What Are Finance Manager Responsibilities? (Plus Traits)

Updated 31 January 2023

Finance managers supervise a company's financial operations to optimise business performance. They play an important role in ensuring that a company is financially robust and act as advisers and analysts to help increase revenue. If you want to work in financial management, learning about this role may help you achieve your career goals. In this article, we discuss a finance manager's responsibilities, outline the role's required qualifications and describe key traits that can bring career success.

Related: 16 of the Best Paying Jobs in Finance (Including Salaries)

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What are a finance manager's responsibilities?

A finance manager's responsibilities include directing an organisation's financial management operations and overseeing financial reporting. These professionals plan budgets to maintain a company's financial health. They also advise management on how to acquire and allocate assets to achieve desired business outcomes. The following tasks outline what a finance manager typically does:

Execute financial management duties

As a finance manager, your primary role is to administer financial management duties that promote growth and success for a business while fulfilling legal and compliance requirements. These duties include producing financial data, generating reports, analysing financial trends and evaluating the financial status of the organisation. Successful managers are typically those who implement effective financial practices that contribute to a company's fiscal goals.

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Direct financial operations and development

These professionals lead operations and development in a company's finance department. They supervise the finance team to ensure employees make positive contributions to support business growth. Their tasks include planning departmental policies, hiring and training employees and assessing financial processes while ensuring these business functions are operationally sound.

Oversee financial statements

Producing monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports for budgets, expenses and accounts is an important aspect of a finance manager's role. To perform this function effectively, they ensure statements comply with tax and financial reporting standards. When overseeing the preparation of these documents, they use their expertise to complete account reconciliation so that the data reflected is accurate.

Advise management on financial decisions

An organisation's senior executives may rely on finance professionals for financial advice when making important business decisions. This requires finance managers to analyse the company's financial performance and suggest areas for improvement. They may also review the company's business objectives and make projections for its monetary goals. The insights they gain from these activities may allow them to provide recommendations that contribute to the company's income and profits.

Develop strategic business plans

Creating strategic business plans is often a requirement of a finance manager. Individuals in this role typically analyse a company's financial status by monitoring key business metrics and performance indicators. They then use this information to develop strategies to enable the company to achieve desired business outcomes.

Related: 14 of the Highest-Paying Finance Jobs (With Duties)

Supervise budgeting and forecasting

Financial managers also oversee budgeting and forecasting. By estimating revenue, expenses and expected cash flow, finance managers help the company plan how to optimise its resources over a budgeting period. They also use historical data to predict financial outcomes so management executives can anticipate potential risks and devise ways to overcome them.

Identify and lead cost performance initiatives

Individuals who manage company finance may provide insights into how to drive cost savings and improve efficiency. They may lead cost performance discussions and identify ways to reduce costs and increase revenue. To perform this duty competently, finance managers analyse trends and explore opportunities that lead to organisational efficiencies and synergies.

Manage financial accounting, monitoring and reporting systems

To perform the role of a financial professional effectively, you may supervise financial accounting, monitoring and reporting systems. Finance managers may use their technical expertise in financial reporting and data mining tools to ensure these systems work efficiently. Reviewing the performance of such methods and making suggestions for improvement may also form part of their remit.

Liaise with stakeholders and auditors

Some organisations may expect their financial managers to manage stakeholders' expectations in relation to financial performance. When assessing the potential risks that a company's financial activities might generate, financial professionals may communicate this information to investors to uphold transparency and accountability. They may also manage the audit process and liaise with external auditors on financial matters.

Comply with regulations and policies

Many companies rely on their finance executives to ensure their operations comply with regulatory requirements and accounting policies. A company's stakeholders may expect these professionals to have adequate knowledge of guidelines from various financial regulatory bodies. Successful finance department leaders are usually familiar with finance-related laws and regulations.

Related: Finance vs. Accounting: Definitions and Differences

Qualifications for a finance manager role

To execute the required responsibilities, finance managers often hold a bachelor's degree and several years of relevant experience in finance or accounting. Some pursue a master's degree to gain specialised knowledge to perform their job more effectively. Others seek relevant finance certifications to boost their capabilities and develop their expertise.

Companies hiring for this role may prefer candidates with a degree in one of the following fields:

  • accountancy

  • finance

  • business studies

  • management

  • economics

  • mathematics

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Finance manager work environment

Depending on the type of company and industry you aim to work in, you may have a range of responsibilities as a finance manager. Those working in small businesses may oversee all financial operations, while individuals who serve large corporations may specialise in specific aspects of finance, such as cash management or financial reporting.

Finance is an essential function for commercial corporations, non-profit organisations and the public sector. The work that finance professionals do supports other departments to ensure that the organisation operates smoothly. Finance managers may work for the following organisations:

  • banks and financial services companies

  • insurance companies

  • investment and brokerage firms

  • manufacturing companies

  • health care organisations

  • charities and volunteer welfare organisations

  • tertiary institutions

  • foundations

  • government ministries

  • statutory boards and agencies

Related: What Is a Finance Analyst? (With Skills)

Traits of a successful finance manager

Accomplished finance managers usually have advanced quantitative skills and relevant work experience that allow them to fulfil job demands competently. The following are typical traits of a successful professional in this role:

Analytical thinker

Making effective financial decisions often requires these executives to perform in-depth analysis. Successful finance executives usually have strong analytical and quantitative skills that can help them make decisions that lead to positive business outcomes. They can also refine large quantities of data into information that's useful for making these decisions.

Skilled forecaster

Predicting performance, profits and risks for a business require these professionals to be skilful in forecasting. Apart from analysing historical data, they also consider economic prospects and industry trends. Finance professionals who perform this function require excellent business judgement for accurate forecasting.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Finance Resume Objective

Swift decision-maker

The availability of time-sensitive investment opportunities may require finance department leaders to make important decisions quickly. Effective leaders typically demonstrate excellent decision-making skills so that they can take swift action to achieve a company's business goals. Business owners and other stakeholders can also trust these finance leaders to make decisions that maximise benefits.

Effective communicator

Communicating financial data and its implications requires finance leaders to have competent communication skills. These executives process information quickly and transmit it effectively to others. They can also give direction and convey finance-related information with conciseness and clarity.

Strong problem-solver

Financial executives usually have sound problem-solving skills that enable them to manage challenging situations. They can use their business acumen to determine the reasons for issues arising and devise ways to resolve them. They also implement solutions, evaluate their effectiveness and adjust plans where necessary.

Outstanding negotiator

It's usual for financial leaders to interact with colleagues from various departments in the business. When handling challenging situations, they may apply their negotiation skills to overcome such issues and achieve the best results. Competent finance professionals in this role can negotiate in a way that builds positive relationships and achieves optimal outcomes.

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