As a finance executive, networking is one of the most important things you can do for both yourself and your company. It allows you to meet other people from diverse backgrounds who can expand your horizons. 

Many times, people have different ways of thinking that can lead you to recognize viewpoints that may be diverse from your own. This insight can be like a breath of fresh air. It will open your mind to things you may not have considered in the past.

Benefits of Networking

Considering different viewpoints allows executives to think about new solutions to problems in their own companies. As an example, a fellow manager at another company may describe an issue where they are struggling to obtain new customers. 

Perhaps they have decided to expand their advertising methods to capture a segment of the population that they think may be interested in their products. Your company may be experiencing a similar problem, and you may consider adopting their strategy to see if it works for you.

Networking can also help you to find a circle of similar-minded individuals interested in growing their business and finding new opportunities. You never know when someone may have a need that your company could meet or vice versa. 

Networking assists in improving communication skills. Many individuals who work in finance and accounting are natural introverts who prefer to dig into the numbers rather than meet people at a party. 

However, networking can relieve some of those communication anxieties and make you a more effective conversationalist. If you’re seeking to improve your networking skills, here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Join a Local Toastmasters Club

Toastmasters International is a great option for finance executives who are seeking to improve their public speaking, leadership, and communication skills. There are clubs available to interested individuals all over the world. 

These clubs are generally open to anyone who wants to join and are a great way to meet professionally-minded people. Plus, you’ll be given the opportunity to improve your communication skills — skills that are vital for any finance executive!

2. Seek out Local Professional Meetups

Meetup is a connectivity application that allows people to join local groups or events that interest them. Groups are established for a variety of purposes, including meeting new friends, career networking, or bringing together people seeking to learn more about a topic. 

Checking out Meetups in your area can lead to a wealth of networking opportunities. In addition, you can learn new things, especially if you choose groups that are topic-oriented. 

3. Volunteer

Volunteering for a local cause that you feel strongly about is another way to network. It’s also a great way to further develop leadership skills. Many times, volunteer organizations appreciate when finance executives join because they can assist the group with managing funds. 

There are many finance executives who volunteer in a treasurer or financial management capacity for groups that they believe in. This work allows the executive to support their local community while also meeting people who are interested in the same cause that they are.

4. Join a Finance-Focused Networking Group

There are a number of finance networking groups that you can join to meet other individuals who work in the same field as you. A few of these include The Controllers Council, Financial Executives International, the CFO Leadership Council, and the Association for Financial Professionals. 

People who perform similar functions to you at other companies may introduce you to different financial concepts you had not considered in the past. Plus, finance-focused groups can be a great way to find out about job openings that may be a good fit for you. 

5. Join an Executive Group

The Private Directors Association and Vistage are groups established specifically for executives or people with an executive mindset. 

The Private Directors Association was created to coach executive board members (or those interested in working for a company board) to understand rules of board governance and how to make strategic business decisions. Over 3,000 current and future board members belong to the organization. 

Vistage is an international executive coaching organization created to help business owners and executives solve tough challenges and seek new opportunities. They offer a comprehensive approach designed to coach executives and provide peer advisory assistance.

6. Become an Expert on a Financial Subject

As you solidify your career skills, it’s quite common to become an expert on a particular topic. Continue to grow your mastery over the subject by pursuing additional education or certifications related to it. Pay attention to conferences, webinars, or professional groups that are related to your subject. 

If there are upcoming events that relate to your topic, offer to provide your services as a speaker. This work is a great way to establish yourself as an expert on an issue and meet people who may need your services!

Grow Your Network in Our Community

Controllers Council is a national community and platform of Controllers, Accounting and Finance professionals focused on accounting best practices, information and resources, recognition and networking. Membership has many features and benefits to propel your career and expertise, and to be an active participant in our exciting community. The Controllers Council Forum allows members to pose questions about advancing your career and other topics. Become a member today.

Meet the CFO - Interview Series - Shannon NashWebinar Thursday, September 29

The next interview in the series features Shannon Nash, CFO of Wing, the drone delivery unit of Google parent company Alphabet. Shannon is a CPA, and a recovering attorney with a JD.