How Do You Become a Financial Manager?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who want to become a financial manager will need a bachelor’s degree related to finance, economics, accounting or business administration. Keep in mind that most organizations prefer candidates with a master’s degree in the above mentioned majors.

Acquire a Bachelor’s Degree

The bare minimum education requirement for financial managers is a bachelor’s degree related to finance or accounting. Other educational majors, such as business administration, are acceptable as long as they involve finance and accounting classes. The most basic class in these programs is financial accounting, which examines how to analyze financial statements as well as understand the underlying measurement concepts. Students learn how to use these reports to make sound business decisions. Advanced financial accounting classes will emphasize current issues in financial valuations, inventories and income measurements. Managerial accounting will provide students with opportunities to perform cost-benefit analyses, so they will know how to analyze cost-volume relationships and apply ratio analyses to financial statements.

Gain Work Experience

Aspiring financial managers must accumulate relevant work experience to be considered for employment. Most financial managers begin their careers in positions related to financial analysis or accounting supervision. A financial analyst will be responsible for revenue, decision and strategic modeling creation. They assist in the preparation of the company’s quarterly budget goals and annual operating budget reports, so they must submit detailed analyses of revenue forecasts and departmental budgets. They must also assess actual operating results by identifying key financial issues and quantifying forecasted results. Working as an accounting supervisor will enable job candidates to learn how to present budget and project summaries. It will also allow them to gain experience automating management reporting and financial business processes through incorporating new technological solutions.

Acquire a Master’s Degree

Employers prefer job candidates with advanced educations, so earning a graduate degree will improve job prospects and contribute to career advancement. A master’s degree in finance, economics or business administration is ideal. Typical programs will include at least two classes on statistics, which will introduce students to the collection and organization of data through concepts like variability, basic probability and probability distributions. Introductory classes on microeconomics will center on the individual activities of products, consumers and organizations. Basic macroeconomics will study the economy as a whole, so students will learn about things like inflation, government expenditures, the banking system and the Federal Reserve System.

Obtain Professional Certification

Active job seekers who want to become financial managers can increase their marketability through obtaining voluntary professional certification that will demonstrate their high level of proficiency and competency. Job seekers should consider becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) because financial managers usually work in accounting departments. The CPA credential is very prestigious, but the four-part Uniform CPA Examination, which is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, is quite hard. As an alternative, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential, which is offered by the CFA Institute, is recommended for people with a bachelor’s degree and adequate work experience.

Related Resource: Jobs Available with an Accounting Degree

In order to become a financial manager, job seekers should also stay up to date on current regulatory standards and proposed changes. Industry seminars and conferences are a good way to keep up with current financial management issues.