Financial Managers

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Financial managers produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Work Environment: Financial managers work in many industries, including banks and insurance companies. Most financial managers work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become One: Financial managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and 5 years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as an accountant, auditor, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

Salary: The median annual wage for financial managers is $127,990.

Job Outlook: Employment of financial managers is projected to grow 16 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Several core functions of financial managers, including risk management and cash management, are expected to be in high demand over the next decade.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of financial managers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a financial manager with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Financial Manager Jobs

  • Financial Manager - Global & Invoicing Manager - Impact - Cape Town

    Impact's Partnership CloudTM provides automation for the full partnership life cycle; confident decision making and optimization through measurement

  • Risk and Compliance Manager- SSA - Uber - Randburg

    Reporting to the SSA Head of Operations, you will be responsible for driving the following business priorities; rider and driver quality, operational

  • Financial Services Strategic Account Manager - VMware - Johannesburg

    As a direct result you would be responsible for differentiating VMwares product offerings and building a cohesive understanding of the value

See all Financial Manager jobs

What Financial Managers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Duties of Financial Managers

Financial managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare financial statements, business activity reports, and forecasts
  • Monitor financial details to ensure that legal requirements are met
  • Supervise employees who do financial reporting and budgeting
  • Review company financial reports and seek ways to reduce costs
  • Analyze market trends to maximize profits and find expansion opportunities
  • Help management make financial decisions

The role of the financial manager, particularly in business, is changing in response to technological advances that have substantially reduced the amount of time it takes to produce financial reports. Financial managers' main responsibility used to be monitoring a company's finances, but they now do more data analysis and advise senior managers on ways to maximize profits. They often work on teams, acting as business advisors to top executives.

Financial managers also do tasks that are specific to their organization or industry. For example, government financial managers must be experts on government appropriations and budgeting processes, and healthcare financial managers must know about topics in healthcare finance. Moreover, financial managers must be knowledgeable about special tax laws and regulations that affect their industry.

The following are examples of types of financial managers:

Controllers direct the preparation of financial reports that summarize and forecast the organization's financial position, such as income statements, balance sheets, and analyses of future earnings or expenses. Controllers also are in charge of preparing special reports required by governmental agencies that regulate businesses. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments of their organization.

Treasurers and finance officers direct their organization's budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee the investment of funds and carry out strategies to raise capital (such as issuing stocks or bonds) to support the firm's expansion. They also develop financial plans for mergers (two companies joining together) and acquisitions (one company buying another).

Credit managers oversee their firm's credit business. They set credit-rating criteria, determine credit ceilings, and monitor the collections of past-due accounts.

Cash managers monitor and control the flow of cash in and out of the company to meet business and investment needs. For example, they must project cash flow to determine whether the company will have a shortage or surplus of cash.

Risk managers control financial risk by using strategies to limit or offset the probability of a financial loss or a company's exposure to financial uncertainty. Among the risks they try to limit are those that stem from currency or commodity price changes.

Insurance managers decide how best to limit a company's losses by obtaining insurance against risks, such as the need to make disability payments for an employee who gets hurt on the job or the costs imposed by a lawsuit against the company.

Work Environment for Financial Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Financial managers hold about 653,600 jobs. The largest employers of financial managers are as follows:

Finance and insurance 30%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 14%
Management of companies and enterprises 11%
Government 7%
Manufacturing 6%

Financial managers work closely with top executives and with departments that develop the data financial managers need.

Financial Manager Work Schedules

Most financial managers work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Financial Manager[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Financial Managers near you!

Financial managers typically have a bachelor's degree and 5 years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as an accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

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Education for Financial Managers

A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration is often the minimum education needed for financial managers. However, many employers now seek candidates with a master's degree, preferably in business administration, finance, accounting, or economics. These academic programs help students develop analytical skills and learn financial analysis methods and software.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Financial Managers

Although professional certification is not required, some financial managers still get it to demonstrate a level of competence. The CFA Institute confers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to investment professionals who have at least a bachelor's degree, 4 years of work experience, and pass three exams. The Association for Financial Professionals confers the Certified Treasury Professional credential to those who pass an exam and have a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience. Certified public accountants (CPA's) are licensed by their state's board of accountancy and must pass an exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Financial Managers

Financial managers usually have experience in another business or financial occupation. For example, they may have worked as a loan officer, accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

In some cases, companies provide formal management training programs to help prepare highly motivated and skilled financial workers to become financial managers.

Advancement for Financial Managers

Experienced financial managers can advance to become chief financial officers (CFOs). These executives are responsible for the accuracy of an entire company's or organization's financial reporting.

Important Qualities for Financial Managers

Analytical skills. Financial managers increasingly are assisting executives in making decisions that affect their organization, a task that requires analytical ability.

Communication skills. Excellent communication skills are essential because financial managers must explain and justify complex financial transactions.

Detail oriented. In preparing and analyzing reports such as balance sheets and income statements, financial managers must be precise and attentive to their work in order to avoid errors.

Math skills. Financial managers must be skilled in math, including algebra. An understanding of international finance and complex financial documents also is important.

Organizational skills. Because financial managers deal with a range of information and documents, they must stay organized to do their jobs effectively.

Financial Manager Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for financial managers is $127,990. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $67,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

The median annual wages for financial managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $151,610
Management of companies and enterprises $143,560
Manufacturing $127,710
Finance and insurance $124,250
Government $112,830

Most financial managers work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Financial Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of financial managers is projected to grow 16 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, growth will vary by industry.

Services provided by financial managers, such as planning, directing, and coordinating investments, are likely to stay in demand as the economy grows. In addition, several specialties within financial management, particularly cash management and risk management, are expected to be in high demand over the next decade.

In recent years, companies have accumulated more cash on their balance sheets, particularly among those with operations in foreign countries. As globalization continues, this trend is likely to persist. This should lead to demand for financial managers as companies will be in need of cash management expertise.

There has been an increased emphasis on risk management within the financial industry, and this trend is expected to continue. In response to both the financial crisis and financial regulatory reform, banking institutions will place a greater emphasis on stability and managing risk rather than on maximizing profits. This is expected to lead to employment growth for risk managers.

The credit intermediation and related activities' industry (which includes commercial and savings banks) employs a large percentage of financial managers. As bank customers increasingly conduct transactions online, the number of bank branches is expected to decline, which should limit employment growth in this sector. However, employment declines are expected to mainly affect clerical occupations, such as tellers, rather than financial managers. Over the next ten years, employment of financial managers is projected to grow 13 percent in this industry.

See all finance jobs.

Job Prospects for Financial Managers

As with other managerial occupations, jobseekers are likely to face competition because there are more applicants than job openings. Candidates with expertise in accounting and finance—particularly those with a master's degree or certification—should enjoy the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for Financial Managers, 2018-28
Occupational Title Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28
Percent Numeric
Financial managers 653,600 758,300 16 104,700


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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