through a loyal referrer, vfdnet was introduced to a business owner who was having a bad experience with his Finance Director. The typical scenario of someone who has found themselves going from a Financial Controller position to being promoted to Finance Director role but without the business experience and insight. So they are unable to provide the management information the business needed to make commercial decisions, manage cash flow and plan for the future.
The business was going off the rails as exhibited by their profit and loss and cash flow. We introduced a business rescue Finance Director (and our newest Associate), Nick, as a perfect fit with his experience of a business turnaround and his geographic location to the business. In a matter of weeks, Nick quickly identified the business is viable – great news for the company and a relief to the business owner.
A placement so soon after joining vfdnet as an associate is not usual. The average time for a ‘client match’ is six months, but in Nick’s case, it all came together for a perfect match just 2 months after joining, a great result for the business and Nick.
Talking about his vfdnet onboarding experience Nick said:
“Stepping off the corporate wheel into running my own business and finding my own clients as a Virtual Finance Director was daunting but I knew it was the right next step for me personally. Finding such a professional and supportive group in vfdnet has been the best decision I’ve made. It’s boosted my confidence, given me a wonderful springboard to launch my portfolio finance career.”
What’s involved in a portfolio finance career?
If you’re considering following a similar journey to Nick and stepping off the corporate roundabout into a portfolio finance career find out about joining vfdnet as a Virtual Finance Director or Virtual Financial Controller. If you have some concerns or queries on your mind, arrange a no-obligation chat with James Shand.