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Become A Finance Leader

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Working As A Finance Leader

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $132,370

    Average Salary

What Does A Finance Leader Do

Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Duties

Financial managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare financial statements, business activity reports, and forecasts
  • Monitor financial details to ensure that legal requirements are met
  • Supervise employees who do financial reporting and budgeting
  • Review company financial reports and seek ways to reduce costs
  • Analyze market trends to maximize profits and find expansion opportunities
  • Help management make financial decisions

The role of the financial manager, particularly in business, is changing in response to technological advances that have substantially reduced the amount of time it takes to produce financial reports. Financial managers’ main responsibility used to be monitoring a company’s finances, but they now do more data analysis and advise senior managers on ways to maximize profits. They often work on teams, acting as business advisors to top executives.

Financial managers also do tasks that are specific to their organization or industry. For example, government financial managers must be experts on government appropriations and budgeting processes, and healthcare financial managers must know about topics in healthcare finance. Moreover, financial managers must be knowledgeable about special tax laws and regulations that affect their industry.

The following are examples of types of financial managers:

Chief financial officers (CFOs) are accountable for the accuracy of a company’s or organization’s financial reporting, especially among publicly traded companies. As head of a company’s entire financial department, they manage the lower level financial managers. They oversee the company’s financial goals, objectives, and budgets.

Controllers direct the preparation of financial reports that summarize and forecast the organization’s financial position, such as income statements, balance sheets, and analyses of future earnings or expenses. Controllers also are in charge of preparing special reports required by governmental agencies that regulate businesses. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments of their organization.

Treasurers and finance officers direct their organization’s budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee the investment of funds and carry out strategies to raise capital (such as issuing stocks or bonds) to support the firm’s expansion. They also develop financial plans for mergers (two companies joining together) and acquisitions (one company buying another).

Credit managers oversee their firm’s credit business. They set credit-rating criteria, determine credit ceilings, and monitor the collections of past-due accounts.

Cash managers monitor and control the flow of cash that comes in and goes out of the company to meet the company’s business and investment needs. For example, they must project cash flow (amounts coming in and going out) to determine whether the company will have a shortage or surplus of cash. 

Risk managers control financial risk by using strategies to limit or offset the probability of a financial loss or a company’s exposure to financial uncertainty. Among the risks they try to limit are those that stem from currency or commodity price changes.

Insurance managers decide how best to limit a company’s losses by obtaining insurance against risks, such as the need to make disability payments for an employee who gets hurt on the job or the costs imposed by a lawsuit against the company.

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How To Become A Finance Leader

Financial managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and 5 years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as an accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

Education

A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration is often the minimum education needed for financial managers. However, many employers now seek candidates with a master’s degree, preferably in business administration, finance, or economics. These academic programs help students develop analytical skills and learn financial analysis methods and software.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Professional certification is not required, but some financial managers still get it to demonstrate a level of competence. The CFA Institute confers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to investment professionals who have at least a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of work experience, and pass three exams. The Association for Financial Professionals confers the Certified Treasury Professional credential to those who pass an exam and have a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Financial managers usually have experience in another business or financial occupation. For example, they may have worked as a loan officer, accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst. 

In some cases, companies provide formal management training programs to help prepare highly motivated and skilled financial workers to become financial managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Financial managers increasingly are assisting executives in making decisions that affect their organization, a task which requires analytical ability.

Communication skills. Excellent communication skills are essential because financial managers must explain and justify complex financial transactions.

Detail oriented. In preparing and analyzing reports such as balance sheets and income statements, financial managers must be precise and attentive to their work in order to avoid errors.

Math skills. Financial managers must be skilled in math, including algebra. An understanding of international finance and complex financial documents also is important.

Organizational skills. Financial managers deal with a range of information and documents and so they must stay organized to do their jobs effectively.

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Finance Leader jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Finance Director 3.9 years
Finance Controller 3.8 years
Finance Manager 3.7 years
Group Controller 3.7 years
Unit Controller 3.5 years
Finance Supervisor 3.5 years
Finance Executive 3.1 years
Reporting Manager 3.1 years
Finance Leader 3.0 years
Top Employers Before
Controller 7.1%
Accountant 4.3%
Manager 3.5%
Consultant 3.3%
Top Employers After
Controller 6.6%
Consultant 3.5%
Manager 2.9%

Finance Leader Demographics

Gender

Male

58.0%

Female

39.7%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

71.8%

Asian

13.6%

Hispanic or Latino

10.1%

Unknown

3.2%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.8%

Portuguese

6.5%

Chinese

4.8%

Hindi

4.8%

Mandarin

4.8%

French

3.2%

Urdu

3.2%

Italian

3.2%

Russian

1.6%

Hakka

1.6%

Zulu

1.6%

Georgian

1.6%

Japanese

1.6%

Cantonese

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Thai

1.6%

Korean

1.6%
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Finance Leader Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.8%

New York University

8.2%

Villanova University

7.4%

George Mason University

6.6%

Pennsylvania State University

4.9%

DePaul University

4.9%

University of Notre Dame

4.9%

George Washington University

4.1%

University of Southern California

4.1%

University of Texas at Austin

4.1%

Miami University

4.1%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.1%

University of Iowa

4.1%

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

4.1%

Arizona State University

3.3%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.3%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.3%

Southern Methodist University

3.3%

Harvard University

3.3%

University of Houston

3.3%
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Majors

Business

32.0%

Accounting

22.4%

Finance

21.2%

Management

6.1%

Economics

2.9%

Education

2.2%

Computer Science

1.5%

Marketing

1.5%

Project Management

1.4%

Political Science

1.1%

Psychology

1.0%

Health Care Administration

1.0%

General Studies

0.8%

English

0.8%

Business/Commerce

0.8%

International Business

0.7%

Liberal Arts

0.7%

Management Science

0.7%

Communication

0.7%

Computer Information Systems

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

42.0%

Bachelors

41.2%

Other

10.0%

Associate

3.0%

Certificate

2.3%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Finance Leader Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Finance Leader Chegg, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Dec 09, 2016 $200,000
Finance Leader Chegg, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Mar 23, 2015 $200,000
Peoplesoft Financial Lead Sierra-Cedar, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 10, 2014 $170,554
Technical Finance Lead Genentech Inc. South San Francisco, CA Oct 31, 2016 $160,106
SAP Finance Technical Lead Abbott Laboratories Parkersburg, IL Mar 06, 2016 $145,523
Finance Leader, Financial Analysis Mastercard International Incorporated NY Apr 26, 2016 $145,102 -
$150,000
Financial Systems Lead Yelp, Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 27, 2016 $142,000
Financial Systems Lead Yelp Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 10, 2016 $142,000
Finance Leader, Financial Analysis Mastercard International Incorporated NY Jun 08, 2016 $138,375
IS Lead-Financial Accounting and Support Kraft Heinz Foods Company Northfield, IL May 04, 2016 $137,023
Finance Leader, Financial Analysis Mastercard International Incorporated NY Aug 06, 2013 $135,000
Global Personal Lines Financial Planning and Analysis Lead AIG PC Global Services, Inc. New York, NY Mar 28, 2016 $134,070
Global Personal Lines Financial Planning & Analysis Lead AIG PC Global Services, Inc. New York, NY Aug 17, 2015 $134,070
Global Personal Lines Financial Planning & Analysis Lead AIG PC Global Services, Inc. New York, NY May 26, 2016 $134,070
Financial Analysis Cons/Lead Blue Shield of California San Francisco, CA Aug 18, 2015 $120,000 -
$150,000
Finance Consolidation Lead Peabody Energy Corporation Saint Louis, MO Jan 28, 2011 $120,000
Finance Stream Lead Retail Consult LLC Canton, MA Nov 21, 2012 $117,270 -
$160,000
Finance Leader, Financial Systems Mastercard International Incorporated NY Feb 25, 2015 $116,813
IS Lead-Financial Accounting and Support Kraft Foods Group, Inc. Glenview, IL Apr 06, 2013 $116,800
Finance Stream Lead Retail Consult LLC Canton, MA Nov 14, 2011 $115,544 -
$160,000
Oracle Financial Lead Kravet Inc. Bethpage, NY Sep 23, 2013 $115,000
Finance Leader W. R. Grace & Co. Columbia, MD Oct 01, 2014 $112,500
Financial Leader Owens Corning Toledo, OH Sep 01, 2012 $97,200
Finance Lead-Revenue Analysis Barclays Bank Delaware Wilmington, DE Oct 01, 2013 $97,000 -
$135,000
Finance Leader, Global Supply Chain Mastercard International Incorporated NY Nov 21, 2016 $96,741 -
$144,100
Commercial Finance Leader Unifrax I LLC Tonawanda, NY Oct 19, 2016 $95,826
Worldwide Global Financing Strategy Leader IBM Corporation Armonk, NY Nov 20, 2015 $95,576 -
$125,000
Operations Finance Leader General Electric Company-Healthcare Waukesha, WI Sep 30, 2011 $95,000 -
$105,000
Finance Lead Business Planning Barclays Bank Delaware Wilmington, DE Apr 13, 2015 $95,000 -
$130,000
Finance Leader, Global Supply Management Mastercard International Incorporated NY Sep 01, 2013 $95,000

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Top Skills for A Finance Leader

FinancialAnalysisEnsureComplianceGoalSettingExternalAuditorsGeneralLedgerPayrollStrategyPVarianceAnalysisBusinessProcessBalanceSheetFinancialPerformanceProcessImprovementFinancialStatementsCustomerServiceERPGaapBusinessUnitHRFinancialInformation

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Top Finance Leader Skills

  1. Financial Analysis
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. Goal Setting
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed financial analysis and projected profitability for new products.
  • Communicate funding process to business financial managers to help ensure compliance.
  • Worked with Teller Coordinator for staffing needs to include hiring, goal setting, performance reviews and ratings.
  • Prepare and review SEC filings with external auditors, internal and external legal counsel and audit committee.
  • Lead for General Ledger Allocation requirements, setup and testing for facilities, international entities, and shared service allocations.

Top Finance Leader Employers

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