What does a Finance Manager do?
The role of Finance Manager is a fundamental part of a finance function and plays a key part in overseeing the financial health of an organisation. A Finance Manager is responsible for the day to day running of financial operations, financial planning and analysis, balance sheet ownership, procedures and controls, as well as ad-hoc projects and requests as and when they arise.
Key Skills needed to succeed as a Finance Manager:
Being technically and analytically minded;
Being able to communicate financial analysis to non-finance stakeholders;
Commercial & business awareness;
Possessing strong interpersonal relation skills;
A high attention to detail and accuracy; and
Are there any similar roles to a Finance Manager?
You can specialise in specific pillars of finance as a Finance Manager. A number of examples are listed below:
Commercial Finance Manager
Reporting Finance Manager
Group Finance Manager
European Finance Manager
Project Finance Manager
Each role will target a particular area of finance, enabling you to expand your skills and specialism within that pillar.
How do I become a Finance Manager?
Individuals can progress into a position as Finance Manager from a number of entry routes, all of which have excellent potential for developing further, on to more senior roles long term.
As a starting point, an undergraduate bachelor's degree in the following subjects would be highlighted as particularly advantageous, as this will give you a solid grounding of knowledge and establish your critical thinking skills:
Accountancy or Finance
An alternative to obtaining an undergraduate degree from university is to study the AAT qualification which covers all the main areas of accountancy and tax. To begin your career in an accounts department as an accounts assistant/assistant accountant or junior accountant, whilst studying, is a very popular route for industry led Financial Accountants. This particular route can help give you essential practical experience in order to learn the hands-on fundamentals of accounting and business while studying for your qualifications.
From either the degree route or the AAT route, you can gain a competitive edge and progress further in your career by studying the ACCA professional qualifications giving you the official status as an Associate of Chartered Certified Accountants or the CIMA qualification (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).
Another progressive route for successful graduates is to join an Accountancy Practice straight from university where you will work as an Audit Associate and complete reports and produce year-end Audits on multiple companies at any one time. This requires a technical mind and strong organisational skills. Whilst working for the practice, it is very common for an individual to continue studying via the ACA qualifications, which on completion, will give you the official status of an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Becoming qualified within ACA will give you great base to build from and is considered to be one the most advanced learning and professional development programmes in Finance.
Typical Job Spec for a Finance Manager:
The Finance Manager will need to work collaboratively at every level within the organisation. Relevant candidates will need to be hands on to understand the mechanics of the business. Above all, they must have the ability, capacity and enthusiasm to grow with the business on a journey over the coming years.
Preparation of monthly management accounts journals, bank and balance sheet reconciliations;
Production of management accounts and management accounts pack;
Evaluate and improve the internal financial audit procedures and controls;
Deliver an effective credit control system;
Manage company cash flow;
Maintenance of cash books, fixed asset register, reconciliation of the nominal ledger, and closing of the nominal ledger at month and year end;
Lead, manage, develop and motivate a small finance team;
Prepare year-end accounts;
Prepare and submit the quarterly VAT return in advance of the relevant deadline; and
Ad-hoc project work.
Fully qualified accountant (ACA/CIMA/ACCA) or Qualified by Experience;
Experience of year end, budgets and extensive management accounts experience, with ability to demonstrate significant improvements identified and made;
Strong system skills; and
Relevant industry experience.