Finance Leader

Develop the skills needed to lead the finance function and prepare for future challenges. This pathway provides you with the knowledge and capabilities that will shape you into an effective finance leader for your organisation.

access 365 days' access
cpd hours 21 CPD Hours
price £330+vat €380+vat HK$3300 A$650NZ$760

Successful finance leaders combine technical mastery with a range of other skills that enable them to operate effectively and gain their colleagues’ respect. By completing this career progression pathway, you will explore these key skills, from developing your understanding of the business, through effective management and leadership, communication, emotional intelligence and resilience, to the importance of establishing your own professional credibility.

It is never too early to plan your route to CFO or partner, or to begin to work on the skills you will need to make that journey.

  • Provides a foundation in the future skillset of the CFO as identified by ACCA and IMA in "The CFO of the Future"
  • Introduces the key skills and capabilities identified in the CA ANZ "CFO Recruitment Guide"
  • Explores CGMA’s three key CFO skills: Leadership, Communication and People Management
Man at laptop

In this pathway


Supporting your journey to the next stage of your career


The tools, techniques, and skills you need to provide valuable finance leadership and insights


Learn where you want, when you want

Certificate of Achievement

21 verifiable hours of CPD, an assessment and a Certificate of Achievement

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Learning resources

Immerse yourself in the rich variety of articles, videos, activities, quizzes, discussions, and more, to develop your understanding and skills.

Expert interviews

Find out what real finance leadership looks like in the real-world from our prestigious team of experts in the areas of future finance, professional credibility, business performance, reporting to stakeholders, and digital innovation.

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Action plan

Build up a practical plan of how you will put your new skills into action, and download a convenient summary of all the learning to take away.


Achieving 75% on the multiple choice assessment is required to complete the career progression pathway. The assessment features two questions on each topic that has been covered.

Secure certification screenshot
Secure certification screenshot

Secure certification

Once you've finished the programme, you will receive a unique and secure Certificate of Achievement as evidence of your new understanding and capabilities.

This Career Progression Pathway is divided into six sections corresponding to the key finance leadership skills you will need to develop. Complete all six to unlock the end of pathway assessment and access your Certificate of Achievement.

What will it take to be a financial leader in tomorrow’s world? This first section will help you start to plan for the upcoming challenges, by focusing on the skills, practices and outlooks that are likely to be needed in the finance function moving forwards.

  1. Future finance leaders
  2. Finance function of tomorrow

To become a credible and trusted leader, you must demonstrate that you can go beyond the accounting perspective, and think in more holistic business management terms. This section considers the key role a questioning mind plays and how to align your work with wider organisational objectives.

  1. Professionalism and ethics
  2. Authority and scepticism
  3. Business insight

In difficult times, finance teams play a critical role in the survival and success of organisations, and effective and flexible leadership is increasingly important. This section explores how you can develop a resilient, creative team of finance professionals, who will support and shape the organisation's future.

  1. Managing and coaching finance people
  2. Leading the finance function
  3. Communication skills
  4. Emotional intelligence and resilience
  5. Creativity

Monitoring and measuring business performance should be an ongoing process, where strategy is set, tactics are developed and critical success factors identified and reported on. This section looks at some of the key factors involved in driving success and improvement as a finance leader.

  1. Making strategy work in the real world
  2. Flexible business planning
  3. Creating killer KPIs
  4. Monthly reports people want to read
  5. Finance data analysis

Financial reporting has always been a major aspect of the role of the finance leader. But communicating with an organisation’s various stakeholder groups now involves an increasing focus on some key non-financial factors (ESG issues). This section will help you to future proof your reporting skills.

  1. Risk and resilience
  2. Reporting on an uncertain future
  3. Non-financial reporting

This section looks ahead to some technological changes that future finance leaders should be planning for now. Most businesses are facing both opportunities and threats in this fast-paced area, and you can be proactive in managing organisational awareness of the risks and the rewards.

  1. Digital transformation in the finance function
  2. Emerging and future disruptors

Once you have completed all the elements of the pathway, you can take the assessment to access your Certificate of Achievement.


Lead Consultant

Alan Nelson

Alan Nelson

After studying economics, Alan began his career in accountancy before moving into senior management positions in the book trade. After a successful stint as CEO of Thomson Learning, a major international textbook publisher, he founded Nelson Croom, the publisher of which he has run ever since. He has been at the forefront of the developing elearning industry and his company has twice won the prestigious award for eLearning Development Company of the Year. He retains a keen interest in economics and in management skills training. He is currently Chair of ICAEW’s Practice Assurance Committee and a member of IFA’s Regulatory Committee.

Other contributing faculty

Wayne Bartlett

Wayne Bartlett

Dr Wayne Bartlett specialises in financial management and budgeting and the development of international accounting standards. He has worked as an adviser and lecturer throughout the world. Vastly experienced in the NHS and central government as well as the private sector in the UK, he has worked in over 40 countries advising both governments and businesses. Wayne specialises in particular on the development of international accounting.

Sam Ellis

Sam Ellis

Samuel Ellis is a chartered accountant with experience working in private accounting firms and a number of high growth businesses. He has spent the past six years working as Head of Finance for InterWorks, a global specialist data consulting practice. Sam was the founding Chair of the ACCA's Global Technology Forum and currently Chair of ACCA's Member Advisory Committee and a member of the ACCA's International Assembly.

Anna Faherty

Anna Faherty

Anna Faherty is a writer, editor, researcher and educator who has written extensively for accountingcpd on topics as diverse as ethics and strategy. She is an expert in the communication of complex ideas. Anna has delivered numerous workshops and webinars for ACCA and the AIA and has lectured at City University, Kingston University, Oxford Brookes University and University College London.

Yusuf Justin Holcroft

Yusuf Justin Holcroft

Yusuf Justin Holcroft is a Director of CTS Consulting and Training Specialists, a company specialised in business rescue, turnaround and expansion. He became Trade Development Manager at Coca-Cola Amatil Austria in 1996, and subsequently worked with the Iams Company and Procter & Gamble fulfilling country manager roles for Austria, Switzerland and South Africa.

Ross Maynard

Ross Maynard

Ross Maynard is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He has worked as a consultant and trainer for over 20 years, specialising in process improvement and lean for finance teams. He has presented at lean conferences in the UK, Australia, Italy and Denmark and has written many articles and blogs on process improvement.

Ben Rawal

Ben Rawal

Ben is a Director and Lead Consultant with Soft Skills, a business providing leadership development, team dynamics improvement, and emotional intelligence services for accounting and finance professionals. He is a chartered accountant (FCCA) and has an MBA from Warwick Business School.

John Taylor

John Taylor

John is a Chartered Accountant who spent many years advising small and medium-sized businesses across the North of England. He specialised in dealing with the particular problems faced by large family-owned companies. John joined Bradford College where he taught a wide range of students from diverse backgrounds and with varying levels of ability. John later joined Leeds Met University where he specialised in teaching auditing on ACCA professional courses and Forensic Accounting at Masters level. He is now a freelance author and lecturer.

Jeremy Swinfen Green

Jeremy Swinfen Green

Jeremy Swinfen Green has worked in online marketing, communication and business strategy since 1993. In 1995 he was appointed the first Digital Media Director by Aegis, the holding company of the Carat media agency group. Subsequent to that he worked as Strategic Operations Director for media owner emap digital, Managing Partner at digital consultancy iLevel Generator, Digital Director at direct response agency MC&C, and Managing Director at the user experience consultancy Amberlight. He has run Social Media Risk Consulting and its sister agency Mosoco, which provides social media marketing services, since 2013.

Lisa Weaver

Lisa Weaver

Lisa Weaver is a professionally qualified (ICAEW) lecturer with 20 years' experience of exam-based, and CPD lecturing for accounting and finance professionals. Lisa qualified with Deloitte and her clients ranged from major charities, multi-national organisations and listed companies to football clubs. Since leaving audit practice, Lisa has lectured financial reporting, audit and governance subjects, developing and delivering CPD courses for qualified accountants working in industry and in practice. Lisa has delivered courses across Europe, the Caribbean, China and South East Asia. Lisa is now a Professor in Accounting at Warwick Business School, delivering on a range of programmes including MBA. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.