Employee Experience

New Finance Leader 90-Day Action Plan

Lara Edwards |

Having a plan for your first 90 days on the job can set you on a more solid path to success in your new finance leader role. Writing down your plan and every major step involved can help you track your progress during this busy time.

During your first few months, you’ll focus on being a great listener to understand how the business runs and learn about the individuals who run it. To get started, here’s a month-by-month look at the ground you’ll generally need to cover. You can also use our new finance leader checklist to structure your plan in more detail.

New Finance Leader Checklist

Your 30-60-90 day action plan

Month 1: Start info-gathering and learning

You just started your new role, but before you know it, you’ll be finishing your first month. Your calendar will be one of your most important tools to keep your plan on track.

First, schedule time with your manager to meet and determine how you’ll spend your first few weeks. Prioritize the items that are important to your manager, and get those on the calendar, too.

Then, find out which systems you’ll need access to, and schedule time to set up your access and learn how to use each one.

You’ll also be setting up one-on-one meetings with your direct reports, plus regular team meetings, to learn more about your team, discuss challenges, and set goals. Be sure to schedule meetings with department leaders to start building relationships and gain a better understanding of the company. For example, connecting with human resources and IT leaders can give you greater insights into the employee experience and the technology considerations of the business.

Also, be sure to block out time regularly to do industry and business research.


Month 2: Evaluate what you’ve been learning

As you enter your second month, you’re probably establishing informed opinions on what you’ve been learning about the company, its people, and your role.

Take advantage of your access to data and the numbers to complete the storylines. With this information and your additional research, you can start to identify opportunities for improvement that can maximize your impact and make a lasting difference for the business.

For example, maybe you see how updating the expense process could make a big impact on cash flow. Or maybe you can find ways to improve the accounts payable process that would also make vendors happier. It might not be time yet to act on these thoughts. But it is the ideal time to gather ideas and do some research.

Further into month two, as you continue to gain context, is a great time to continue growing relationships with other leaders in the business. Schedule check-ins to see how their projects are going. Start discussing how you can help them reach their goals and how that all fits in the larger story of the company.


Month 3: Collaborate and create your plan

In your third month, you should be starting to hit your stride in your daily work and establish a certain level of trust with your colleagues. 

You probably have a clearer idea now of which business areas or individuals need more support. This is a great month to focus on finding solutions to challenges. It’s also time to finalize your ideas on the business and develop an initial plan of actions you want to take. 

Share your plan with your manager and get their feedback. They can be a major player in bringing your plan to life—like, for example, if it includes a new process or platform to handle expense reports.

During this phase, you should also have figured out how you’d like to grow your new role and what kind of leader you hope to be.


Looking ahead

In your new role, you’ll need to quickly immerse yourself in the industry, finances, people, and company culture. Using the guidance in this article and this checklist, you can be ready to go from day one with a framework to set priorities, gain support, and use technology to make a positive impact on company operations and cash flow.

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