What Is the Role of a Financial Manager? A Complete Guide
Updated 9 July 2022
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Financial managers can help companies create fiscal forecasts, analyse financial data and mitigate monetary risks. If you are skilled at mathematics and working alongside others, you might enjoy a career in financial management. Knowing more about the roles and responsibilities of a finance manager will help you decide on this career option. In this article, we will discuss what is the role of a financial manager and outline the steps you need to take to become one.
What is the role of a financial manager?
The role of a financial manager is to oversee the financial health of an organisation. They generate financial reports, direct investment activities and create an organisation's long-term financial goals. They are often responsible for analysing fiscal data and advising senior managers on any opportunities to maximise profits. Some of their specific responsibilities include:
Maintaining cash flow by reviewing banking activity and reconciling monthly reports
Developing and interpreting databases and financial models
Managing the company budget to maximise revenue and identify potential areas for savings
Promoting process improvements in specified budget areas
Implementing report production, productivity and quality standards
Qualifications for a finance manager
There are several qualifications required to get a position as a finance manager, including:
Much of the training for this role happens in entry- or associate-level positions. While pursuing a college education, students can also seek internship opportunities with local businesses to apply their classroom knowledge and learn skills on the job. An internship also allows you to network with local professionals who may help you find a job later.
Some employers prefer candidates to have certain certifications. You can choose to complete a certification in corporate financial management, global economics or portfolio management. After graduating with a degree of B.Com, you can pursue the Chartered Accountancy (CA) certification course conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Another useful certification is the globally recognised Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Earning the CFA certification will help you secure a job in global companies that have branches in India. You must have a bachelor's degree and four years of relevant, full-time work experience to pursue a CFA certification.
Read more: Understanding the CFA Exam
Employers often require that candidates for the role of a financial manager have at least a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting. That is why it is always a good idea to complete your 10+2 with subjects like accounting, finance and economics. Then you can pursue a degree in finance or accounting. The coursework typically includes topics like financial planning, portfolio management and securities. Students who enter accounting or business administration programmes study similar topics as well as microeconomics and finance principles.
You can also choose to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance or a related subject. Alternatively, you can complete a master's or doctorate degree in a related discipline, such as economics or finance. During your studies, you will learn about global financial markets, financing models, financial theory, corporate financial management and finance research.
There are several skills necessary to succeed in the role of a financial manager, including:
Communication skills: Both verbal and written communication skills are essential for financial managers. You should have the ability to clearly explain complex financial transactions and concepts. You also need to create written reports and communicate with employees and the senior management via email.
Analytical skills: Analytical skills refer to the ability to gather and analyse information, problem-solve and make a decision. Financial managers use these skills when gathering and analysing data to help executives make choices or plans that can affect an entire organisation.
Numeracy skills: Basic math skills and the ability to express problems and ideas using numerical information are important to financial management roles. You must be skilled in maths and have an in-depth understanding of international finance and complex fiscal documents.
Organisational skills: Financial managers often need to work on multiple projects, data sets and assignments simultaneously. You should know how to organise your tasks and efficiently use your time, energy and mental capacity.
Attention to detail: To reduce the likelihood of errors, you must be precise and attentive as you prepare reports, income statements and other fiscal documents.
Related: What Is Inductive Reasoning? (With Types and Examples)
How to become a finance manager
Here are the four steps to becoming a financial manager:
1. Attend school past grade 10
Pursue higher secondary education. Financial managers need to complete their secondary education to get into college. Stay with your secondary education classes through grades eleven and twelve. Alternatively, you may be able to pursue other options, such as taking A levels.
2. Pursue higher education
Aspiring financial managers can pursue multiple types of university education programmes. Many of these programmes require candidates to clear certain admission tests, such as the National Test for Programs After Twelfth (NPAT) exam. Here are the types of university programmes to consider if you want to become a financial manager:
Get a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject. Students who want to become finance managers often study topics related to finance, such as economics or accounting. Some students may instead pursue a degree in the social sciences, such as psychology, politics or sociology.
Earn a Bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA). Many aspiring finance managers decide to earn a BBA in finance. This can help you learn about both the monetary and social aspects of managing a business.
Pursue a dual bachelor's and master's business programme. Some schools offer a BBA and MBA integrated course, aka a dual degree programme. This accelerated programme gives students the chance to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in less time than usual.
3. Gain experience
Gain experience in business and finance. While pursuing a degree, look for internship opportunities where you can gain practical experience in the financial industry. If you are a recent graduate, seek entry-level or associate-level roles in finance. Look for opportunities in small businesses, which are sometimes more willing to consider recent graduates for associate-level roles.
Keep in mind that a finance manager is an advanced position at most businesses. You may need to work full time for a few years before becoming qualified for most finance manager roles.
4. Consider advanced education or certificates
Consider earning a master's or doctorate degree in finance, business administration or a related field. Although not required, an advanced degree or certification can show a candidate's proficiency at complex financial tasks. Certifications and advanced degrees may also show a candidate's diligent work ethic and desire to advance rapidly.
Related: Accounting Questions and Answers for an Interview
Financial manager salary
Financial managers earn an average base salary of ₹7,75,407 per year. However, your salary can vary depending on many factors, including your years of experience, geographic location and education level. For example, at some of the top companies, a financial manager can receive an average annual salary of over ₹12,00,000.
FAQ about financial managers
Here are some frequently asked questions about finance managers:
What are the roles and responsibilities of a finance manager?
Financial managers handle a business's overall financial well-being. They gather and analyse an organisation's financial data in order to create financial reports, long-term plans and monetary goals. A financial manager's specific responsibilities vary based on many factors, such as their specific role within the company. Here are some roles and responsibilities of the different types of finance managers:
Controllers: Controllers create a variety of financial reports that summarise an organisation's existing finances and predict financial situations in the future. A controller often also supervises a business's audit, budget and accounting departments.
Risk and insurance managers: Risk or insurance managers try to reduce and mitigate financial risks, damages or losses. Strategies developed by risk or insurance managers may include changing business insurance plans or capital investments.
Treasury and finance officers: A treasury or finance officer develops tactics for raising capital, meeting financial goals and investing funds. They also devise fiscal plans for acquisitions or mergers.
Related: Business Letter Format and Examples
What are the three major functions of a financial manager?
Three of the primary responsibilities of a financial manager are:
Evaluating financial data. A finance manager collects and analyses a company's financial data. Financial data may include an organisation's return on investment (ROI), capital investments or operational expenses.
Making financial documents. Financial managers write and distribute internal documents based on their data and findings, such as reports, statements and forecasts.
Advising senior managers. A finance manager offers financial advice to supervisors, company leaders and other major stakeholders within an organisation.
How important is the role of the finance manager?
A financial manager is critical to a business's success. They help organisations make informed and data-driven financial decisions. They often often work closely with other leaders within the company, such as branch managers, chief officers, supervisors and other company stakeholders to help plan the company's long-term goals and projects.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.
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