Certified Financial Manager: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for certified financial managers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, certification and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Financial Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Financial Manager?

Certified financial managers are responsible for overseeing investment, cash-related and administrative activities to ensure a company's financial health. As a certified financial manager, you'll be responsible for preparing financial statements, monitoring finances, reviewing reports and analyzing market trends. You'll also assist management in making financial decisions. You may be in charge of directing budgets, controlling financial risk or obtaining insurance.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a certified financial manager.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree is common
Education Field of Study Accounting, business administration, economics, finance
Key Responsibilities Prepare financial statements, analyze and forecast company finances, supervise financial reporting and budgeting workers, ensure company's financial details meet legal requirements
Certification Certification required depending on position
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%*
Median Salary (2015) $117,990*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Responsibilities as a Certified Financial Manager?

As a certified financial manager, you will oversee a variety of administrative, investment and cash-related activities for businesses and other organizations. Your specific responsibilities will vary with your job title and employer.

If you serve as a treasurer for an organization, your duties may include managing budgets and fundraising activities. If you work as a controller, you may be responsible for financial forecasting and analysis as well as developing financial reports. As a cash manager, you may manage receipts, cash flow projections and disbursements for an organization. Other potential job titles include credit manager, international banking manager and finance officer. Since a certified financial manager is trained to supervise and engage in different types of financial transactions, there may be varying amounts of overlap in responsibilities among job titles.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while many financial managers have master's degrees, the minimum educational requirement for most is a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Degree programs that are consistent with this profession include those in accounting, business administration, economics and finance.

A bachelor's degree program in finance may include course topics in foundational finance principles, such as microeconomics, accounting, macroeconomics and statistics. You may also learn about corporate finance, investments, financial analysis and business strategy.

Master's degree coursework may provide advanced training in corporate acquisitions, investment management, mergers, speculative markets and market analysis. Bachelor's and master's degree programs are offered through campus-based and online course delivery methods.

Do I Need to Obtain Certification?

Your certification requirements will depend on where you work. If you work in an accounting department, the BLS reports that this may be considered an accounting position, which usually requires that you become a certified public accountant (CPA). CPA certification is facilitated by the American Institute of CPAs and is administered through state licensing boards. To obtain the credential, you must pass the national Uniform CPA Examination (www.aicpa.org). Other CPA certification requirements apply and will vary among states.

For non-CPA-related positions, professional certification may not be required by government agencies but may be required or highly recommended by employers. Professional certifications are offered through many trade associations, such as the Association for Financial Professionals and the CFA Institute. To become certified, you may be required to meet education and experience requirements in addition to passing an exam.

What Will My Salary And Job Outlook Be?

The BLS reports that the annual median salary of financial managers was $117,990 as of May 2015. Your specific salary will depend on numerous factors, such as your experience and your degree level. Employment for financial managers was projected to increase seven percent from 2014 to 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

After obtaining a bachelor's degree, you may consider becoming an accountant, financial analyst or budget analyst. Accountants analyze financial health and management and may specialize in areas such as taxes or budgeting. Financial analysts provide investment advice to companies and individuals using data gathered from analyzing financial trends. Budget analysts create reports for officials to use to decide how to organize and distribute a company's finances.

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