Certified Financial Manager: Job Description and Requirements

Discover the type of work a certified financial manager performs. Learn about what education and knowledge are necessary as well as salary and employment outlook in order to make the right career choice.

Career Definition

Certified financial managers, who may have specific titles like comptroller, treasurer, or finance officer, oversee the monetary affairs and transactions of organizations. They are frequently employed by large corporations, banks, government agencies, non-profits, small business and other organizations. Common duties of certified financial managers include monitoring cash flow, preparing income statements, balance sheets and budgets, complying with regulatory requirements and overseeing accounting and auditing.

How to Become Certified as a Financial Manager

Required Education

The minimum entry-level credential to work as a certified financial manager is a bachelor's degree in a field like accounting, finance, business administration or economics, though many employers now prefer to see candidates with a master's degree in one of these fields. Common courses in a 4-year bachelor's program include asset management, budgeting, accounting, financial reporting and cash flow management. There are many relevant certifications in the field of certified financial management, including that of Certified Public Account (CPA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Management Account (CMA); these certifications require a number of years of work experience and passing a sequence of examinations.

Skills Required

Certified financial managers must be thoroughly familiar with financial regulations and reporting requirements. Strong math, management and communications skills are also important for a successful career in certified financial management.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment growth for financial managers, which includes certified financial managers, may be slower than average; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),, projects that employment in this field should grow by 9% from 2012-2022. Median annual earnings for this field in 2012 were $109,740.

Alternative Careers

Financial Analyst

If researching market trends and the economic performance of business stocks sounds appealing consider becoming a financial analyst. Financial analysts examine businesses to determine current valuation, compile data and create written reports, select investment options for a portfolio and present recommendations to the client. Bachelor's degrees in areas such as engineering, mathematics, economics, statistics and finance are all acceptable education options for this career. Industry licensure may be required, but most employers sponsor this pursuit after hire. In 2012, the BLS determined that 253,000 people nationwide were employed as financial analysts and these workers received a median income of $76,950. According to BLS data, faster than average job growth is projected for this field between 2012 and 2022.

Personal Financial Advisor

For those seeking a career assisting people with investment choices but may not want the responsibilities of a financial manager or analyst, becoming a personal financial advisor may be a good alternative. Financial advisors examine fiscal goals and needs of their clients and plan a course of action that utilizes financial products such as stocks and funds. They select options after researching historical and current economic data and educate their clients about their choices. To enter this profession, a bachelor's degree in a business field is generally required, but earning a master's degree may help an advisor gain new clientele. Licensure through examination is required for many financial advisors and is dependent on the products sold and services provided. The BLS expects employment growth of 27% during the 2012-2022 decade, and this increase is mainly attributed to an aging population that will need retirement advice. The median annual salary for personal financial advisors was $67,520 in 2012, based on BLS estimates.

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