Finance Manager Qualifications And Skills (With Tips)
Updated 4 September 2023
Finance managers oversee a company's financial health, and ensure its fiscal sustainability by assisting the chief financial officer (CFO) and other executives in making informed financial decisions. If you have a numerical aptitude and enjoy working in a collaborative environment, a career as a financial manager might suit you. Knowing more about the role's eligibility requirements can help you decide whether to pursue it. In this article, we provide an overview of the position, discuss finance manager qualifications, and skills and share tips to help you advance your managerial career in finance.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
What Is A Finance Manager?
Finance managers handle a business's budget, tax preparation and other financial matters. They may hold other job titles such as finance officer, treasurer or financial controller. The role involves analysing and presenting the financial strengths and weaknesses of the company to senior managers, exploring opportunities for increasing revenue and reducing costs and identifying and eliminating financial risks. They work closely with the chief executives, and other members of the finance and accounting departments. While the job is prevalent across industries, the largest employers of financial managers are banks, insurance, investment and fintech companies.
Finance Manager Qualifications And Skills
Job requirements may vary based on the role, seniority and company. Here is a list of typical finance manager qualifications that can help you secure a suitable position and advance your career:
Most employers require financial managers to hold at least a bachelor's degree. While there are no restrictions on the specialisation, choosing a bachelor's course in accounting, finance, economics or other business-related fields can help you later in your career. Generally, most bachelor's degrees take three to four years to complete, depending on the course and specialisation. They also often include a final year project and internships at local businesses.
While it is possible to secure a role as a financial manager with only an undergraduate degree, most employers require senior finance managers to hold an advanced degree. As the finance manager role involves leading and supervising other junior employees, employers look for candidates with a master's degree in business administration, finance, accounting or economics. A postgraduate degree helps you acquire advanced skills in your area of specialisation, and demonstrates to future employers that you have the training and skills to take on a managerial role.
While professional certifications are not mandatory, obtaining one increases your likelihood of securing a job or promotion. Certifications are an excellent way to improve your practical knowledge of financial planning by learning about the latest tools, techniques and methodologies. They also demonstrate your skills and expertise in the field to potential employers, helping distinguish your profile from other candidates. Here are a few certifications you can pursue:
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Chartered Accountant (CA)
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Certified Fund Specialist (CFS)
Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
Chartered Investment Counsellor (CIC)
Chartered Market Technician (CMT)
Most of these certifications require candidates to hold a bachelor's degree or be in the final year of their undergraduate programme to be eligible for the corresponding exams. Additionally, some certifications require you to have prior work experience. For example, the Chartered Accountant (CA) certification requires candidates to have at least two and a half years of apprenticeship under a qualified CA. Ensure you check your preferred certification's eligibility criteria before applying for it.
Generally, most companies require finance managers to have at least a few years of relevant work experience in related roles. Companies often promote internal finance team members based on their performance and seniority to the finance manager role. Most finance managers begin their career in entry-level finance jobs like:
Investment banking analyst
Insurance claims adjustor
Finance Manager Skills
Besides educational and certification requirements, employers often expect potential candidates to have the following skills to advance to the finance manager role:
The actual list of technical skills required varies depending on the role, position and industry. Here are some technical skills that can help you perform various duties as a finance manager:
Month-end account preparation
Budget management and review
Business planning, reporting and forecasting
Financial risk mitigation
Financial trend prediction
Preparing annual statutory accounts
Submitting tax returns and liaising with external tax specialists
Strategic and analytical skills
The job of a finance manager goes beyond reading and tallying financial statements. It also focuses on data and financial analysis to provide valuable insights that assist senior executives in making strategic financial decisions. Strong analytical skills help you comprehend and analyse financial reports, helping you get a clear idea of the company's financial performance. Financial reporting, budget forecasting and studying market trends are a few job duties that require strong analytical skills.
Most financial services providers rely on modern technology to provide their customers with an enhanced and superior experience. Most job duties of finance managers are performed using cloud accounting applications so that data is available and accessible across multiple platforms. Staying up-to-date with new, and emerging technologies and finance software tools can help you perform various job duties efficiently and assist your team members in navigating these tools.
Financial management is a fast-changing field. Understanding, and adapting to new financial regulations and the constant advancements in technology can help you stay relevant in the workplace. Additionally, a keen presence of mind and quick thinking skills can help you create unique and innovative solutions to workplace challenges.
Honesty and ethics
The role of a finance manager requires strict compliance and adherence to numerous regulations, guidelines and laws. Integrity and honesty can help you earn the trust of your employer and other team members. Openness and transparency in your communications can also help you gain a reliable workplace reputation.
Robust communication skills
Irrespective of whether you work in a client-facing or an internal role, strong communication skills can help you progress in your career. Finance managers often interact with other departmental team leaders and senior executives. They constantly communicate with the chief executives, and board members and help them make the right financial decisions to support the company's growth. Strong communication skills can help you transform complicated financial reports into easy-to-understand presentations that you can share with other team members and senior executives. Finance managers require active listening skills to understand and solve the problems of other finance team members.
Empathetic leadership skills
Finance managers lead a team of junior, and senior accountants, finance officers and other employees. Honing your managerial skills can help you build strong and positive workplace relationships. With organisations expanding globally, understanding the cultural differences between team members can help you empathise and provide appropriate guidance to help them perform their tasks efficiently.
Finance managers work across several industries like banking, investment, insurance, travel, healthcare, education and manufacturing. Knowing more about your work sector or industry helps add value to your employer. When working in entry-level finance roles, consider seeking the support of a senior manager or mentor. Work with them to understand more about the company and sector and improve your industry-specific knowledge. Another alternative is to continue your professional education by enroling in courses that help you stay up-to-date with industry and regulation changes.
Tips To Succeed In Your Career As A Finance Manager
Here are a few tips to help you succeed in your finance managerial role:
Most employers require finance managers to have at least five years of experience in relevant roles. Gain the necessary knowledge and build your finance managerial skills by applying for entry-level positions after graduation. You can consider interning at an accounting firm, bank, insurance company or the finance department of a multinational corporation while still in college. This experience can benefit you while applying for promotions in financial management.
Learn to prioritise
As a finance manager, you are likely to handle multiple projects and lead different teams simultaneously. Organisational and time management skills can help you complete your tasks efficiently without getting overwhelmed. Learn to prioritise tasks based on their urgency and impact so that you can complete critical tasks without missing deadlines.
Financial management is a rapidly changing industry with multiple new regulations and laws. A passion for lifelong learning, and a commitment to staying updated with the latest changes in your industry can help you stay relevant and in demand in the workplace. Attending industry events, and joining finance-related committees can help you network with other experienced employees in the field and learn from them.
Accept new ideas
As a finance manager, you are likely to hear multiple opinions and ideas from different team members. Evaluate these different viewpoints objectively and be flexible to adopt them. Accepting new ideas can help make your team more innovative and efficient.
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