If you’re majoring in business or a related field, then stepping into the role of a financial manager could be your golden ticket. Sure, financial managers have a full plate—there’s a ton of jargon to master, numbers to crunch, and executives to brief. But hey, it’s a career with tons of upside. .
And guess what? All you need is a bachelor’s degree to jump in. That’s right!! With such minimal educational requirements, you’ve got the chance to earn some big bucks. If you’re game for learning and gaining some relevant work experience, this job could be a piece of cake for you.
In this article, you’re gonna get the lowdown on everything you need to know about becoming a financial manager, their role, different types of finance managers, job prospects, pay scale, how to become one, and why you should consider this career path.
A financial manager is the brain of a company’s financial operations. They’re responsible for making sure the company’s money is used wisely and efficiently. It’s like being a money doctor for a company!
The core of working as a financial manager lies in connecting the law, a company’s policies and finances, and risk to find new growth opportunities and investment strategies. Here are some key tasks you may have to undertake as a financial manager:
- Ensure compliance with the law and the company’s policies.
- Develop strategies to reduce financial risk and work on the company’s financial reporting systems.
- Decipher complex financial data and provide necessary updates to top executives and upper-management to navigate economic decisions.
- Make investment strategy decisions considering cash and liquidity risks.
- Create and manage the company’s budget, implementing corrective measures if necessary.
- Prepare and examine financial statements and business reports to identify growth opportunities and areas needing improvement.
- Predict changes and future trends, and assess the effectiveness of the current risk management approach of the company.
- Oversee employee workflows on financial reporting, and help build it better.
As a financial manager, your expertise mirrors the depth of your understanding of tax laws, financial policies, and regulations specific to the organization you’re associated with:
- Financial managers in the tech industry need to be savvy in understanding the financial implications of fast-paced innovation, R&D costs, and the lifecycle of tech products.
- In the real estate business, financial managers must have a solid understanding of property valuation, taxes, and the impact of market trends on property prices.
- In the manufacturing sector, financial managers need to understand the cost of goods sold, including raw materials, labor, and overhead. They must also be skilled at budgeting and controlling costs, managing inventory, and analyzing the profitability of different product lines.
Types of Financial Managers:
Moving forward, let’s check out some popular roles—as a financial manager. Yes, you read it right! Financial management is a wide-ranging field, not limited to just one kind of manager. It’s a big tent that covers various job titles, each with its own responsibilities. Here are some top-paying positions to keep an eye on:
A finance controller is in charge of budgeting and financial forecasting for a company. Each month, they roll up their sleeves to prepare and publish financial statements, including billing, accounts payable, general ledger, cost accounting, inventory accounting, and revenue records.
They make sure their company is on the right side of the law by meeting all local, state, and federal reporting requirements and tax filings. And when it comes to compliance audits, they’re right there providing assistance. Controllers earn around $110,316 per year.
A credit manager, or collections manager, is like the quarterback of a football team, calling the shots for the credit granting process. They’re the ones sizing up potential customers, checking out their finances, and deciding if they’re a safe bet. And just like a good quarterback keeps an eye on the field, a credit manager keeps tabs on the company’s credit portfolio. Credit managers earn around $116,100 per year.
A risk manager is like the organization’s financial bodyguard. They’re always on the lookout for potential risks that could throw a wrench in the works. They size up these risks using financial modeling and figure out how likely they are to happen, and what kind of impact they could have—making sure everything is up to code. Risk managers earn around $123,618 per year.
A bank manager is the coach for the team, the captain of the ship, and the conductor of the orchestra all rolled into one. They juggle a bunch of tasks: hiring and training staff, keeping the operations running like a well-oiled machine, setting financial goals, and playing detective by spotting potential risks.
They’re also the rule-keepers, making sure the branch is playing by the book when it comes to banking regulations. On top of all this, they’re the face of the bank for customers, solving problems and ensuring top-notch service. Plus, they’ve got a seat at the table in strategic planning, helping shape the bank’s future. Bank managers earn around $63,401 per year.
Using their company’s financial goals as the compass, a treasury manager steers the organization’s money, making sure it’s used wisely and grows over time. They’re the ones who keep an eye on the cash flow and investments, making sure there’s always enough to keep the organization running smoothly. Treasurers earn around $232,046 per year.
A cash manager is a key player in a company’s financial team. They are responsible for predicting the company’s cash needs, making strategic decisions with surplus cash, identifying and mitigating risks to cash flow, and reporting on the company’s cash position. Cash managers earn around $104,856 per year.
Bear in mind that earning a finance degree is just the beginning. You’ll need at least five years of relevant experience to secure any of the jobs we’re discussing. But don’t worry, we’re going to guide you through the entire process—the degrees you might want to consider and the types of jobs that’ll prepare you for these roles.
A financial manager is a hot ticket job. With an annual paycheck of $139,790, it’s one of the top earners you can land with just a bachelor’s degree. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for financial managers are expected to grow at 16% in the next ten years. No kidding!
The U.S. companies are increasingly doing business with other countries, more than they have in the past. They’re selling their products to people in other countries, buying resources from overseas, and even setting up shops in foreign lands.
This global expansion pushes the need for financial managers who can maintain the company’s financial health—ensuring the company’s income and expenditure are balanced, debts are manageable, and overall financial performance is robust. It’s no surprise that the demand for this role is surging at a pace faster than most jobs across the nation.
Next up, we’ll dive into the industries, states, and regions you can be a part of, and get the lowdown on how the levels of employment and paychecks vary with each factor. This data is picked from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Largest Employers (Industries) of Financial Managers:
|Annual Mean Salary
|Banking and Related Services
|Investment and Financial Trading
|Accounting and Payroll Services
High Paying Employers (Industries) for Financial Managers:
|Annual Mean Salary
|Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities
|Web Search Portals, Libraries, Archives, and Other Information Services
|Natural Gas Pipeline Transportation
|Film and Video Industry
|Independent Artists, Performers, and Writers
The Largest Employers (States) of Financial Managers:
|Annual Mean Salary
High Paying Employers (States) for Financial Managers:
|Annual Mean Salary
You’re interested in finances, math, money, right? It’s a field packed with opportunity, solid earnings, and a real buzz for anyone with a passion for business.
So, you’re asking, “How do I get in on this?” Well, it’s pretty straightforward. First off, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business, or something along those lines.
Then, you’ll need to get about five years or more of experience, maybe as a financial analyst, loan officer, or a similar role. Even these initial roles pay well. Now, let’s break this down a bit more:
Becoming a Financial Manager: Degrees
Employers are on the lookout for candidates who have a solid grasp of key financial concepts. Earning a degree provides you with this fundamental knowledge, which serves as a springboard for learning more skills such as statistical modeling, crafting financial statements, and decoding complex financial lingo.
You’ve got a range of fields to major in, including finance, accounting, management, economics, business analytics, or other related disciplines. When you’re job hunting, don’t forget to list the financial management courses, electives, and minors you took during your undergrad studies on your resume.
You can totally go for a bachelor’s degree in business administration—with a concentration in finance, accounting, economics, data analytics, or a similar field. What’s great is that this sets you up perfectly if you decide to take it to the next level with an MBA. It’s all about keeping those doors open for your future!
Related: Thriving: How to Succeed in College
Now, let’s dive into the different degrees that can set you up for success as a financial manager:
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Finance
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Business
- Business Administration, BA – Finance
- Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics (Managerial Economics)
- Business Administration, BA – International Business
- Bachelor of Science in Management
- Business Administration, BA – Management
- Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems
- Bachelor of Science in International Business
- Bachelor of Science in Project Management
Becoming a Financial Manager: Jobs to Pursue
During your undergrad studies, consider joining finance clubs at your college to gear up for life post-graduation. Additionally, getting internships with banking and investment firms, management companies, small businesses, and similar organizations can give you a leg up in your journey to becoming a financial manager.
Every financial manager has some experience in a related occupation. You might consider working as a:
- Loan officer
- Accountant and auditor
- Financial analyst
- Securities sales agent
- Insurance sales agents and underwriters.
Now, let’s look at some of these potential roles in detail that could help you secure a position as a financial manager:
They’re the go-to folks who give the green light for personal and business loans. They earn around $72,333 per year. Once you’ve got your bachelor’s degree under your belt, you’re all set to work as a loan officer. You’ll get some on-the-job training to get you up to speed.
What’s cool is that some employers might even give folks with just a high school diploma a shot at the job. Now, being a loan officer isn’t just one thing—there are a bunch of different sub-roles you could end up in, each with its own set of duties and goals:
- Commercial loan officers
- Consumer loan officers
- Mortgage loan officers (Needs licensure to work)
- Loan collection officers
- Loan underwriters
Accountant & Auditor
They’re the number crunchers who make sure all financial records are on point and taxes are filed on time. They earn around $78,000 per year. You can go after your bachelor’s degree in fields like accounting, finance, or business to set yourself up for a career as an accountant.
But here’s the kicker—even if you’ve only got an associate degree, or if you’ve got some experience as a bookkeeper or auditing clerk, you’re still in the game. You could totally land a job in a junior accounting position.
And get this—in some states, you can swap out a college degree for some real-world experience in public accounting. So don’t forget about that option. You could also set your eyes on getting certified as a CPA—that’s a Certified Public Accountant. This can be a real game-changer, even when you’re applying to a financial managerial role.
Securities Sales Agent
They’re the dealmakers in the financial market, connecting buyers and sellers, and making trades happen. They earn around $67,480 per year.
If you’re looking to break into the securities business as a sales agent, you’re gonna need more than just a bachelor’s degree in business or a similar field. You’ll need hands-on knowledge of securities analysis and selling strategies.
But don’t sweat it – most firms offer on-the-job training. And you might also need to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to get your license to sell securities. It’s pretty standard in the industry.
They’re the investment whizzes who guide businesses and individuals on where to put their money. They pull in about $96,220 a year.
Now, some companies split this role into two: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts. Buy-side analysts call the shots on where to invest the company’s surplus money. Sell-side analysts, on the other hand, give the lowdown to sales folks on which stocks and investments are ripe for selling.
Here are some hot jobs in the financial analysis field you might want to check out:
- Financial Risk Specialists: They identify and analyze financial risks.
- Fund Managers: They oversee portfolio investments.
- Investment Analysts: They study trends and data to give investment advice.
- Portfolio Managers: They manage investment portfolios and balance risk/reward.
- Ratings Analysts: They assess the creditworthiness of businesses or investments.
- Securities Analysts: They research and report on investment performance.
To land any of these roles, all you need is a bachelor’s degree in business or something similar. And just like a securities sales agent, if you’re going to be dealing with securities-related financial products, you’ll need a license from FINRA.
Relevant experience doesn’t just prep you for the role you’re aiming for, but also gets you on track for meeting the certification requirements.
Becoming a Financial Manager: Certifications
Now, you don’t necessarily need a certification, but if you’re aiming to stand out as a financial manager, getting certified could give you a leg up. Here are some certifications you might want to consider after getting your bachelor’s degree:
- If you’re eyeing a job with government agencies, you might want to look into the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification.
- For those of you looking to begin in the investment world, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification could be just the ticket.
- If you wish to work as a treasurer and want to sharpen your skills, getting the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) certification could be a smart move.
- You could also aim for the Certified Corporate Financial Planning Analysis Professional (FP&A) certification.
- And for those of you looking to climb the corporate management ladder, the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification might be worth pursuing.
Just a heads up! All these certifications we talked about are top-tier. That means you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree and some work experience in your corner before you can go after them. But don’t let that intimidate you—with some hard work and dedication, you’ve got every chance of making it happen.
Being a financial manager isn’t just about the big bucks and rapid job growth in the country, it’s also incredibly fulfilling. You’re at the heart of an organization’s financial well-being. Your calls make a direct hit on the company’s trajectory.
The job requires a solid grasp of financial principles, strategic planning, and analytical prowess. These skills aren’t just a professional asset, they’re also a personal finance tool-kit. With some experience under your belt, financial managers can climb up to higher executive positions or carve out a niche in areas like risk management or investment strategy.
Yes, they can. Financial managers, with their expert-level knowledge in finance, sure have a sweet deal. They’re raking in an average salary of $131,410 per year, and that’s not where the buck stops. They’ve got a whole host of ways to make even more money. Think consulting gigs as financial planners, creating and monetizing finance content on social media, or trading options and stocks online.
Becoming a financial manager is all about rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. Sure, you need a bachelor’s degree and some relevant work experience to get your foot in the door, but the real learning happens on the job. It’s not a walk in the park though—you’ve got to have razor-sharp analytical skills, be quick on your feet to adapt to changing financial markets, and have the ability to untangle complex problems under tight deadlines. But hey, no pain, no gain, right? With time and experience, you’ll find yourself mastering these challenges and succeeding as a financial manager.
U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that the average age of male and female financial managers in the workforce is 43.9 and 44.9. But hey, don’t let that number scare you! You don’t have to be pushing 40 to be a financial manager. Sure, it’s a big-league job that needs some serious grind over the years, but it’s all about the hustle, not the age. So, keep at it and you’ll be climbing that career ladder in no time.
No, they’re not. Sure, a financial manager could climb the ladder to become a CFO, but that’s after putting in the hours, gaining experience, and knocking it out of the park with some major achievements. The CFO is a top executive role with a whole lot more on their plate. It’s a major position with a ton of responsibilities.