The finance manager is an indispensable part of any company. They are responsible for all sorts of financial tasks—such as analyzing company performance, making projections, and managing budgets. They also commonly report financial data to top-level executives so that they have the information they need to make key decisions.
Finance managers are skilled at analyzing data and turning it into actionable insight. They typically have many years of experience in their field and are familiar with a wide range of financial concepts, theories, tools, and techniques—all of which help them keep their companies financially healthy.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a finance manager and what it takes to become one yourself.
Finance Manager Job Duties
The finance manager is responsible for the following:
- Coordinating the day-to-day financial operations of an organization by maintaining financial records and processing transactions
- Managing budgets, expenses, and cash flow to ensure that all company financial goals are met
- Developing long-term financial plans for the organization based on projected sales growth, capital spending requirements, and other factors
- Reviewing budgets to make sure they’re realistic and continue to meet company needs
- Negotiating terms with vendors or suppliers to obtain services at fair prices
- Monitoring insurance rates and coverage types to make sure they still meet the company’s needs (i.e. fire insurance)
- Performing audits of internal controls over financial reporting to determine whether internal controls need improvement
- Meeting with external auditors or regulators as needed to discuss accounting practices or compliance issues
Finance Manager Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for finance managers is $98,475. The top earners make over $160,000 per year. Those earning higher wages tend to work in the securities and commodities industry.
The employment of finance managers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. This is due to the increasing demand for financial expertise as more individual investors enter the market and as more companies create subsidiary companies that require managerial oversight.
Finance Manager Job Requirements
The requirements for finance managers are as follows:
Education: Finance professionals need to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting or another related field of study. Many finance professionals choose to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for the additional training and networking opportunities. MBA programs offer courses in business management and financial accounting, which is helpful for work in the finance field.
Training: Employers often provide on-the-job training to new finance professionals. This training allows new employees to learn the company’s workflow and methods for tracking financial data. It also helps them to learn the company culture and interact with coworkers. During these training programs, they may also receive instruction on how to use software and applications specific to the business.
Certification: The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential may be required by some employers. This requires passing the Uniform CPA Examination, which can take several months to prepare for.
Finance Manager Skills
A finance manager must have the following skills:
Analytical skills: A finance manager must be able to analyze financial data and make informed decisions.
Communication skills: A finance manager must be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, clients, and vendors.
Organizational skills: The ability to maintain and keep track of client information, invoices, bills, receipts, payroll records, and accounting files.
Financial knowledge: Finance managers should have a working knowledge of accounting principles and practices.
An eye for detail: The ability to spot errors in financial records is essential because errors can cost companies time and money.
Finance Manager Work Environment
Finance managers usually work regular business hours in an office setting. They spend most of the day sitting at a desk working at computers or working through paperwork, but they also interact with their team regularly to supervise, plan, and direct financial procedures.
Finance managers can be expected to work extended hours during financial deadlines such as tax seasons and financial year ends.
Finance Manager Career Advancement
Finance managers can advance into senior management roles, such as Chief Financial Officer or Chief Operating Officer. To get to this level, you’ll need to prove yourself at the managerial level and show that you’re a good leader and communicator who can motivate and educate others. Being a finance manager for a respected company is a good step towards becoming a CFO.
Finance Manager Trends
Here are three trends influencing how finance managers work. Finance managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Increasing Importance of Public Speaking
The financial industry is increasingly turning to public speaking as a means of staying competitive, as many new managers and executives are entering the field.
Because of this trend, more businesses will be looking for professionals who can effectively communicate with clients in an easy-to-understand manner.
Impact of Big Data on Business
Businesses have become increasingly reliant on big data to help them make better decisions, and it is essential that finance managers have a solid understanding of this trend in order to stay relevant.
By leveraging tools like social media analytics and GPS tracking, businesses can learn more about their customers and potential prospects than ever before.
The Rise of Digital Assets
More and more companies are creating a digital asset management system to track the value of all their intellectual property.
By building out a digital asset management system, companies can make it easier for finance managers to use company-owned software without fear of losing important information or proprietary data.
How to Become a Finance Manager
1. Planning Your Career Path
To become a finance manager, it’s important to know the basics of accounting and business management. Since many finance managers oversee staff, good communication skills are also crucial.
As you work toward your career goal, don’t forget to maintain relationships with your coworkers; by working together, you can share resources and learn from each other. If you need extra help in this area, consider joining a professional organization like the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). Members of AFP are encouraged to network with their peers and mentors to develop professionally.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for finance managers highlight their financial skills, ability to solve problems, and ability to work under pressure. The description of any past jobs should include the kind of budgeting or forecasting tools that you used, the budget data you were responsible for, and how this contributed to the company’s success.
You should also emphasize both your leadership and interpersonal skills in this position–you will need a combination of both qualities to lead a team of accountants.
You may want to include any certifications that highlight your knowledge of industry-specific software or systems, in order to demonstrate your commitment to continuing your education in order to keep up with industry trends. If you’ve received any awards or accolades be sure to list these as well.
3. Applying for Jobs
The best way to find a job as a finance manager is to take an active part in the finance community since finance managers are often hired through professional networks and word of mouth. Attend conferences and professional events, read trade magazines, and try to make connections with people who work at different companies and levels within the industry.
Keep your resume updated and be sure to check out LinkedIn regularly for new job postings and connections. Be sure to keep an eye on your target companies’ career sites for open positions as well as LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to target specific companies that interest you. You can also get in touch with recruiters who specialize in finance positions.
4. Ace the Interview
When interviewing for finance manager positions, you want to impress upon the hiring manager that you are familiar with the individual’s business and you can use your experience to help the business. If you are interviewing for a position at a specific corporation, check out its website to learn more about their organization and its products or services. You can also research the company on Glassdoor to see what employees have said about it in reviews. This will give you some insight into the interview process and how candidates are evaluated in practice.
Be prepared to explain how your qualifications make you an asset to the company in terms of both business skills and interpersonal skills. For example, don’t just say that you are good at working with people—specifically explain how your experience has made you more effective when managing different personalities, dealing with conflicts, etc.
You should also be prepared for questions related to budgeting/finance, strategic planning, and making key decisions. If possible, try to relate your experiences to these topics so you can specifically explain how they would apply in this particular role.