What you need to know
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.
Financial managers work in many industries, including banks and insurance companies. Most financial managers work full time, and about 1 in 3 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.
Some of the things a financial manager might do:
- 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
- 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.
The average pay for financial managers in the United States ranges from $67,620 to $208,000 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of financial managers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, 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.
Candidates with expertise in accounting and finance—particularly those with a master’s degree or certification—should enjoy the best job prospects.
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.