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On the lookout for the best

On the lookout for the best

Rigorous recruitment checks, along with a well-structured and qualified finance department could boost Saudi business revenues.

September 28, 2008 8:22 by

Ramsi Hashash

You can’t manage a company if you don’t know the numbers. This is especially true in the marketing department, where having accurate numbers is essential to deciding how to proceed.

Sad to say, it is not enough for CEOs and owners to peek at the bottom line and be happy with what they see. They could do so much better with a properly structured finance department. Even so, having the structure in place in the finance department is one thing; more important is having the right people.

You won’t believe how many companies hire new staff on the basis of where they are from. Hardly any assessments are done or references checked. If you are Egyptian you must be a good accountant; if you are Indian you must be good at IT; if you are Lebanese you must be good at sales, etc. How ludicrous is this? What does the country of origin have to do with the person’s actual skills?

Companies in Saudi Arabia have to learn that they must test candidates and check references. Depending on the number of people they want to hire for the same position, they should do a one- or two-day assessment. This is less costly and more effective than hiring someone and realising a few months later that this person is not up to the job.

How surprised company owners are when they realize that if they had had a better structured finance department with fully qualified people – who might or might not cost more than the ones they have – they would have saved a lot of money. Believe me, it is a fact that with a well-structured and qualified finance department a company can increase the bottom line by 25 per cent – and more.

A CEO can achieve so much more if the finance department is able to give him the necessary figures to manage proactively. Key performance and key success indicators on tap, weekly or even daily, delivered straight to the CEO. The monthly profit and loss statement is a report after the fact; nothing in the P&L should come as a surprise, since the numbers were available on a weekly basis in advance.

So forget about countries of origin. Rather assess people’s skills. This is another key to success.

Ramsi Hashash is the chairman of Storm International, a management consultancy.

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