Financial Manager Job Description and Salary

There are numerous careers to choose from if you have a passion for numbers. While some folks use their degree in finance to become a financial analyst, others prefer a role in a management position. Becoming a financial manager is the perfect career for those who wish to showcase their finance and leadership skills simultaneously.

Throughout this career guide, you’ll learn more about what a financial manager does and how these duties differ from other careers in finance. We’ll provide you with further insight on how to become a financial manager on your own and the potential annual pay you could expect for doing so. Keep reading to learn more about whether or not becoming a financial manager is right for you.

Financial manager working with a team of office employees

What Is a Financial Manager?

A financial manager is responsible for overseeing the entire financial department. Specifically, financial managers are there to manage client reports, monitor investment activity and ensure the company stays on track of spending within its predetermined budget. These financial professionals work in a variety of industries including, but not limited to banks, insurance offices, investment firms, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

What Does a Financial Manager Do?

From directing investment activities to analyzing real estate market trends, the duties and responsibilities of financial managers can be both broad and specific. Some are so specialized that they usually are part of a specific role. For example, a cash manager primarily deals with the ongoing flow of money into (and out of) an organization.

In contrast, a risk manager deals with more analytic tasks, helping their employer make smart decisions related to investments so they can develop strategies and plans for the future. Additionally, because this is a management position, there are several daily duties that other finance professionals may not have to endure. Throughout a typical workday, a financial manager may be expected to:

  • Collect and analyze financial records;
  • Monitor industry trends to see what new initiatives (like the recent banking software) competitors are implementing into their financial strategy;
  • Create, review and enforce a company budget;
  • Closely monitor company cash flow for discrepancies;
  • Educate the other finance personnel on department standards and processes;
  • Make forecasts addressing the future of the company’s financial state;
  • Monitor, report and prevent financial risks.

While there are a lot of responsibilities, those in this position are expected to possess the skills needed to complete these duties more efficiently. Read below to learn about the requirements for becoming a financial manager.

How To Become a Financial Manager

As with most management positions, earning a degree of some kind is ideal, but not always required. However, it’s strongly encouraged you earn a degree despite this because doing so will help you obtain all of the necessary skills needed to succeed in this role.

Best Degrees for Financial Managers

Generally speaking, employers require at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in finance. They may consider a degree in management in accounting or economics. As long as you can prove you have the necessary knowledge, the specific degree you obtained doesn’t matter as much.

Note that while a bachelor’s degree in finance-related matters may be sufficient for some employers, the competitive nature of this position makes a master’s degree worthwhile. Earning your master’s in business administration is a great way to expand on the existing skills you gained while earning your bachelor’s in finance, giving you the business leadership experience you may not have gained otherwise.

Organizations seeking a financial manager typically prefer that candidates come from experience, ideally multiple years of professional experience in a work environment. Candidates with a master’s degree — preferably in business administration, economics or accounting — may be given priority because the credential corroborates their capabilities, competency and overall aptitude. Between a bachelor’s degree, master’s and relevant work experience, it can take 10 years or more to become a financial manager.

Financial Manager Certifications and Continuing Education Opportunities

What may further set aspiring financial managers apart from their competitors is special licensing or certification. For example, the CFA Institute offers programs if you’re looking to become a Chartered Financial Analyst. Similarly, the Association for Financial Professionals offers its own licensing. Whereas a certified treasury professional requires two years of work experience — among other qualifications — you must have at least four years of experience to earn a CFA designation.

Skills Needed To Be a Financial Manager

In addition to the book smarts that are attainable with a degree from a college or university, financial managers should also have certain non-academic skills that can help them do their jobs more effectively.

Here are a few qualities that businesses like to see from financial managers:

  • Communication skills;
  • Detail-oriented;
  • Highly organized;
  • Proficient in technology;
  • Analytical skills;
  • Leadership skills;
  • Excellent number literacy;
  • Problem-solving;
  • Willingness to learn.

Some of these skills may come naturally, while others are learned while earning your degree toward becoming a financial manager. Be sure to discuss with future employers what skills they expect out of their employees to ensure the ones you possess are suitable for that position.

How Much Do Financial Managers Make?

As mentioned above, the type of degree you have may affect your annual pay as a financial manager. Additionally, financial managers frequently work long hours, but are typically well paid for their efforts. According to the BLS, as of May 2022, financial managers earn between an estimated $79,050 and $203,720 annually.

The BLS also reports that the anticipated career outlook for financial managers is expected to grow by an outstanding 17%, which is high compared to other finance career outlooks. The report goes on to explain how this increase is partially due to the growing economy — as it grows, so does employment in this position.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in finance is a great way to start your career as a financial manager. You can elevate your career by earning a master’s in accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business. Take the first step and talk to an admissions expert today to see if our financial manager degree program is right for you.



CFA Institute, “CFA Homepage”

Association for Financial Professionals, “Certification”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022: Financial Managers”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Financial Managers