Financial Manager Onboarding Plan: Bring out Their Best from Day One
"When a newly hired rockstar walks into your office the first day, you and your organization are on trial," explains Jeff Hyman, a leadership expert, and Forbes contributor.
So, when your new financial manager walks in—rockstar or otherwise—you want them to feel they've joined the right organization.
But company onboarding is rarely done well—Gallup has found that 88 percent of organizations don't do a great job onboarding new employees.
The best way to address this for your new financial managers is to have a comprehensive, repeatable, and effective financial manager onboarding plan.
In this article, we'll show you how.
We'll guide you through a 30-60-90-day template that will inform, motivate, and enable your new financial managers to bring their best to your organization from day 1.
✈️ Why is onboarding important for financial managers?
Financial managers are essential for your organization. No matter how good your products or services are, your organization will only succeed with proper financial management.
And with the effective onboarding of employees being more critical than ever, according to Forbes Councils Member Meighan Newhouse, you owe it to your new financial managers to give them a superior onboarding experience.
🆘 But do you still need clarification about what makes up for a superior onboarding experience? Worry not. We have compiled a list of the essential elements of positive new hire experiences.
💡 And we went a step forward, rounding up 29 proven methods to improve employee onboarding experiences.
Creating a welcoming, engaging, and motivating onboarding process will set them up for success, boosting their potential and your organization's bottom line.
📝 Financial manager onboarding 30-60-90 day plan template
Lay the foundations for the success of your new financial manager with an effective 30-60-90 day onboarding plan.
Set clear milestones and expectations to help them be effective as soon as possible.
Here's an onboarding plan framework to guide you.
Prepare for your new financial manager's arrival by completing the necessary onboarding paperwork and administrative tasks.
Onboarding documentation—Organize the paperwork that they'll need, including:
- Legal employment papers;
- Tax and compensation documents;
- Internal company documents, e.g., organizational charts, company policies and procedures, company vision statements, hybrid work arrangements, and leave entitlements;
- Role-specific information, e.g., your organization's financial tools and systems, bios of key finance personnel, professional membership support (e.g., AICPA or IMA), and regulatory registrations (e.g., SEC).
Systems and hardware—Arrange a laptop, phone, email, and access to work premises and systems:
- Accounting systems;
- Business intelligence dashboards;
- Risk management and compliance systems;
- Financial market data sources, e.g., Bloomberg and IRESS.
Team orientation—Inform colleagues about your new financial manager, schedule onboarding meetings, and encourage networking.
Public announcements—Depending on your new financial manager's seniority, consider issuing a press release in industry publications, e.g., The Accountant or The CPA Journal, and, if relevant, notify regulatory authorities (e.g., SEC).
Plan the first week—Map out your financial manager's first week to ensure a smooth process, distinguishing between company onboarding and role-specific activities.
Organize content—Collate relevant materials, including:
- An onboarding presentation to introduce your organization and colleagues
- Internal policies, systems training, and compliance procedures
- Organizational priorities and financial objectives
- Your organization's financial management framework, e.g., accounting practices, financial reporting processes, business intelligence systems, and compliance obligations
- Hand-over notes from predecessors.
Use preboarding to make an excellent first impression and welcome them.
Send a welcome package—Create enthusiasm with company merchandise or other exciting items, e.g., a desktop financial calendar or a business-motivation book.
Send a welcome message—Promote their sense of belonging by including:
- Information about your organization's vision and purpose;
- Answers to commonly asked questions;
- Copies of press releases that you've issued (if relevant)—this will validate and motivate them.
➡️ Need suggestions for welcome packages? Check out these ten welcome package ideas to impress your new hire.
Make your new financial manager's first day memorable by:
- Organizing a reception—Make them feel welcome through team introductions and connect them with an onboarding buddy.
- Setting up access—Follow up on systems and hardware preparations to ensure timely access.
- Providing an orientation—Familiarize them with your organization's mission and values, take them on a tour of the workplace (or a virtual tour for remote hires), and acquaint them with your financial management framework
Set up your new financial manager for success in their first week.
1:1 conversations—Discuss expectations, build rapport, and fill knowledge gaps.
Role clarity—Explain their responsibilities, including specific tasks, processes, and goals, including:
- Key performance metrics, e.g., working capital ratios, operating cash flows, project ROIs, inventory management, debt-to-equity ratios, and profit margins.
- Their internal and external key stakeholders.
- Their compliance and regulatory obligations.
- Your organization's finance procedures, e.g., month-end accounting, financial forecasting process, financial-year-end activities, and valuation methodologies.
- Specific KPIs, e.g., operating profit margins, working capital metrics, audit resolutions, budget variances, risk indicators, compliance obligations, project completion times, and ROIs.
- If they're managing a team, focus on the responsibilities, processes, and expectations of team leaders.
An initial assignment—Get them started on a practical project such as reviewing audit findings or scoping the financial performance of competitors.
Encourage networking—Set up meetings and in-person or virtual coffee and lunch roulettes with colleagues and stakeholders to promote engagement.
Celebrating progress—Arrange a message or meeting to highlight their early progress.
First 30 days
Beyond their first month, support your new financial manager in becoming proficient.
- Frequently check-in—Use Slack, Teams, email, or in-person meetings to guide them. Encourage them to seek guidance from their onboarding buddy.
- Check progress—Help them understand their KPIs and discuss their progress on deliverables.
- Seek feedback—Clarify their expectations, build rapport, and identify areas for improvement in the onboarding process.
➡️ Use our handy onboarding survey template for efficient and effective feedback from your new hire.
Continue supporting your new financial manager through:
- Training and conferences—Address knowledge gaps with training or attendance at industry conferences covering regulatory updates, financial reporting best practices, business intelligence use cases, etc.
- Progress reviews—Reiterate the scope and purpose of their role, review their progress, and offer guidance.
- Feedback—Give your new hire feedback to motivate them, reinforce positive behavior, and help them stay focused.
➡️ Not sure how to give feedback? Discover which type of feedback is most helpful for new hires and how to make your feedback constructive.
Your new financial manager should settle in and work independently after their first three months.
Continue to support them by:
- Promoting growth—Support their ongoing growth through continuous development and an employee development plan.
- Recognizing their contribution—Encourage them through recognition of their progress to date.
- Assessing their fit—Conduct a probation period review to evaluate their capabilities and fit with your organization.
After 90 days
Take the opportunity to review and improve your organization's onboarding process by:
- Seeking feedback about their experience through an onboarding survey.
- Monitoring onboarding metrics.
- Conducting a job satisfaction survey (or a remote work survey for remote employees).
➡️ If you need more help with onboarding, check out these practical onboarding templates.
👀 What does an effective financial manager onboarding process look like?
The benefits of proper employee onboarding include the following:
- Higher job satisfaction and retention;
- Increased productivity;
- Faster adoption of company culture;
- Higher knowledge retention;
- Better understanding of organizational priorities and procedures.
So, how can you ensure that your new financial manager enjoys an effective onboarded? By recognizing the 4 phases of onboarding and how they relate to financial manager roles.
The first phase will cover paperwork, access rights, documentation, and welcome messages.
For financial managers, include access to financial systems and organize regulatory registrations and press releases (if relevant).
The second phase addresses meet-and-greets, the office environment (physical and virtual), and introductions to company culture.
Financial managers should meet key finance stakeholders and receive a thorough briefing on your organization's financial objectives.
3. Role-specific training
The next phase is specific to your financial manager's role:
- Define clear expectations and goals, including KPIs on financial metrics, reporting processes, compliance obligations, and team management responsibilities.
- Promote hands-on familiarity with your organization's financial management systems and framework.
- Provide relevant role-specific training.
- Encourage networking and arrange an onboarding buddy.
4. Easing the transition: Ongoing development
Support career growth and development by:
- Conducting competency assessments.
- Supporting professional memberships (e.g., AICPA or IMA) and attendance at industry conferences.
- Promoting knowledge about financial compliance and regulatory developments.
It's also worth considering how long your onboarding process should take. Particularly for senior hires—while the consensus practice is for 90 days, research suggests that more extended onboarding periods are beneficial.
For senior financial manager roles, consider extending onboarding throughout their first year. A more comprehensive onboarding process will boost their engagement and productivity while giving them more time to adopt the company culture and build relationships.
➡️ Don't forget to engage your new hires—here are 11 ways to engage new employees from day one.
⚙️ Automate your financial manager onboarding process to avoid common mistakes
Automating your onboarding process will make it structured, comprehensive, and effective.
It's the easiest way to avoid the common pitfalls of onboarding, i.e., an inconsistent and inadequate process, as Jeff Hyman laments.
👀 See how our customers, Alasco and Storyblok, boosted their onboarding productivity through automation.
💡 And beyond onboarding, see how ongoing training can be efficient and effective through a standardized approach, as another of our customers, Avi Medical, has shown.
➡️ Start onboarding before day one with our easy-to-use preboarding template.
🤜🤛 Support your new hires with meetup rituals, meaningful conversations, and an onboarding buddy program.
➡️ Set up your new financial managers for success with Zavvy
At Zavvy, we know how important effective onboarding is and how to do it properly.
Your new financial managers are essential for your organization—don't disappoint them with inadequate onboarding.
Create a lasting impression with a preboarding welcome and deliver an engaging and efficient onboarding experience through innovative onboarding software.
Book a free demo to see how our automated onboarding tools will take your financial manager onboarding to the next level.