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How to Become A Financial Manager

How to Become a Financial Manager

Financial managers are in-charge of maintaining the financial health of an organization. For this purpose, they create financial reports, develop long term plans for financial goals, direct investment activities and periodically review financial reports.

If you are interested in this high powered career, you might find the following guide of use. It provides career, salary and requirements details, along with a discussion on how to become a financial manager.

Should I Become a Financial Manager?

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial managers held around 653,600 jobs in the US in 2018, with the largest employer being the finance and insurance sector. These managers typically work closely with the company’s top executives and enjoy an important position in any organization. The work schedule of most financial managers requires full time work, with some putting in even more than 40 hours per week.

The following table provides a quick look at the job of a financial manager and what it requires and pays.  

Education Required

Bachelor’s Degree

Major Requirement

Finance, Accounting, Economics or Business Administration


Certification recommended but not mandatory


5 Years or More

Key Skills

Analytical skills, communication skills, math skills, organizational skills and attention to detail

Annual Mean Salary (2018)


Job Outlook (2018-28)

16% (Much faster than average)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The job outlook for financial managers is quite bright, with an expected growth of 16% in the years from 2018 to 2028. Though this growth will vary largely from industry to industry, it is likely to stay high in most cases. This is because the services provided by financial managers, such as planning, analyzing, directing and coordinating investments will stay in demand for a long time to come, especially in times of economic growth.

In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on risk management, with banking institutions focusing on stability and risk management over profitability. This will likely increase opportunities for financial managers.

The top paying industry for financial managers is Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities, paying an annual mean wage of $209,160 in 2018. The top paying state for this occupational category was New York, paying $210,510 in annual mean wages for 2018. New York was followed by New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware.

The state with the highest level of employment for financial managers was California, with 81,350 jobs, followed by New York, Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts.

Steps to Become a Financial Manager

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

This is the minimum level of education required to become a financial manager. You may choose to major in finance, business administration or accounting.

Step 2: Get a Master’s Degree (Optional)

Even though this is not a mandatory requirement, it is still highly recommended, as most employers prefer candidates with advance education credentials. A master’s degree can be completed in subjects such as economics, business administration or finance.

Step 3: Get Some Work Experience

Financial managers are high level personnel that require a solid understanding of the financial markets before they can be appointed to this position. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends experience as a loan officer, accountant, financial analyst or a securities sales agent.

Step 4: Get a Professional Certification (Optional)

Getting a certification can show high levels of competency and proficiency. You can go for a certification like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) offered by the CFA institute.

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