What Financial Managers Do
Financial managers create financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
Financial managers work in many industries, including banks, investment firms, and insurance companies. Most financial managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to Become a Financial Manager
Financial managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and 5 years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.
The median annual wage for financial managers was $129,890 in May 2019.
Employment of financial managers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Several functions of financial managers, including cash management and risk management, are expected to be in high demand over the decade.
Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They create financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.
Financial managers typically do the following:
- Prepare financial statements, business activity reports, and forecasts
- Monitor financial details to ensure that legal requirements are met
- Supervise employees who do financial reporting and budgeting
- Review financial reports and seek ways to reduce costs
- Analyze market trends to maximize profits and find expansion opportunities
- Help management make financial decisions
Financial managers spend much of their time analyzing data and advising senior managers on ways to maximize profits. They often work on teams, acting as advisors to top executives.
Financial managers must have knowledge of the topics, tax laws, and regulations that are specific to their organization or industry. For example, government financial managers must be experts on appropriations and budgeting processes; healthcare financial managers must understand billing, reimbursement, and other business matters related to healthcare.
The following are examples of types of financial managers:
Controllers direct the preparation of financial reports that summarize and forecast an organization’s financial position. These reports may include income statements, balance sheets, and analyses of future earnings or expenses. Controllers also are in charge of preparing reports required by governmental agencies that regulate businesses. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments of their organization.
Treasurers and finance officers direct an organization’s budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee investments and other plans to raise capital, such as issuing stocks or bonds, to support their organization’s growth. They also develop financial plans for mergers (two companies joining together) and acquisitions (one company buying another).
Credit managers oversee an organization’s credit business. They set credit-rating standards, determine credit limits, and monitor the collections of past-due accounts.
Cash managers monitor and control the flow of money into and out of an organization to meet business and investment needs. For example, they must project whether the organization will have a shortage or surplus of cash.
Risk managers use strategies to limit or offset an organization’s chance of financial loss or exposure to financial uncertainty. Among the risks they try to limit are those arising from currency or commodity price changes.
Insurance managers decide how to limit an organization’s losses by protecting against risks, such as for disability payments to an employee who gets hurt on the job or for costs imposed by a lawsuit against the organization.
Financial managers held about 697,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of financial managers were as follows:
|Finance and insurance||30%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||14|
|Management of companies and enterprises||11|
Financial managers work closely with top executives and with departments that develop data needed for analysis.
Most financial managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of financial managers.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records.
Budget analysts help public and private organizations plan their finances.
Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions.
Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$50,940|
Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications and decide whether to provide insurance, and under what terms.
Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.
Personal Financial Advisors
Personal financial advisors provide advice to help individuals manage their finances and plan for their financial future.
For more information about financial managers, including certification, visit
Global Academy of Finance and Management
For information about the Certified Treasury Professional and the Financial Planning and Analysis Professional designations, visit
For information about the Chartered Financial Analyst program, visit
For more information about the certified public accountant designation, visit
For a career video on financial managers, visit
For a career video on treasurers and controllers, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Managers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm (visited ).