Work that involves the management of financial resources to ensure cash flow and financial sustainability. It includes budgeting, income and expenditure control, bookkeeping, liquidity management and more.
Scope of Work
Financial managers work with the finances of the organisation. This means they manage money, looking at how to improve income, reduce expenditure, and potential new opportunities and markets.
As part of an organisation, a financial manager will spend time writing and reviewing reports. They will also develop presentations, and look into investments and forecasts. Most financial managers are also responsible for writing activity reports. Many work for banks, insurance firms, financial firms, and large corporations.
Some financial managers work independently. This means an organisation or individual can contract them to advise on investments, super annuation (401k) and more.
What You Need to Learn
- Presentation skills - how to develop and structure a presentation, how to speak in public, negotiation skills
- Bookkeeping/accounting - interpreting profits and losses, financial activity, how to develop and work with a budget
- Research skills - how to access public data and records for potential investments and competitors
- Analysis - how to interpret findings, create projections, develop plans based on current information
- Marketplace dynamics - general knowledge, but also things specific to your industry
- Management skills - how to work with people in your department, delegate
- Business and economic awareness - understanding of different environments, economic effects, and more.
- General legal understanding - awareness of where and how to check legal issues, source advice
- Ethics - manage finances ethically, without compromising self, the company, or shareholders
Starting a Career
There are many pathways into working as a financial manager. While you will need to study to improve your knowledge of bookkeeping and economic environments, there are many ways to get started. These include:
- Volunteering. Most community groups need a volunteer treasurer on their committee - a great way to start to get some experience handling finance.
- Working in retail. People in retail need to develop strong cash-handling skills. As you progress and take on responsibility, you will learn about project management and general bookkeeping on the job.
- Taking on accounting work. This could be as a new hire with on-the-job training, or via a volunteer position. Learning the basics of accounting will help you understand financial reports.
- Interning or work experience at a financial firm. This is an important part of networking, and will help you keep your ear to the ground for new opportunities and openings.
- Starting out in a small business. Small businesses are rich with opportunities for hands-on learning. In these set ups, you could do accounting work one day, or sit in on negotiating a contract the next. They're also a great resource for learning about economic environments and competition within an industry.
- Attend relevant events. These may include money management lectures, trade/investment shows, or anything that will help you network while improving your skills.
There's no wrong way to enter into financial management. Spend time increasing your knowledge with books and courses -- make sure you're confident in your mathematical skills, and get comfortable with working with money. Ensure you take on new opportunities and look for connections.
Progressing a Career
There are many ways to progress your career in the financial management sector. Once you're familiar with the ins and outs of budgeting, reports, research, and analysis, you'll find opportunities across a variety of sectors. Such opportunities include:
- Strategic Analyst - exploring new opportunities for expanding a business, reducing costs for businesses experiencing difficulty, assessing and reviewing the financial climate, and more.
- Auditor - working as an independent reviewer for checking financial records for a company, organisation, or individual. Auditors consider financial health, look for inconsistencies, and consider overall efficiency.
- CFO - a Chief Financial Officer is responsible for a company's overall financial health. This is the head of the financial chain, and involves both financial and administrative supervision.
You may also move from smaller companies to larger companies, or start your own financial management firm.