Pulling in average salaries of around $118,000 and commanding a lot of respect, financial managers report high levels of career satisfaction. They’re in increasing demand in a fast-growing market, needed to coordinate company accounting, predict future income, and prepare financial reports. They have to be highly organized, diligent, and good at communicating because they need to make sure that all senior business staff understand the analyses they produce. They also need extensive knowledge of relevant laws and regulations. There’s a lot of competition for these sought-after roles, so if you want one, you’ll have to work for it.

    What employers are looking for

    What do employers seek in a finance manager? There’s no getting around it: they’re usually looking for a degree, and they’ll certainly want to see some impressive qualifications. They’re also looking for people who cope well under stress and are not afraid of long hours, as finance managers often have to work overtime during busy periods. They want people who have the skills and confidence to manage busy departments and motivate others during those challenging periods, and at the top end, they want people who can not only manage day-to-day matters but can also assess the wider markets and make suggestions that help their companies to improve their financial standing over the long term.

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    Getting qualified

    The easiest way to secure yourself a finance manager role is to begin by getting a good degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related discipline. This is a lot more straightforward than it used to be, and it’s something that you can do at any stage in life. If getting to college is impractical for you because of work or family commitments, you can earn an accounting degree online from Maryville or a similar institution. You can also take short courses to enhance the value of your qualification, as it’s generally easier to get into a role like this if you have a specialism. This will enhance your appeal to companies wanting to strengthen their work in particular areas, and will also show that you’re genuinely interested in finance and can relate it to the real world, rather than just looking for a lucrative opportunity.

    Working your way up

    If getting a degree doesn’t work out, there is another option for getting a job like this, and that’s to work your way up. If you’re good with numbers, there are often entry-level finance jobs available in banks and accountancy companies, and you can learn as you go – this is a profession in which experience counts for a lot. Companies like this often offer training and are keen to help their employees sharpen up skills that can be useful to them over the years. You might be able to progress to a management position in the same company or move to another when the right opportunity presents itself. Again, it’s advantageous to develop a specialty, so look out for opportunities to do extra work in areas where you’d like to learn more, but make sure that you still get the broad overview of financial processes that you’ll need to convince people you can handle management.

    Internships and mentoring

    If you’re in the process of getting qualified and want to improve your chances of landing a good job, the best option is to find an internship. This is a fantastic way to hone your skills and make the theoretical practical; it’s also a really good way to make an impression on potential employers and develop some good contacts. Whether you’re mentoring or just starting out in an entry-level role, this is a sector that places a big focus on mentoring, and if you can find the right person to help you develop your skills, you can go far, so never miss a chance to network and get to know people.

    Improving your prospects

    If you’re still in the early stages of seeking a finance career, there are short-term things that you can do that can significantly boost your prospects. Look out for a treasurer’s position in a local club or society – you won’t get paid much, but you’ll gain familiarity with handling money and with simple accounting tasks that will make you more appealing to prospective employers. If you’re not able to get a paid position straight away, consider lending your finance skills to a charity – people with these skills are always in demand, and even if you can only do the basics, you’ll be welcomed, and get a useful reference to use when you apply for paid jobs.

    These may be small steps, but they all make a difference. Take enough of them and you could get that finance manager job you’ve always wanted.

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