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How to Land a Manager Role in Finance

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on May 22, 2018 12:00:00 PM

In ICS insights, Job Trends, Job Search Tips

A financial manager performs critical functions that are vital to how companies track performance and determine which projects are most profitable. This helps their employers manage investments. With experience in this field, you can get a job in almost any industry. If you have a head for numbers and love to solve problems, a career as a financial manager would fit very well with your personality and could be a great career move.

Being a financial manager is for those who are comfortable with numbers, but not enough to live with them the whole day.  This means spreadsheets don't have to define your whole workday. Since this is a very complex role, you have more interesting job duties that surpass mere bookkeeping. That's because a financial manager isn't an accountant and serves a unique function.

Financial Manager Role

As a financial manager, you have a lot more scope than looking to see that column A ties to column B. The job focuses on helping your employer maximize their profit margin by developing original strategies to generate money for operations. As such, a financial manager manages investments — meaning you have to know where to invest money, as well as when to sell and when to buy.

Those looking for a challenging career in a growing field would do well to consider finance, especially if you possess decent critical thinking and analysis skills.

What Does a Financial Management Career Path Look Like?

If you have a financial management degree, you will be well-prepared for jobs across the industry. Large corporations hire financial managers to head project teams in finance. KPMG and Ernst & Young, for example, hire financial managers to fulfill the services requested by clients. If you have a taste for running your own business, consider becoming an entrepreneur or setting up a private financial management agency. With some determination, you can build your client base and make a nice living by helping other people run their companies.

In a company, job titles vary and reflect the role you play in your organization. More common titles include:

  • Chief Finance Officer
  • VP Finance
  • Finance Associate
  • Director of Financial Reporting
  • Director of Finance
  • Investment Counselor
  • Finance Manager
  • Finance Analyst
  • Financial Planner
  • Finance Advisor

For all these jobs, the focus should remain on improving cash flow and managing investments to make the most money for the organization.

Educational Requirements for Financial Management

The minimum you'll need is a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field. Due to the level of responsibility, there is often a high education barrier, since other candidates likely have an MBA or Master of Finance degree. Getting an extra degree may seem like more of a hassle than it's worth. However, there are now a number of well-regarded programs online. You can earn an online degree in business administration or focus your efforts on a master's degree in finance. In any case, an online education provides freedom and flexibility in your schedule.

Common Certifications

One way to gain the respect of hiring managers is to obtain popular certifications in your area of expertise. Make sure you obtain certifications that make sense with your career path. Prestigious qualifications include:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Certified Treasury Professional
  • Certified Public Accountant

Skills Needed for Financial Management

Because financial management requires a laundry list of skills sets, you'll need a variety of experience to draw on. Expert-level knowledge enables you to deal with the facts and figures. Meanwhile, financial market and cash management soft skills are also needed.

Communication is the Key to Your Success

Mastery of verbal and written communications are a must for busy finance and financial management professionals. Many times, your only communication with a person is via email. If your emails and memos are unclear, people will become confused and lose confidence in your leadership skills. To convey the specialty expertise demanded by employers and coworkers, you must be able to communicate well above par.

Use of Technology

Collecting and analyzing data is easy with the appropriate tools. So, if you can demonstrate an affinity for new software systems and help others learn, you might make a great financial manager. With the digital revolution looming it will certainly help.

Critical Thinking Related to Decision Making

Analytical data breeds success for financial managers. Your hiring manager will want proof of your ability to assess a financial situation and research solutions. In order to show your expertise, have some of the most popular interview questions prepared and be able to give solid examples of scenarios where you have resolved an issue, or saved/made money for your firm.

How Much Can You Make?

Just as you will be looking at the bottom line for your organization, you want to be aware of the average salaries in this field. The payoff for acquiring the necessary skills and education for this field is receiving a great salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a financial manager position averages $125,080 as of May 2017. The top 10 percent bring home more than $208,000. So, it's lucrative to go into this field.

Salary varies greatly in different industries. However, a financial manager in government averages only $110,610, while working in a corporation can net you $141,890. There are a lot of opportunities to switch industries and take on new responsibilities at another firm. You can also kickstart your career by going back to school, working towards one of the certifications above, and taking advantage of any management training offered by your company.

What Are You Waiting For?

If you're looking for a financial manager job, contact ICS. There's never been a greater time to be a candidate with in-demand skills. You'll love your options. We're here to work with you to find that perfect job and fit. Even if you are still on the road to becoming a manager, look through our jobs and apply today! Who knows where it will lead you. Search Jobs