How To Become A Financial Manager

4 minutes   |  CAREER ADVICE, FINANCE

A Financial Manager is responsible for the financial health of an organisation, regardless of the industry. As an efficient Financial Manager, you have every responsibility to ensure the financial decisions a company makes are upholding tax and business regulations while ensuring the decision is the most cost-effective move to make.

Financial_Manager_CPP_GetSmarter_blog_desktop

Financial_Manager_CPP_GetSmarter_blog_mobile

As the official backbone of a company’s finances, do you have the varied certificates and qualifications, updated knowledge and specialisations to get your career up and running as a Financial Manager in this fiercely competitive market?

Besides the obvious of working with numbers, a Financial Manager job description includes the requirement of having a variety of different skills, from having a knack for law and regulations, and effective communication and leadership skills, to being compliant and tax savvy, there are many things to consider before employers hire a Financial Manager.

Cathmaré Coetzee_how_to_become_a_financial_manager_getsmarter_blog_desktop

Cathmaré Coetzee_how_to_become_a_financial_manager_getsmarter_blog_mobile

Successful Financial Managers have the following attributes when filling a Financial Manager role:

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Fully understand all business workings
  • An analytical and questioning mind
  • Professional communication skills
  • Ability to coach and mentor
  • Strong financial knowledge regarding accountancy and tax law
  • Adaptability and embracing change

Cathmaré Coetzee, Group Financial Manager of GetSmarter, had this to say about the functions of a Financial Manager, with focus on her experience in this continually-changing industry:

“The Financial Manager role is very industry- and company-specific, but a general trend developing is to obtain functional skills beyond your usual qualifications. There is a need for more technical know-how with every being digital – basically, you’re expected to continually update yourself to find more efficient ways of budgeting, forecasting and completing financial analysis.”

 

What are the key responsibilities of a Financial Manager?

The Financial Manager’s role includes carrying out varied responsibilities since the Financial Manager definition includes both managing colleagues and overseeing every financial transaction and decision.

The key responsibilities of a Financial Manager include making an impact in the following three key areas: 

Financial Management
  • Fully understand the fundamentals of income, expenses and profit and loss
  • Drafting cash, operational and flexible budgets and financial statements for sole traders, partnerships, close corporations and companies
  • Measuring and evaluating financial performance by examining both the long- and short-term financial goals of a firm, as well as the various methods of analysis

Want these skills?

Compliance Management
  • Apply risk management and internal controls, as well as measure returns on net assets, and set fair prices on company assets
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable laws and procedures
  • Articulate legal principles of corporate governance, and drive the need for compliance courses in your organisation

Want these skills?

Tax Management
  • Controlling the taxation of businesses, penalties and interest, VAT, capital gains tax, and the self-assessment system of taxation
  • Overseeing tax planning, systems and controls, and organising fiscal documents
  • Resolve and deal with income tax laws disputes and communicate the legal implications of tax fraud and evasion

Want these skills?

 

Financial Management
  • Fully understand the fundamentals of income, expenses and profit and loss
  • Drafting cash, operational and flexible budgets and financial statements for sole traders, partnerships, close corporations and companies
  • Measuring and evaluating financial performance by examining both the long- and short-term financial goals of a firm, as well as the various methods of analysis

Want these skills?

Compliance Management
  • Apply risk management and internal controls, as well as measure returns on net assets, and set fair prices on company assets
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable laws and procedures
  • Articulate legal principles of corporate governance, and drive the need for compliance courses in your organisation

Want these skills?

Tax Management
  • Controlling the taxation of businesses, penalties and interest, VAT, capital gains tax, and the self-assessment system of taxation
  • Overseeing tax planning, systems and controls, and organising fiscal documents
  • Resolve and deal with income tax laws disputes and communicate the legal implications of tax fraud and evasion

Want these skills?

What is the career path of a Financial Manager?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for financial managers are expected to grow by 19% through to 2026 equivalent to 37, 700 new available positions.1

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says Financial Manager jobs are expected to grow by 19% by 2026… Click To Tweet

As more businesses expand globally, the demand for Financial Managers increases rapidly. However, although many Financial Managers often start off in the same space, many will move on to different sectors altogether after a couple years of experience in the field.

“The people I studied with, we all started out on the same path. Often in a BCom degree, completing articles and then end up in very different sectors which will determine what further studies or Financial Manager courses you’ll need. You could become a Software Developer, or get into Financial Analysis or Forecasting, but the sectors change so rapidly, continuous improvement is a need.”

Cathmaré herself studied a Bachelor of Commerce in Mathematics, a second Bachelors in Accounting, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting. She then completed her CIMA in Management Accounting and received her ACCA qualification, completing her articles at BDO South Africa.

Cathmaré Coetzee_how_to_become_a_financial_manager_getsmarter_blog_desktop2 Cathmaré Coetzee_how_to_become_a_financial_manager_getsmarter_blog_mobile2Most Financial Managers will have at least five years experience behind them before being appointed to management level, and study further certificates or Financial Manager courses to gain more accreditation before being promoted.

“Financial Manager has the word ‘manager’ in it for good reason – you need to have a certain type of personality to manage people, and when it comes to Financial Management, you need to especially love change – in terms of your team, the industry and the company –  if you’re not willing to adapt you’ll fall behind, and it’s a big problem if your company is not changing.”


Related Content: Hear more about the role of a Financial ManagerOperationsManager_PinkButton


 What is the potential salary of a Financial Manager?

Experience is a big deciding factor when it comes to the salary of a Financial Manager. Those in securities and commodity exchanges and other investment activities like trusts and portfolio management often receive higher Financial Manager salaries.2

Click on a country to see what you can expect to see for the salary of a Financial Manager in either South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America:

  • RSA
    Entry-Level R280,000
    Mid-Career R480,000
    15 Years Experience R800,000
  • UK
    Entry-Level £22,000
    Mid-Career £35,000
    15 Years Experience £65,000
  • USA
    Entry-Level $46,000
    Mid-Career $71,000
    15 Years Experience $110,000

What are the education and training requirements for a Financial Manager?

Cathmaré Coetzee_how_to_become_a_financial_manager_getsmarter_blog_desktop1

Cathmaré Coetzee_how_to_become_a_financial_manager_getsmarter_blog_mobile1A Financial Manager will be expected to have a sufficient Bachelors degree often specialising in a subject like Maths, Accounting, Finance or Economics. This is usually a four-year degree and, most Financial Managers will not be hired straight out of university without experience in a related organisation.

After completing her articles at BDO South Africa in the role of Trainee Accountant, Cathmaré moved on to become an Audit Supervisor to Contractor and finally, Group Financial Manager at GetSmarter.

Once in the field, Financial Managers are expected to continually upgrade their skills through Financial Manager courses, certification and licensing, if their company requires it. Promotion and growth are often more likely if Financial Managers keep themselves relevant with the changing times by going for updated Financial Manager training.

“Something that I like to live by is ‘nothing great is achieved in your comfort zone’ – you need to be continuously evolving, looking for challenges, love change and create an environment where the team you manage loves change too and to grow and evolve.”


Which skills do you need to advance in your career as a Financial Manager?

Financial Manager_UCT_Accounting_getsmarterFinancial_Manager_CTA_UCT_getsmarter_basics_of_financial_management Financial_Manager_CTA_UCT_getsmarter_tax_law Financial_Manager_CTA_UCT_getsmarter_cost_and_management_accounting Financial_Manager_CTA_Managerial_finance_LSE_getsmarter Financial_Manager_CTA_Fintech_programme_getsmarter

1Bureau of Labor Statistics
2Chron