The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Finance Manager

Published on: 25 Oct 2018
financial manager hero

Have you got a noggin for numbers? You have a deep understanding of business performance and an established track record in finance?

If you are an aspiring finance manager you will need to know finance systems like a footballer knows the pitch. You’ll have to be analytical, organised and have excellent leadership and decision-making skills.

Still think this is for you? Read this guide to find out what is involved…

What is a Finance Manager?

  • Job Description

    As the financial decision maker of the company, you will be responsible for saving the company money by tracking all of the financial activity within the business. You’ll be working closely with senior management to ensure that cash flow is stable. You’ll need to use information to develop financial strategies, whilst managing a team of accountants.

  • Hours of Work

    As a financial manager, you’ll be working usual office hours: 5 days a week. You won’t be expected to work weekends or public holidays, but longer hours may be required when working towards deadlines. As you are the manager, you will have to continue working until the job is done – which could sometimes fall into your evenings.

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will your main responsibilities be as a Finance Manager?

    Duties typically include:

    • Creating and executing business plans
    • Providing financial information
    • Monitoring cash flows
    • Managing budgets
    • Managing staff
    • Producing financial forecasts and reports
    • Recording financial transactions

Key Finance Manager qualifications

Do you have the qualifications to get the job?

It is possible to work your way up in this career without having a degree, however higher education is desired. Some subjects you could consider are maths, business, statistics, finance or economics. A postgraduate degree isn’t essential but will enhance your CV.

You could also think about taking an accounting or bookkeeping qualification. Before becoming a finance manager you must be a qualified accountant, with some management experience. This can be gained whilst building your career and working within the finance industry.

It is also beneficial to have a membership of a professional body such as ACCA or IFA.

financial manager education

Vital Finance Manager skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role.

Aside from great leadership skills, and strong numeracy abilities, you’ll need to have the following skills to succeed as a brilliant finance manager:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving ability
  • Time management
  • Ability to work towards deadlines
  • Negotiation
  • Quick decision making skills
  • Analytical
  • Presentation skills
  • Ability to prioritise
  • Organisational skills
  • Ability to adapt to new technological approaches

What is a Finance Manager’s salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

You can expect a starting salary of £24,000 to £35,000, which can rise to £45,000 with experience – sound appealing? It gets even better once you’ve proved yourself in this career. Highly experienced finance managers can earn over £65,000. You sort out the company’s finances, and the company will sort out yours! Sounds like a fair deal.

financial manager salery

How to become a Finance Manager?

Now that you know what a Finance Manager does, how do you become one?

First thing’s first – you will usually need to start out your career as an accountant and gain experience before working your way up. There are many routes you can take to do this:

  • Gaining accountancy qualifications within a company – some companies will sponsor your qualifications whilst you are working for them. You will need A Levels to take these qualifications.

  • Grad scheme – if you have recently graduated, there are many companies that will take on graduates and train them up. It’s a great experience and often offers fast track schemes to management level roles. From there you can continue to work your way up.

  • You could also think about doing internships and placements whilst studying. This will allow you to gain experience and enhance your CV for when you begin your career.

How to develop your Finance Manager career?

The next step for you is to progress to a finance director of the company. This won’t happen overnight though; you’ll need to serve several years as a finance manager before proving you are capable.

Or, you could move to a larger organisation with a bigger team and more responsibility, which will challenge you.

If you feel as though by now you have served your time in the finance sector, you could move in to another type of management role such as HR. This will also prove to be a new challenge. You may need to take further courses in the field that you wish to move into.

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