Finance Director: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for finance directors. Get the facts about education and certification requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Finance Director Do?

Finance directors are responsible for maintaining financial operations of companies and other organizations. They help develop long-term financial goals for their organization and develop strategies to reach them. Finance directors also produce various financial statements and reports, oversee investment activities and advise management on different financial decisions. They closely watch the market to watch for new ways to maximize profits, as well as search the organization for ways to reduce costs. They also make sure that the organization is complying with all legal requirements. Most of these professionals manage teams of financial employees and monitor their work. The table below offers some key information about this career, including education requirements, responsibilities and the job outlook.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Finance, accounting or related discipline
Certification Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Treasury Professional credential available but not required; Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential required for some positions
Key Responsibilities Financial forecasting and modeling, budget preparation and staff supervision
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% for all financial managers
Median Salary (2015)* $117,990 for all financial managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Finance Director?

A finance director is a mid- to upper-level management professional who oversees an organization's financial operations and affairs. These professional's duties include financial forecasting and modeling, budget preparation and staff supervision. They also perform various accounting activities, such as managing accounts receivable and payable.

What Education Do I Need?

A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting or a related discipline and 5 years or more of work experience are the common minimum requirements to work as a finance director. Some employers prefer or may require applicants with master's degrees in business or finance.

A baccalaureate program in finance generally provides training in accounting, statistics, financial management, financial reporting and financial analysis. Coursework in investment management, macroeconomic analysis, financial markets, and mergers and acquisitions may be covered in your master's degree curriculum. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available online.

Do I Need Certification?

Obtaining certification is optional but it shows the applicants' skills and professional capabilities so some choose to take the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Treasury Professional credentials. Employers may also prefer or require that you become or are a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Additionally, if you are involved in certain financial activities, you may be legally required to obtain certification. CPA certification is provided by state boards. You usually must pass the National Uniform CPA Examination to become certified.

If your duties include serving as an investment adviser, you may be required to obtain multiple financial securities licenses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that investment advisers must register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (www.bls.gov). As an investment adviser, you may also be required to take licensing examinations such as the General Securities Registered Representative Examination or the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination.

What Salary Can I Earn?

As of May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the annual median salary for financial managers was $117,990. It also reported that this profession was expected to grow 7% during the 2014-2024 decade.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Loan officers, personal financial advisors and budget analysts are all closely related positions that typically require a bachelor's degree. Loan officers review all kinds of loan applications from individuals and/or businesses. They usually recommend whether the loan should be approved or not. Personal financial advisors work with individuals to manage their personal finances. They may advise their clients on retirement, mortgages, college savings and more. Budget analysts specialize in making budgets and monitoring spending for different organizations. They may work in the public or private sector.

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