Building a finance team from scratch and from home: How we did it?

The world that we live in has been through many changes and challenges. The pandemic forced us to start hybrid working and to adapt to a system that we never knew how it works.

At the beginning of the journey, as much as it wasn’t alike to hold meetings on camera, and not have the personal touch, we somehow managed to go along with the rest of the world and make the most out of the circumstances.

Building a new team without clear structure is certainly not the easiest thing to do. From organizing the online interviews and getting in touch without the face-to-face meetings, to giving someone the opportunity to work for you and start doing it for months before you met them.

It was a rollercoaster; we’ve been unaware of what it would look like and what the future holds for us. I never had a huge team before, never less a huge online team. A new team needs a structure, a clear vision, transparency, and relationships building. So, in that dynamic, myself and my colleague had to train people we’ve hired online, make sure they have discipline to working from home and somehow managed to create structure for all the roles we needed to develop the strategy.

Nobody said that it will be easy, but it was worth it

The effort was very big. The challenges even bigger. Not everyone’s disciplined to work from home, and not everyone is immediately ready to give themselves into the business once they start working.

Huge part of my trainings for leadership role was the coaching of people, motivating them, having the good and the difficult conversations, giving feedback on their performance and setting up clear expectations and goals for each one of them.

Some people are like a puzzle ready to fit in their piece where’s needed, and others are just reckless.

The first ones, need direction and a little bit of micromanaging until they get familiar with the team leader’s preferences and understand the strategy. The second ones are the rule breakers, no matter what we want from them, they’re not following the strict structure, the system. They are the people who are visionary and will develop the business even further with their ideas but have trouble respecting authority.

Building a finance team for a group of company, needs understanding of the processes, passing the tribal knowledge and having the resources to hire just enough people to do what they need to do, to leverage the quality and the existing processes.

Well, as much as people wish for the perfect circumstances to create the perfect team, in business, it’s never as easy as it seems. Say we have the financial resources, however the interviews last very long because of lack of HR experience, there are no systems and core processes standardized across group of company and each team is doing their own thing, but everything at the end of the day goes back to finance and needs to be taken care of in a unified way and standardized system.

How to build a successful finance team from scratch?

It’s a huge challenge, but there are a couple of things that the leader would need to organize a successful finance team from scratch:

  • An overview of the financial statement of the group
  • Knowledge of processes and how they interact
  • To be able to have an understanding of every finance aspect
  • To find the right people
  • And to put everyone on the right spot


So, let’s say that we’ve been working in some financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting as the group management accountant. By this time we’ve already got the knowledge of operations as well as finance and we’re aware of how teams collaborate and how the process is followed-through.

Let’s also say that we’ve so far built a finance knowledge in couple of areas and that we’re able to resonate what the business needs and what are the current problems we’re facing.

Once we’re aware of the issues and problems, we need to ask ourselves, what does an opposite of this state look like? What would we want to see in finance to be satisfied and make sure we structure the goals for the year and a quarterly or monthly action plan for a consistent development that will lead us that way.

My takeaways

The nature of remote work calls for higher levels of trust and increased communication, and these teams use that use technology and team building best practices to collaborate from a distance.

As difficult as it seems, being clear and writing the plan is the first step. The second step is to find the right people and put them on the right spots and the third thing is to delegate and be clear of your expectations.

The main characteristics of successful virtual teams are trust, communication, adaptability, and engagement. They know exactly how and how much to communicate with teammates. Furthermore, these team members do not limit conversations to work topics. Great distributed teams consist of members who have solid rapport, support each other, and hold each other in high regard, even if group members have never met in person.

And finally, behind every successful online team is a skilful and savvy remote team leader.