Financial Manager Career Outlook and Salary

Companies of every size need a solid financial plan in order to remain profitable. Unlike private businesses that may use comptrollers, some companies depend on the expertise of financial managers to oversee their investments, develop long-term strategies and prepare financial reports. Financial managers are often employed in the banking and finance, healthcare and insurance industries, as well as by private companies and government agencies.

Typical duties include reviewing financial reports, monitoring accounts, and preparing activity reports and financial forecasts. Financial managers also investigate ways to improve profitability, and analyze markets for business opportunities, such as expansion, mergers or acquisitions.

As the industry becomes more automated, financial managers spend less time producing financial reports and more time conducting data analysis, planning and strategizing, and advising senior managers and top executives.

Additional duties may include:

  • Overseeing the flow of cash and financial instruments
  • Planning and directing the activities of workers in branches or departments
  • Preparing reports as required by law, regulations or company policies
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable laws and procedures

Job Outlook and Salary Range for Financial Managers

Jobs for financial managers are expected to grow by 7% through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That is at the nation’s average projected job growth. Candidates with expertise in accounting and finance, advanced degrees and certifications should have stronger job prospects.

While the U.S. role as an international financial center will create a need for financial managers, as will stockpiles of cash accumulated by U.S. corporations, growth in the portion of the industry that includes commercial and savings banks will be only 5%, the BLS said.

The median pay for financial managers in May 2016 was $121,750, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% had a median salary of $65,000. Though the BLS did not have an exact median salary for the top 10% of earners in the profession, the agency said it was more than $208,000.

Salary potential can be affected by numerous factors, as can employment opportunities. Those factors include regional market conditions, and a candidate’s educational qualifications and work history.

Education and Training for Financial Managers

Most financial manager positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, economics or a related field. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with work experience and/or an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration.

Typically, financial managers are detail-oriented and organized, and have strong skills in math, communication and analysis.

Some financial managers pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, according to the BLS. Certification qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, four years of work experience and passing three exams.

Financial managers may begin their careers in business or financial roles, such as loan officer, financial analyst or accountant. With experience or additional education, it is possible to advance to positions such as financial controller or accounting manager.

Military Occupational Specializations

Servicemembers in a variety of military roles utilize similar skills and knowledge as financial managers in the civilian workplace:

  • U.S. Navy roles include business management, and finance and accounting.
  • In the U.S. Marine Corps, roles include financial management officer.
  • U.S. Army roles include financial manager.
  • In the U.S. Air Force, roles include financial management officer and cost analyst officer.
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