What Are a Director's Responsibilities? (Plus Salary Info)

Updated 14 August 2023

A director is a senior management figure, overseeing a firm's commercial direction by setting its budgets and business objectives. You're ultimately responsible for all business activities and staff in the organisation. Understanding what a director's duties may entail can help as you progress in your career. In this article, we detail a director's responsibilities and discuss both the certifications you can earn to become one and your potential salary.


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What are a director's responsibilities?

As a company director, you're responsible for ensuring a firm conducts business as the law expects. You take action to ensure the company is financially transparent, by paying all due tax or declaring your own shares before making investment decisions. You balance the needs of rival stakeholders, such as shareholders and workers, to ensure you govern the firm in a fair and inclusive way.

The list below details some of the most important director's responsibilities:

  • determining the firm's long-term commercial strategy

  • assessing progress towards business targets

  • appointing junior management officials

  • annually submitting company accounts to the government

  • ensuring the firm complies with certain regulations, such as health and safety laws

  • considering shareholder interests before making investment decisions

  • taking action to ensure financial transparency and root out potential corruption

  • negotiating with third parties, such as trade unions or creditors

Related: What is a Managing Director? Managing Director Job Description, Skills and Duties

What are a director's legal responsibilities?

As the leading figure in your organisation, you're held accountable for the firm's legal transgressions, except for mitigating circumstances. Therefore, it's important to set up in-house processes to monitor the actions of junior employees, to protect yourself and the firm from financial sanctions. Examples of your legal obligations include:

Good governance

Under the Companies Act 2006, you're legally responsible for ensuring your firm operates in a transparent and predictable fashion. With this in mind, you might set up processes to ensure directors act in a diligent and neutral way, deciding based on the benefits for all shareholders. As a director, you're only empowered to act as the company's constitution intends, with any action contravening these expectations deemed illegal. Finally, it's important to declare your commercial interests upon joining a firm, to ensure you make business decisions impartially.

Related: What does a commercial director do?

Employee rights

You're also accountable for protecting junior employees against mistreatment, by complying with relevant laws concerning health and safety. For example, under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, you become liable for prosecution if business practices cause an employee's death, whether deliberately or via negligence. It's important that you devise strategies to ensure employees' safety, such as training them on how to use and maintain machinery.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, you're responsible for protecting employees from potential health risks, such as fire or explosives. You might take action to ensure all workspaces are free from potential hazards, to avoid potential fines.

What certifications can you gain to become a director?

Given the significant professional, financial and legal responsibilities associated with the position, you might wish to acquire various certifications before being promoted to a director position. By taking this approach, you can establish the deep subject knowledge useful for a career in business. Examples of useful certifications include:

Bachelor's degree

To understand your target industry, you might earn a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business, accounting or law. Employers often consider a bachelor's degree a bare minimum when assessing applicants, reflecting the lucrative nature of this career path. You might also treat a bachelor's degree as an opportunity to decide which field of business or specialisation you wish to pursue.

You can enrol at many universities that offer specific courses in business management. During your studies, you can learn about business management theories, alongside an understanding of how to apply these theories to be an effective leader. You can undertake a series of optional modules to specialise in a particular business field, such as accounting, marketing and data analysis.

Related: What Is a Bachelor's Degree?

Professional certifications

Unlike a bachelor's degree, professional certifications often have a more specific subject focus. You may study to accrue a specialist subject knowledge, designed to help you enter a particular job market. By earning these certifications, you show prospective employers that you're a hardworking and high-skilled person. You might then seem more appealing to employers, securing the position.

For example, to specialise in sales, you can earn a Marketing Certificate Level 4, regulated by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Through this programme, you can learn how to plan effective marketing campaigns by studying consumers' psychology and digital marketing techniques. Alternatively, to become a chartered accountant, you may study for an ACA Qualification, offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Here you undertake several examined modules focusing on core areas of accountancy, such as compliance and taxation. You can also undertake 450 days of mentored work experience.

Related: What You Need To Know About Professional Qualifications

Salary information

The average salary for a director is £71,633 per year. This figure represents the average salary earned across an entire labour market. Thus, as you improve your skills through work experience and education, you can increase your income significantly. Your potential income can vary depending on the size of your employer. If you manage a multinational firm, you may find they reward your responsibilities with a higher annual salary.

Related: How much do managing directors make?

What types of directors can you become?

Depending on your specific duties and specialist knowledge, your annual salary can vary significantly. The following section details four jobs you can hold as a director, alongside their average salaries:

1. Associate director

National average salary: £68,430 per year

Primary duties: An associate director, typically put into practice the business objectives decided by more senior officials. In this role, you can devise practical solutions to help a firm boost its profits, such as expanding into new markets or laying off some employees. They may control an entire section of the firm's activities, such as marketing or sales. Associate directors can also delegate tasks to junior employees based on their skills and experience. They might assess both individual and collective employee productivity before reporting your findings to your direct superior.

The salary reflects the more junior nature of the duties associated with this management-level post. They may advance to a higher pay scale by accruing additional certifications related to their field.

Related: The differences between director vs associate director

2. Regional director

National average salary: £69,697 per year

Primary duties: Regional directors oversee a firm's operations in a regional market. They manage the financial resources of the regional office, allocating them in a way that balances profitability and legal stipulations. For example, they may negotiate with trade unions, taking local wage rates and annual revenue into account to settle. They typically work to ensure the subsidiary submits its tax returns in a transparent and timely manner. By doing so, they can protect the wider firm's reputation by avoiding legal recriminations.

The salary figure may vary depending on certain variables, such as the size of the firm and the regional market they serve.

3. Development director

National average salary: £73,499 per year

Primary duties: Development directors typically find third-party funding for a business or charity, such as donations, investment or government grants. Resultantly, development directors might draft mission statements, designed to convince an outside figure that their firm deserves the investment. They may oversee acts of corporate charity, donating money to good causes that match the firm's wider ethos. They may also record funds received from or offered to third parties to ensure the firm's tax liabilities are calculable.

4. Programme director

National average salary: £82,574 per year

Primary duties: Programme directors typically monitor junior employees as they put a business plan into action. They handle every aspect of the project's success, such as effective budgeting and hiring good staff. They might plan this strategy from start to finish, identifying potential obstacles and solutions to overcome them. They then communicate such plans to junior staff clearly, answering queries they may have about them.

The salary reflects the seniority of this position with an organisation, alongside the efforts they've made previously to progress their career to this level.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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