How To Become A Finance Manager (With Skills And FAQs)
Updated 25 March 2023
Finance managers use analytical skills and financial knowledge to help ensure that companies remain fiscally viable. Various companies and businesses rely on these managers to supervise, and coordinate their finances, making it a lucrative career option. Learning how to become a finance manager can help you determine whether it is the right career decision for you. In this article, we explain what a finance manager is, outline the steps to become one, list their essential skills, describe their work environment and provide some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
What Is A Finance Manager?
A finance manager oversees a company's financial health by supporting the management team, handling tax responsibilities, creating budgets and advising clients. These managers analyse various reports and data to maximise the company's profit. Finance managers use reports, presentations and budgets to share the company's financial health. As they primarily work with company owners and managers, they are essential to the finance department. A part of their job involves creating detailed quarterly financial statements and reports to ensure the proper allocation of funds. Some job responsibilities of a finance manager are:
Planning, executing and organising financial projects, and tasks
Preparing financial statements and reports for senior executives, and company owners
Using financial reports and statements to advise senior management on key financial decisions
Analysing financial statements to reduce the potential cost
Researching market trends and competition
Directing investment opportunities and activities
Overseeing the performance of other employees in the finance or accounting department
Ensuring compliance with tax laws and other financial regulations
Identifying and minimising financial risks
Reviewing market trends to understand more about the industry and identify ways to grow the company financially
How To Become A Finance Manager?
Learn how to become a finance manager using these steps:
1. Research the industry
Use career websites and industry resources to learn about financial management. Before considering this career, understand the typical job functions and pathways to ensure your skills, and interests align with your goals. Network with existing finance managers to find out their job duties and responsibilities. Your undergraduate professors can provide key insights to help you make the right career decision.
2. Complete your 10+2
The completion of your 10+2 or equivalent is the first step towards becoming a finance manager. Most employers favour candidates with a bachelor's degree and qualifications in finance or economics in their 10+2. Choose commerce streams and opt for subjects like maths, economics and accounting to gain basic knowledge in this field. Enroll in various online or offline courses to increase your knowledge of microeconomics, financial planning, securities and general business.
3. Obtain a university degree
Most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting or related areas. You can gain the basic knowledge you require to start your career through courses such as Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Arts in accountancy (BA), Bachelor of Economics (BEc) or Chartered Accountancy (CA). After obtaining your bachelor's degree, earning a postgraduate degree may increase your chances of securing a job.
Obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Commerce (MCom) to develop your skills further. While undergraduate courses usually take three to four years to finish, postgraduate courses typically take two years.
4. Earn certifications
While no specific certifications are essential for finance managers, completing one shows your proficiency, dedication and commitment to your career. Official qualifications can also help to differentiate you from other candidates, increasing your chances of securing a job. Recognised certificates include Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). To choose the certification you want to pursue, research the requirements to sit for the exam and the career path best served by the certification. Each certification has its own set of qualifications.
5. Gain relevant work experience
While studying your university degree, consider applying for an internship. Relevant internships give you experience and an excellent introduction to the industry, allowing you to make valuable contacts. Companies often offer jobs to candidates doing internships with them. Consider working in insurance sales or as an underwriter, loans officer, personal financial advisor or budget analyst to obtain relevant experience. The related experience can prepare you for a finance manager role and help you meet the certification requirements. This experience looks impressive on your resume and can differentiate you from other candidates.
Skills Of A Finance Manager
Here are some finance manager skills:
Working in a managerial role requires excellent written and verbal communication skills. The ability to explain complex financial matters so others can understand them is essential for this role. Finance managers use written communication skills to write regular and detailed reports for senior management.
Finance managers require strong mathematical skills to analyse data and write reports. Numeracy skills allow you to explain problems or ideas using numerical information. Employers typically prefer finance managers who understand the stock market to help them fulfil their job duties.
Finance managers require superior critical thinking skills to strategise a company's assets, expenditures and income to achieve business goals. These skills are also helpful when developing financial plans. For instance, when businesses take on new projects, finance managers create comprehensive financial plans.
Finance managers typically lead a company's finance department and oversee a team of analysts, and accountants. Employers often prefer managers who display strong leadership skills. This skill set helps finance managers coordinate projects, allocate tasks and inspire team members to excel.
Strong accounting knowledge is ideal because you may start your journey in an accounting role. Proficiency in accounting helps in budgeting and finance calculations. This skill set also helps you solve accounting and finance-related queries.
Attention to detail
Being detail oriented is necessary when working with company finances. Errors in computing and in handling financial data can cause businesses to lose money. Employers usually expect you to have excellent attention to detail skills, especially when analysing data and creating a financial forecast. Organisation is essential for finance managers when handling large amounts of data, numbers and reports.
Work Environment Of A Finance Manager
Finance managers work in various sectors and industries, such as finance, government, manufacturing, professional services and insurance. They also work for large investment companies and banks. Most of these managers work full time, or at least 40 hours weekly, Monday through Friday. Depending on the industry, some managers may work more than 40 hours per week. They work in offices using computers, scanners, printers and other office equipment.
Finance Manager FAQs
Here are some FAQs about finance managers:
How long does it take to become a finance manager?
Typically, employers prefer finance managers to have at least five years of experience in a related field. High-level finance managers may complete their post-graduation in business or finance. The timeline to become a finance manager depends on the bachelor's and master's courses you pursue. While there is no strict path to becoming a finance manager, your commitment determines your career trajectory. A strong work ethic and excellent financial knowledge are essential for this role. Staying up to date with the latest financial trends and upskilling yourself may also increase your growth potential.
In what industries do finance managers work?
Finance managers typically work in the following areas:
Funds acquisition and investment
The roles of these managers depend on the industry where they work. For instance, a finance manager's role in the manufacturing industry differs from that in a professional services company.
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