What is a Financial Manager?

Do you love working with numbers? Are you a good communicator and planner? You may want to consider a career as a financial manager!

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.

What does a Financial Manager do?

Financial managers monitor a company’s finances, as well as perform data analysis and advise senior managers on ideas to maximize profits. They often work as part of a team, assisting in making decisions that affect the organization, a task for which they need analytical ability and excellent communication skills.

A financial manager going over some reports at his desk.

The role of the financial manager, particularly in business, is changing in response to technological advances that have significantly reduced the amount of time it takes to produce financial reports.

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 find opportunities for expansion or for acquiring other companies
  • Help management make financial decisions

Financial managers perform tasks that are specific to their organization or industry. For example, government financial managers look after government appropriations and budgeting processes, whereas healthcare financial managers oversee all aspects of finance for hospitals, physicians’ groups, managed care facilities, and other medical providers.

The following are examples of types of financial managers:

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.

Treasurers - direct their organization's budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee the investment of funds. They 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 the firm's credit business. They set credit-rating criteria, determine credit ceilings, and monitor the collections of past-due accounts.

Risk management specialists - control financial risk by using hedging and other 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 due to 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, and any costs imposed by a lawsuit against the company.

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 not have enough cash (and will need a loan), or will have more cash than needed (and can invest some of its money).

Are you suited to be a financial manager?

Financial managers have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if financial manager is one of your top career matches.

Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Financial Manager like?

Financial managers work closely with top executives and with the company departments that specifically provide the data that financial managers need.

They can be found working in a variety of environments, including both public and private sectors, such as multinational corporations, retailers, financial institutions, NHS trusts, charities, manufacturing companies, universities, and general businesses.

Financial Managers are also known as:
Finance Officer Credit Manager Cash Manager Insurance Manager Lending Manager