Who do I need on my Finance Team?

As every football manager knows, a successful team needs players with a variety of skill sets, some more specialist, like goalkeeper, and others more flexible such as wingbacks and the false 9.


Which positions do you need to strengthen in YOUR Finance Team?

From getting the basics right with VAT and payroll, to decision support and having a dedicated finance wingman, each member of the finance team contributes a unique skillset to support the growth of your company while working with your team to manage the financial health and stability of your business.

At the Smart Team, our offering is designed around you, so if right now you need more time from an FD and a little bit of a Finance Manager, that’s OK. Or maybe you need more of a Finance Manager with only a light touch from your FD; that’s OK too! Buying talent on the transfer market can be expensive when a flexible ‘loan’ arrangement can be a better option.

I thought it would be helpful to describe the different roles in a large finance team so you can make the right team selection for your business.

Let’s start with the Virtual Finance Director

Having a Smart Finance Director at your side will give you access to the following skill stack and experience. Your dedicated finance wingman will cover most of these, but depending on the complexity of your business will call on our tax and treasury specialists if needed.

You can explore our Outsourced Finance Leader solutions here

As a small business it’s unlikely that you will need all of this from your Smart FD. Just select and pay for the bits you need!

Chief Financial Officer (vCFO) or Finance Director (vFD)

In large businesses you will find the CFO or FD at the helm of the finance team. They will oversee the financial operations and financial strategy of your business. They will ensure regulatory compliance, take ownership of financial planning and risk management, and support you with investor relations. They will act as your finance wingman, offering trusted advice and guidance on potentially pivotal decisions and strategic initiatives.

The skills and experience they bring to the table will complement the rest of your leadership team, so for this role I recommend you want someone with strong finance leadership experience gained in a commercial environment. They will become your trusted advisor and a will be a great sounding board so you want someone who can bring the wisdom of lived experience as well the financial know how, which should come as a given.

Virtual Financial Controller (vFC)

This role does what it says on the tin. The financial controller is responsible for making sure that you have sound financial control processes in place which will allow you delegate more to your team. The controller will also play a key role making sure your financial controls are followed. In a large business, they will lead the day-to-day accounting operations of the organization, including overseeing the preparation of financial statements and management accounts, maintaining accurate financial records, and ensuring compliance with accounting standards and regulations. They may also take responsibility for risk management.

Together with the Finance Business Partner described below, they are often the “number 2” to the CFO/FD.

Virtual Financial Business Partner (vFBP)

A Finance Business Partner will focus on planning and budgeting and decision support. Their role can be seen as the conduit between the engine room and the captain of the ship. Our Financial Leaders have buckets of commercial experience and speak your language so they can help you filter out what’s important. They make sure that you are measuring the right things to keep your business on track to meet your long-term and shorter-term goals. Getting underneath the bonnet, understanding the drivers behind your numbers and asking (and answering!) the “why” question is a prized skill in this role. Scenario planning and cashflows will be high on the list of responsibilities.

Virtual Treasury Manager

The treasury manager is responsible for managing the company’s liquidity & cashflow and overseeing banking relationships.

This role is also responsible for overseeing banking relationships, managing short-term investments, and developing strategies to optimize the company’s capital structure. Treasury managers also play a role in managing foreign exchange risk and interest rate exposure.

Virtual Tax Manager

Tax managers are responsible for ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations. They oversee tax planning strategies to minimize the company’s tax liabilities while maximizing tax benefits. Tax managers also play a role in preparing and filing tax returns, responding to tax audits, and providing guidance on tax implications for business decisions.

Which brings us to your Smart Virtual Finance Team

This is where getting the basics right is important. Your FD won’t be adding much value if the work they are doing is based on inaccurate financial data. Remember “Rubbish In – Rubbish Out”?

Virtual Finance Manager

In our Virtual Finance Team, the Finance Manager role stretches across

  • Bookkeeping
  • Grant Admin
  • Reconciliations
  • Payroll
  • CIS
  • VAT
  • Accruals & Prepayments
  • Directors Loan Accounts
  • Preparation of management accounts

Virtual Credit Management & Credit Control

I am pulling this role out to ensure that you understand that this isn’t just about chasing outstanding invoices. There is so much more to this including ensuring your terms & conditions and sales admin processes are appropriate for your business, that you invoice on time, building relationships with your customers and the people in their organisation who pay the bills.

This is a critical role for improving your short term cashflow.

So what would your Smart Finance Team look like?

I hope this helps to explain more about how we help our clients. Some of our clients only need help from our virtual finance team, a lighter touch from their Finance Leader. Others want the full package.

Take a moment to imagine your finance system and compliance is up to date, you are getting management accounts that you actually understand, and you feel confident that you are making better decisions with clarity on your financials – you’re playing in the Champions League!

That’s exactly what you get with our Virtual Finance Team and a Smart FD at your side.

Ready to optimize your finance team? Book a discovery call in Tracy’s calendar to discuss your needs.


Posted by:


Caroline Cant

Payroll Manager & Finance Assistant

Caroline is a level 3 qualified ICB bookkeeper and payroll manager, she has 10 years’ experience working in industry and practise with clients from many different sectors. She has a passion for payroll and a motivation for management accounts, she believes that good business decisions can only be made with accurate numbers. Her top tip is to always budget and set aside for taxes.

Outside of work, Caroline is a busy Mum of 2 girls. In her spare time, she enjoys playing netball, doing her nails and turning her hand to some household DIY.


Nicki Kinton

Consultant Credit Management Lead

Nicki is a qualified Credit Manager, and with more than 30 years’ industry experience and more than six years as a business owner, she knows all there is to know about helping businesses manage their money and get paid on time.

Nicki believes that late payments are not the problem, they’re a symptom that a business is missing some key activity in the granting, monitoring and controlling of credit terms. Nicki focuses on reducing late payments, improving the bank balance and putting strong credit control systems in place.

In her spare time, Nicki’s an accomplished French horn player, an avid reader and also collects (and occasionally drinks) different types of gin.


Sarah Hargreaves


Sarah has been a generalist administrator for nearly 40 years thus garnering a wealth of experience in a variety of fields: HR, bookkeeping, facilities management, communications, events management, company secretarial and corporate governance.  Administrator of an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Oxford for 14 years, since 2003 she has specialised in providing back office services to high-tech start-up companies on a flexible basis with a particular expertise in grant administration and finance, liaising with a range of funding bodies.   Sarah believes that small companies can really benefit from accessing experience as it is almost certain that the wheels have already been invented for many problems with which a company might struggle.  When working with micro companies, her aim is to release the innovators, experts and commercial leaders from administrative duties so that they are able to focus on driving their business forward.

Sarah’s secret work vice is proof-reading as she can’t see a misspelled word, misplaced punctuation or clumsy sentence without reaching for the mouse. Away from work, Sarah is happiest when in close proximity to a stage.


Philip Briscoe

Consultant Commercial Director

Philip has over 25 years’ experience working for businesses of all shapes and sizes, from start-ups to scale-ups, to multinational corporations in a variety of senior roles including commercial director, chief operating officer and chief corporate development officer. Philip studied European Business Studies at Brunel University (BA Hons), has a CIM post-graduate diploma in marketing (DipM), and has studied Executive Finance at the Saїd Business School, University of Oxford.   

Philip now works with businesses in early-stage and scale-up phases where he applies his knowledge to support in areas such as unblocking growth inhibitors, commercial strategy development, and investor-readiness for businesses looking to raise equity-based capital. 

Philip is generally kept busy by his three children and overactive spaniel, Sid. In his spare time, he is an Assistant Section Leader with the Scouts, a fair-weather cyclist, and produces a men’s mental health podcast called Mid-life Men.  

Janet Harding

Consultant Finance Director

Janet is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience working at senior levels in both the commercial and not for profit sector.

She has extensive experience of budgeting, forecasting and providing insightful financial management reporting as well as implementing new processes and systems. As a Finance Business Partner, Janet has acted as a trusted adviser assisting in key decision making.

As Financial Controller for a large Charity, Janet was responsible for all statutory reporting, ensuring compliance with Funder and Charities Commission reporting in addition to managing all aspects within the Finance department.

Janet has always aspired to be the source of knowledge and wisdom on all financial matters and be able to share this with non-finance colleagues in order for them to perform their roles as effectively as possible.

Outside work, Janet plays an active part in the community as a Parish Councillor. She enjoys travelling, going to music festivals and concerts, reading and crafting.


Kasia Szerszenowicz


Kasia started her career in 2008 and qualified as a CIMA Chartered Accountant in 2015. She has covered a number of roles within finance, leading to a Financial Controller. Kasia has broad sector experience including recruitment, media and sport industries.

She has gained substantial finance experience covering a range of functions, all of which benefit the SMEs supported by the virtual finance team. These include financial and management accounts, forecasting, payroll, domestic and international VAT compliance, audit, invoice discounting, team leadership and coaching.

Kasia is driven to seek process improvements for our clients within core areas to lead to greater efficiency. She believes people are the key driver to any business’s success.

Kasia is a dedicated Mum to two daughters and has recently taken up tennis in her free time. She adores dogs and would happily re-home every stray if she could! She applies ‘Kaizen’ to her daily life, saying “I am a strong advocate of the Japanese philosophy and a believer that you can always make things better, even when things work at a given time.”


Zuzana Wilson MBA


Zuzana is an experienced finance officer who both enjoys and is successful when working in a team environment. Her work experience has been largely customer orientated, so she is able to manage competing demands and work to deadlines. 

Zuzana is always keen to learn and improve her skills. The Smart Team, therefore, is supporting her with an apprenticeship to study AAT Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting (building on her AAT Level 2 and 3). She will be developing her knowledge of company financial statements, business tax, audits, credit management and cash and treasury management. 

Zuzana enjoys keeping active by running half marathons and triathlons and loves to spend time with her family.


Magdalena Adams


Magdalena is AAT Level 3 qualified. Holding a BSc degree in Sports Science from Oxford Brookes University, she has spent most of her working life in education and childcare. Having decided to change career in 2020, she now looks forward to embarking on a career in financial services and brings a keen eye for detail and wealth of enthusiasm to the team.

Zal Sethna


Zal is a qualified Chartered Accountant & Chartered Tax Advisor, with over two decades of experience across a diverse client base, focusing on accounting (financial and management), auditing, payroll, and direct and indirect taxation. 

Zal leads our virtual finance team to prepare monthly and quarterly management accounts for clients and ensure their regulatory reporting requirements are all met in a timely manner. 

His life long work mantra has been “let people get on with what they know and what they do best”. Hence, entrepreneurs should focus on building their business with the comfort that they have a strong accounting team working in the background to help them achieve their goals. Outside of work he enjoys time with his family, cycling, reading and the theatre.

Tracy Smart

Founder and Managing Director

Tracy is a firm believer that people are the key drivers of success and this is the ethos that sits behind The Smart Team. Throughout her career as a Finance Leader she understood that success always came when there was a capable team with strong leadership in place. However, this is not always possible in the early stages of a business and she recognised that a flexible finance service could help ‘scale up businesses’ achieve their growth goals. 

Within The Smart Team she helps clients feel confident in their decision making by giving insight and clarity over their finances, and she supports them build flexible finance teams that give them just the right mix of experience and technical ability when they need it.