Finance Manager

A finance manager creates value through overseeing the company’s strategic investments and developing long-term financial strategies. Finance managers also keep an eye out for ways to improve profitability, which often includes diving deep with their business counterparts and coming up with creative ways to take costs out of the business. They are also on the front line of growth initiatives,including analyzing markets or products analyzing markets for expansion and merger and acquisition opportunities.

In order to become a finance manager, you’ll need to be adept at creating financial reports. Producing financial reports is traditionally another responsibility finance managers take on, but as reporting systems become more automated, a finance manager will spend more time analyzing data and advising executives on the best financial strategies than producing reports.

Finance Manager Responsibilities:

  • Leverage data, financial models, creativity, and business understanding to research and discover business opportunities
  • Forecast monthly business KPIs based on historical data and any operational changes to assess overall business health and trend
  • Create ROI models to guide optimal budget allocation strategies by department
  • Collaborate with business leaders to uncover performance drivers and recommend actionable next steps to executives
  • Work with executives to develop and maintain a strategic model that provides the overall fundraising roadmap
  • Mentor, teach, and review the work of other supporting members of the finance team

Finance Manager Qualifications:

  • BS/BA in Finance, Accounting, Economics, or similar (MBA a plus)
  • 6+ years experience in Investment Banking, Management Consulting and/or Corporate finance at high-growth enterprises
  • Experience in building, training, and managing a team
  • Exceptional Excel & financial modeling skills with very high attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to develop strategic relationships with business partners

Finance Manager Salary:

Finance Manager Salary New York Average: $125,000

Finance Manager Salary Range: $90,000 – $165,000

The annual salary of a Finance Manager ranges from $90,000 to over $165,000. Your earning potential in this role can largely be impacted by the industry in which you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Finance Managers in the professional, scientific or tech industries rake in the most money. This is followed by the management of companies and enterprises, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and lastly, government.

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Financial Manager Job Description: What does a Finance Manager do?

In general, a Finance Manager is responsible for using data and reports to advise senior managers on how to maximize profits. Basic duties include preparing financial statements and forecasts, supervising finance employees, analyzing market trends and aiding management in financial decisions. Finance Managers must also be well-versed in finance-related laws and regulations, as they are responsible for ensuring that their organization complies with these regulations.

To really pin down what a Finance Manager does, we need to take a closer look at the different types of Finance Managers. The responsibilities of this position are dependent on the individual’s specific role and industry. Here are a few different types of Finance Managers:

Financial Planning & Analysis Manager

The Financial Planning & Analysis Manager (FP&A) handles a company’s business forecasting. The FP&A works with data to find financial trends or deviations and uses findings to implement improvement strategies. If  a company employs an FP&A and a Controller, the FP&A will likely take charge of management accounting and the Controller will take the lead on financial accounting. The following are basic FP&A responsibilities:

  • Create financial systems and processes
  • Analyze cash flow and create financial forecasts
  • Analyze internal controls
  • Communicate company cash flow and forecasting with executives and company leaders

Strategic Financial Management

A Strategic Financial Manager plans how a business should use its finances in order to best reach objectives and create value for shareholders. This role involves defining business objectives, identifying resources and developing a plan to best use these resources to meet business goals. Strategic Financial Managers must be able to create processes for data collecting and analyzing and use these methods to analyze differences between a company’s budget and actual spending. This data is used by the Strategic Financial Manager to identify problems and make well-informed financial decisions. The following are basic Strategic Financial Manager responsibilities:

  • Manage a company’s assets and liabilities, including expenditures, accounts receivable and accounts payable, revenues, profitability and cash flow.
  • Evaluate a company’s assets to attain long-term and short-term goals more efficiently.
  • Design and implement processes for collecting and analyzing data
  • Calculate and limit potential risks, including those that could result from currency or commodity price changes and those that could be prevented by implementing workplace policies.

Mergers & Acquisitions Financial Management

A Financial Manager specializing in the field of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) studies industries and uses expertise to combine, divide, buy, sell and restructure companies for better growth opportunities and financial efficiency. M&A Finance Managers gather data on a company’s growth, market share possibilities and competitors to analyze industry prospects. Findings are used to guide the decisions of top level managers. The following are basic M&A Financial Manager responsibilities:

  • Use industry knowledge to buy, divide, restructure, combine or sell companies
  • Gather and use data on a company’s competitors, growth, and market share possibilities to make industry recommendations
  • Communicate strategies for improving efficiency and growth opportunities to upper-level managers
  • Work with legal department to ensure proper protocols and processes are in place and followed

Expansion & Growth Finance Manager

Expansion & Growth Finance Managers use their industry expertise to aid top-level managers in the decision to expand or grow a company. Finance Managers in this field collect company and industry data and use findings to analyze growth and expansion potential. The following are basic Expansion & Growth Finance Manager responsibilities:

  • Design models and data collection methods to collect pertinent company and industry data
  • Use data to analyze potential for growth or expansion
  • Collaborate with legal department to ensure proper processes and protocols are in place
  • Present recommendations and strategies for growing or expanding a company to top-level managers

How to Become a Finance Manager

While taking on a Finance Manager role does not often require certificates or a graduate degree, having a higher education will help you become a more competitive candidate.

If you’re considering graduate school, a master’s degree in Business Administration, Accounting, Finance or Economics can increase your chances of landing a Financial Manager position.

Attaining a professional certificate after completing a four year degree in Finance or a related field is another way to boost your potential as a Finance Manager. The following certificates and programs are beneficial to finance and accounting professionals seeking higher positions:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Attaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from an accredited university is one sure-fire way to boost your career in finance. An MBA program strengthens skills vital to a successful finance career, including leadership, critical thinking, creativity, communication, IT and analytical skills. Adding an MBA to your education can help you stand out to employers, increasing your hiring potential. To be accepted into an MBA program, you must first earn an undergraduate degree and take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). MBA programs typically take two years to complete and include classes in finance, management, accounting, marketing and business law.

Chartered Financial Analyst Certification (CFA)

Holding a CFA will give you more credibility in your field and improve your job prospects. You can apply to receive a CFA certification if you have a Bachelor’s degree or at least four years of professional finance experience. Going through a CFA program will give you specialized skills to take you further in your finance career, such as portfolio strategy, investment analysis and asset allocation. Earning the certificate requires passing three exams administered by the CFA Institute and can take from two to five years to complete.

In general, this is what you can expect from each CFA level exam:

  • CFA Level 1 Exam: Tests knowledge of professional and ethical standards. Most questions test basic comprehension with a focus on investment tools. Some questions might require deeper analysis.
  • CFA Level 2 Exam: Tests the application of professional and ethical standards to common situations faced by analysts. Most questions require critical thinking and analysis.
  • CFA Level 3 Exam: Tests  the application of professional and ethical standards in a portfolio management and compliance context. Questions require combining all concepts and analytical methods learned using a number of applications pertaining to portfolio management and wealth planning.

Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)

To earn a CTP, you must have at least two years of relevant professional experience and pass an exam administered by the Association for Finance Professionals. Having a CTP signifies to potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills required to execute tasks related to capital management, risk management and corporate liquidity. This certificate is most often sought out by individuals in accounting roles, but it can be beneficial to finance professionals, as well.

Leaders vs. Managers: How to Lead in a Management Role

When you take on a manager position, you become the leader of your team. But are you really leading? Leading a team looks different from managing a team, and it’s something everyone who oversees employees should work toward. Transitioning from manager to leader takes time. Wondering where you are on the managing vs. leading scale? Take a look at how you can go from managing your team to becoming a leader.

Go from Managing Work to Leading People

Leaders think of employees as individuals with unique skill-sets and knowledge that can’t easily be replaced. Rather than focusing on creating processes to complete work, leaders build relationships and build upon their team based on existing talents. Another way to think about this? Leaders are coaches, while managers are directors. Leaders see the potential in their employees and work to harness talent in a way that will benefit the company.

Go from Thinking Short-Term to Thinking Long-Term

Managers tend to work toward short-term objectives, while leaders reach for long-term goals. A leader takes intentional steps toward a grand vision, without necessarily receiving rewards or seeing immediate improvements along the way. Managers create objectives for people to achieve, while leaders create visions for people to be part of.

Go from Maintaining Systems to Inspiring Change

Managers adhere to the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They might make small improvements or changes to systems from time to time, but for the most part they like to stick with what is familiar. Leaders are innovators. They are always looking for a better way to do things, even if current systems seem to be working. Leaders aren’t afraid to shake things up, even if doing so causes a temporary mess.

Go from Counting Value to Creating Value

Managers track the value of work being done by their team, while leaders create their own value. Someone managing people might focus too much on whether or not employees are reaching goals. Someone leading people will assign an objective and then move on to his or her own projects.

Go from Improving Existing Skills to Learning New Ones

Leaders are lifelong learners. They work to expand their skills and their way of thinking in order to keep themselves and the company they work for relevant. Managers focus on continuing to grow their strengths, honing in on what has worked well for them so far. Leaders, on the other hand, open themselves up to becoming knowledgeable in fields they might know nothing about.

There are many paths to become a finance manager. At Vested, we help you choose the right one.

This guide to Finance Manager was created by the Vested team. If you are interested in a Finance Manager role, please join us to get matched with opportunities at one of our partner companies.