Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Financial Manager

Job Description:

Financial managers oversee the financial health of an organization by preparing financial statements, analyzing market trends, and guiding important investment decisions. They develop strategies and plans to maximize profits and meet the long-term goals of a business or organization. Financial managers are employed in a number of industries, including finance and insurance, management of companies and enterprises, professional, scientific, and technical service, manufacturing, and government.

Financial managers must have strong analytical, communication, math, and organizational skills, and hold at least a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration. Many employers favor candidates with a master's degree in finance, economics, or business administration. Although not required, some financial managers obtain professional certification. The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Association for Financial Professionals offer certification to qualified investment and treasury professionals.
Median Salary:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top paying states for Financial Managers in 2012 were New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, and District of Columbia. The states with the highest level of employment of financial managers were California, New York, and Texas. The BLS also reports that job growth for financial managers will be slowed by employment declines in the depository credit intermediation industry which includes banking and savings institutions and is the number one employer of financial managers. However, employment of self-employed financial managers is expected to grow 20% from 2010 to 2020.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 9% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Financial managers play an important role in a vital industry. Overall, job growth in the financial industry is expected to continue upward, and financial managers with international expertise may find increased opportunities as the U.S. grows its local economy and maintains its status as a financial super power. An overwhelming majority of financial managers work in finance and insurance, according to the BLS. In much smaller numbers, professionals in this occupation also work in management of companies and enterprises, professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and government. Through the year 2020, a projected decline in commercial banking and savings institutions will affect the job growth of financial managers, driving the workforce to consider self- or alternative employment.

Continuing Education:

The job market for financial managers can be extremely competitive, so continuing education can provide an advantage to those looking to set themselves apart with professional skills. The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business established the certified management accountant (CMA) designation, for instance, as one of several universally recognized certifications that demonstrate mastery of financial planning, professional ethics, risk management, and corporate finance. Once a candidate has passed the necessary exams and become certified, minimum continuing education requirements must be met annually in order to maintain certification. While certification is not required to practice in this field, putting in the extra effort that is required to achieve additional qualifications may be attractive to some employers. As competition for financial industry jobs is expected to remain high over the next seven years, those with advanced degrees and professional expertise in accounting and finance will be most eligible for the top jobs.