Bureau of Labor Statistics

Financial Managers

financial managers image
Financial managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization.
Quick Facts: Financial Managers
2019 Median Pay $129,890 per year
$62.45 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2018 653,600
Job Outlook, 2018-28 16% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-28 104,700

Summary

What Financial Managers Do

Financial managers create financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Work Environment

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for financial managers was $129,890 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of financial managers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, 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.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for financial managers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of financial managers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about financial managers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Financial Managers Do

Financial managers
Financial managers perform data analysis and advise senior managers on profit-maximizing ideas.

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.

Duties

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.

Work Environment

Financial managers
Financial managers work closely with top managers and with departments that develop the data that financial managers need.

Financial managers held about 653,600 jobs in 2018. 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
Government 7
Manufacturing 6

Financial managers work closely with top executives and with departments that develop data needed for analysis.

Work Schedules

Most financial managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Financial Manager

Financial managers
Financial managers usually have experience in another business or financial occupation such as a loan officer, accountant, auditor, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

Financial managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and 5 years or more of experience in another business or financial occupation, such as an accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

Education

Financial managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration. However, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a master’s degree in those same fields. These disciplines help students learn analytical skills and methods.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although it is not required, professional certification indicates competence for financial managers who have it. The CFA Institute confers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to investment professionals who have at least a bachelor’s degree or 4 years of work experience, or a combination of experience and education, and who pass three exams. The Association for Financial Professionals confers the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) credential to those who have at least 2 years of relevant experience or 1 year of experience and a graduate degree in business, finance, or a related field. This association also confers the Certified Corporate Financial Planning Analysis Professional (FP&A) credential to those who have a bachelor’s degree or who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program with a finance-related major and will graduate within 2 years. Both credentials require passing an exam.

Certified public accountants (CPAs) are licensed by their state’s board of accountancy and must pass an exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Financial managers usually have experience in another business or financial occupation. For example, they may have worked as a loan officer, accountant, securities sales agent, or financial analyst.

In some cases, companies provide management training to help prepare motivated, skilled financial workers to become managers.

Advancement

Experienced financial managers may advance to become chief financial officers (CFOs). These executives are responsible for the accuracy of an organization’s financial reporting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. To assist executives in making decisions, financial managers need to evaluate data and information that affects their organization.

Communication skills. Financial managers must be able to explain and justify complex financial transactions.

Detail oriented. In preparing and analyzing reports, such as balance sheets and income statements, financial managers must be precise and attentive to their work in order to avoid errors.

Math skills. Financial managers need strong skills in certain branches of mathematics, including algebra. Ability to understand international finance and complex financial documents also is important.

Organizational skills. Because financial managers deal with a range of information and documents, they must have structures in place to be effective in their work.

Pay

Financial Managers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Financial managers

$129,890

Operations specialties managers

$120,960

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for financial managers was $129,890 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $68,370, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for financial managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $152,810
Management of companies and enterprises 145,280
Manufacturing 130,900
Finance and insurance 125,600
Government 114,250

Most financial managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook

Financial Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2018-28

Financial managers

16%

Operations specialties managers

10%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Employment of financial managers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, growth will vary by industry.

Services provided by financial managers, such as planning, directing, and coordinating investments, are likely to stay in demand as the economy grows. In addition, several specialties within financial management, particularly cash management and risk management, are expected to be in high demand over the decade.

In recent years, companies have accumulated more cash on their balance sheets, particularly among those with operations in foreign countries. As globalization continues, this trend is likely to persist. This should lead to demand for financial managers, as companies will need expertise in managing cash.

There has been an increased emphasis on risk management within the financial industry, and this trend is expected to continue. Banking institutions are expected to emphasize stability and managing risk over profits. This is expected to lead to employment growth for risk managers.

The credit intermediation and related activities industry (which includes commercial and savings banks) employs a large percentage of financial managers. As bank customers continue to conduct transactions online, the number of bank branches is expected to decline, which should limit employment growth in this sector. However, employment declines are expected to mainly affect clerical occupations, such as tellers, rather than financial managers. From 2018 to 2028, employment of financial managers is projected to grow 13 percent in this industry.

Job Prospects

About 64,900 openings for financial managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who exit the labor force, such as to retire, and from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations.

Candidates with expertise in accounting and finance—particularly those with a master's degree or certification—should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for financial managers, 2018-28

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Financial managers

SOC Code11-3031
Employment, 2018653,600
Projected Employment, 2028758,300
Percent Change, 2018-2816
Numeric Change, 2018-28104,700
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of financial managers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2019 MEDIAN PAY
Accountants and auditors

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records.

Bachelor's degree $71,550
Budget analysts

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances.

Bachelor's degree $76,540
Financial analysts

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions.

Bachelor's degree $81,590
Insurance sales agents

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

Insurance Underwriters

Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications and decide whether to provide insurance, and under what terms.

Bachelor's degree $70,020
Loan officers

Loan Officers

Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.

Bachelor's degree $63,270
Personal financial advisors

Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors provide advice to help individuals manage their finances and plan for their financial future.

Bachelor's degree $87,850

Contacts for More Info

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

Association for Financial Professionals

For information about the Chartered Financial Analyst program, visit

CFA Institute

For more information about the certified public accountant designation, visit

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

CareerOneStop

For a career video on financial managers, visit

Financial Managers, Branch or Department

For a career video on treasurers and controllers, visit

Treasurers and Controllers

O*NET

Financial Managers

Financial Managers, Branch or Department

Treasurers and Controllers

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 10, 2020

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Managers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm (visited July 30, 2020).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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