Steps to Becoming a Successful Financial Manager (2024)

Becoming a financial manager is one of the most challenging career paths, due to the extremely specialized nature of the field. Aspiring managers start by earning bachelor's and master's degrees in their specialty. Competition for jobs is fierce, so graduates must take whatever related job they find. Once he joins the industry, a new manager must network extensively to obtain more desirable jobs. Additional licensing and certification is also required to ensure rapid career advancement.

Basic Credentials

  1. A bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, economics or finance is the minimum credential for careers in this industry, according to an overview from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, employers want recent graduates with master's degrees in those fields. These academic programs teach financial analysis methods and technology, as students develop the analytical skills required for career success. Prospective managers must also display a broad understanding of business, since they must interact with many different departments, and develop strong communication skills to explain complex data.

Developing Contacts

  1. Experience is as important as formal education in launching a financial management career, bank portfolio manager Chad S. Hanco*ck states in a summary on Illinois State University's website. Competition for entry-level jobs is stiff -- particularly in specialized fields like investment management, where new hires have typically held several other jobs, and earned master's degrees, Hanco*ck says. To beat those odds, graduates should take any job to gain a foothold in the industry. Only then can a new employee develop the relationships needed to learn about openings or promotions that advance her career.

Licensing and Certification

  1. Once in the field, financial managers must continually upgrade their skills through professional licensing and certification, which makes rapid advancement more likely. Obtaining the certified public accountant's credential is one of the most common symbols of this phenomenon, the bureau notes. Getting these designations is not easy, because many require additional education and training levels. For example, investment professionals looking to become chartered financial analysts must have a bachelor's degree and a relevant work history, and must pass three difficult exams to get the credential. In many instances, the manager must commit himself to a continuing education program to maintain a specific credential.

Solving Problems

  1. Solving problems goes hand in hand with an analytical mindset. From a financial manager's standpoint, all activities are part of business processes that add costs, according to a summary by the M. Wood Company. Managers constantly evaluate those processes to determine how much value goes to the bottom line. Knowing how these are valued is an essential skill, because the financial manager's determination affects how the public perceives the company. Successful managers need a grasp of risk management and internal controls, as well as how to measure returns on net assets, and set fair prices on company assets.

Steps to Becoming a Successful Financial Manager (2024)
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