What does a Finance Director do in Hong Kong?

By Robert Half on 27 May 2022
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

When fast-growing companies in Hong Kong realise it is time to take a more strategic approach with their finances, many decide to bring on a Finance Director (or Director of Finance) to help them set long-term business goals.

A skilled Finance Director can be a valuable asset for a start-up or another small business that is looking to expand its operations, has received an infusion of capital, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), or all of the above.

Some businesses rely on interim management consultants to handle the Finance Director role because the hiring process can take a long time in Hong Kong’s job market, where available, skilled financial talent can be hard to find.

What does a Finance Director do?

The range of responsibilities that finance directors may be asked to handle depend on the size of the company and whether it has other financial leadership in place, such as a controller.

In addition to directing an organisation’s financial policies, the Finance Director may oversee all financial functions at the company, including accounting and tax.

The Finance Director may also play a key role in financial planning that supports business growth and development in Hong Kong.

Generally, the Finance Director is expected to:

  • Oversee insurance and risk management
  • Maintain budgeting and forecasting models
  • Perform financial modelling and analysis
  • Assist with business funding decisions
  • Hire, train and retain skilled finance staff

Many finance directors also need to collaborate regularly with leaders of other functions in the company, such as human resources, legal and IT, to discuss budgeting, planning and financial strategy.

Skill sets employers seek in a Finance Director

The Finance Director is part of a company’s core management team, so candidates need to have strong leadership abilities — and ideally, some previous management experience.

Technology skills, including experience with financial systems, and analytical abilities are also necessary for this role. Many employers value previous experience in public accounting, as well.

Finance directors need strong public speaking and other communication skills, as they must be able to clearly explain financial information to management, the board of directors, investors, employees and others.

They also must have the fortitude — and diplomacy — to challenge decisions by management that may not align with current budgets, financial policies, and plans, and could put the company at risk.

As for educational requirements, most employers expect professionals applying for the Finance Director role to have a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting.

Many companies prefer to hire candidates who also have earned a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or an in-demand professional designation such as certified public accountant (CPA) or certified management accountant (CMA).

The types of certifications and other specialised knowledge that a candidate can bring to an organisation can also have an impact on the Finance Director salary they could earn.

Businesses planning for an IPO, a merger or acquisition, or some other major transaction or change event may seek directors of finance who have previous experience in these areas.

Today’s complex and ever-evolving regulatory environment is also prompting many employers to require candidates for the Finance Director position to have extensive knowledge of relevant compliance mandates.

The Finance Director salary in Hong Kong

Understanding how to manage growth today while also forecasting future financial needs is a skill that is earned over time.

That is why employers usually seek a Finance Director for their team who has at least 10 years of experience in accounting and finance.

As for the Finance Director salary, many businesses are prepared to offer competitive compensation to seasoned professionals.

According to the Hong Kong Salary Guide, finance directors who work in corporate accounting departments can expect to see a midpoint salary of HKD$789,000 in 2022.

To see more projections for the Finance Director salary as well as compensation for many other roles, access our latest Salary Guide.

Are you looking to hire a Finance Director in Hong Kong? Contact us today.

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