What Does A Financial Manager Do?

"I am really into finance, and I have always wanted a job where I can help a company to succeed financially through investments. I like the idea that I could steer the financial future of a company, maybe my own company. Is that the job of a financial manager, or is there another job title which would be closer to what I want to do?"

asked by Fred from Savannah, GA

It sounds like financial manager is indeed the job you are interested in. A financial manager may work for a large business or a small one. He may own the business or not (depends on the size of the business). This is the person who has been granted the authority by the board of directors to make a variety of financial decisions for the company concerning investments (as you were mentioning), payroll, mergers, and more. Financial managers work closely with accounting staff and the board to handle budgeting and structuring decisions.

There are other job titles which are similar to that of financial planner, and which actually refer to different types of financial managers. If you work for a corporation, you might be known as a corporate money manager. This is the same job title. If you do not work for a corporation, you might have a different job title.

Government agencies and nonprofit organizations also need the help of financial managers. You might also be known as a treasurer or a controller or a finance officer.

The job titles which I just mentioned are all very high-ranking positions in a company. Some financial managers are responsible for lower level operations and may only deal with one aspect of a business. Risk managers, insurance managers, credit managers, and cash managers are all examples of lower-ranked financial managers who handle specifics.

To become a financial manager, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field. Many financial managers however also have a master’s degree. You may or may not want to pursue a certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst. The reality of financial management however is that many of the skills you need will come from experience and not just education.

Most financial managers have years of experience working as financial analysts, auditors or accountants before they are able to become part of the management. Sometimes the experience you need is not only with finance, but also with a specific company. You need to understand the company’s operations and goals inside and out before you can start providing financial direction for that company.

Financial managers not only enjoy lucrative and vital roles in their respective organizations, but also have many opportunities to advance even further. You might one day become a CFO or VP, or start your own consulting firm. If you have your own business, your knowledge will help you to become even more successful through your own investments as well as the work you do for others.

Career Spotlight: Financial Manager

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