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How to Become a Financial Manager

If you’re detail-oriented, analytical, and great with numbers, a financial manager position may be the role that’s right for you. Employees known as financial managers are essential to the financial integrity of any team or organization. They work closely with the executive team and business management team in order to create a financial plan that will keep the organization financially stable and help them make sound financial investments. 

As a financial manager, you also are responsible for doing legal research to ensure that your company is staying compliant with all legal and ethical guidelines. You will be responsible for consistently overseeing the financial reports to identify ways the company can maintain or reduce costs. 

The ideal candidate for this role will have experience in banking, compliance, financial services, and/or accounting. They must be analytical and have great attention to detail. These candidates must be able to interpret financial statements and data and stay up to date on industry trends, in order to assist companies in major financial decisions.

Sample job description

As a financial advisor manager, you will maintain overall accountability for a team of highly engaged and accomplished financial advisors who are promoting the loyalty, growth, and retention of our clients. [Your Company Name] is looking for a proven, experienced, and motivated individual to take on the position. Your goal should be to provide peace of mind to our employees and clients. Not only should you be incredibly organized, but you should be a leader who is unafraid to stand up and do what needs to be done to manage employees.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Gives ongoing advice on company investment and financial decisions
  • Create financial reports and prepare activity statements
  • Monitor client accounts and oversee any changes
  • Organize company budgets
  • Analyze company data and industry trends to make predictions about financials and maximize profits
  • Ensure all investment and financial activities are compliant with industry laws
  • Execute reporting processes to reduce financial risk
  • Create long term business plans based on company information and data

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as finance, accounting, or economics 
  • Master’s degrees in a related field such as business administration, finance, or accounting is preferred, but not required 
  • Typically at least five years of experience in a related field, such as accounting, banking, financial services, or compliance, is required

Required skills and qualifications

  • Great presentation skills and the ability to create financial presentations that are visually appealing
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written  
  • Ability to think logically and analytically in decision making
  • Passionate about numbers and identifying market trends

Preferred qualifications

  • CFA Certification
  • Experience with data analysis 
  • Experience with budget management 
  • Ability to think critically and make sound decisions 
  • Versatile and takes initiative

Typical work environment

Financial managers work in an office as part of a team. They are primarily working with high level executives that are a part of the financial decision-making process. They engage with C-level employees on a day-to-day basis. 

Financial managers usually have regular office hours. If they work in a place like a bank, they may have some longer days or Saturdays as well. It depends on the industry you’re a financial manager in.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a financial manager in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. These hours can vary depending on the time of year and if you are behind on any deadlines. It also may depend on the industry you work in, like banking or healthcare.

Available certifications

Although a certification is not required to work as a financial manager, there are some certifications that can certainly benefit you in the job hunt. There are a few institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Certified Financial Planner ® (CFP®). Those with the CFP certification have shown competency in all areas of financial planning. Candidates complete studies on over 100 topics including bonds, insurance, taxes, estate and retirement planning. The program is led by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. Other than passing the CFP certification exam, candidates also need to complete qualifying work experience and commit to stand by the CFP Board’s code of financial planning standards and ethics.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®). This certification is offered by the CFA Institute. To attain the CFA charter, candidates must successfully complete three rigorous exams and attain at least three years of qualifying work experience. In successfully passing these exams, candidates demonstrate their integrity, competence, and knowledge in portfolio management, economics, accounting, and professional and ethical standards.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA). The globally recognized CMA program, offered by IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) shows your expertise of advanced financial management knowledge and accounting in critical areas such as analysis, financial planning, decision support, and control. The CMA exam consists of 12 content domains set up into two exam parts. It includes essay questions as well as multiple-choice questions.
  • Certified Fund Specialist (CFS). An individual with this certification has shown their expertise in mutual funds and the mutual fund industry. These candidates often advise clients on which funds are the best to invest in and, contingent on if they have their license, they will buy and sell funds for various clients.

Career path

The journey to becoming a financial manager begins by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, economics, accounting, or a related field.

Students who aspire to be a financial manager should attain a role in a similar field such as accounting, financial services, and compliance in order to gain the years of experience needed. Attaining the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) will definitely help your resume stand out amongst other applicants.

Financial managers need to develop soft skills like attention to detail and analytical skills in order to interpret data. They need to have these skills in order to make major financial decisions in order to keep their company compliant, competitive and stable.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3031

2020 Employment681,700
Projected Employment in 2030799,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 17% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift118,200 increase

Becoming a financial manager is a good career move for someone looking to get into higher levels of financial responsibility, such as a CFO (Chief Financial Officer). 

Financial management roles are not going anywhere due to how important it is for companies to not only be compliant with local regulations but also to be constantly looking for ways to reduce costs. They are a big part of minimizing the risk that companies face.