Difference Between Accountant & Finance Manager

Accountants and finance managers perform similar tasks, as they both help businesses manage their finances, but their job duties are a bit different in scope. Take a look at how these career options compare, and get information regarding their salary, education, and job growth.

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Comparing Accountants to Finance Managers

Accountants and finance managers both work with clients and businesses to improve their finances. However, finance managers supervise all financial aspects of a business over a long period of time, while accountants focus on managing financial records and taxes. Here you can learn more information about these two financial career options.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Accountant Bachelor's Degree $68,150 (for all accountants and auditors) 11% (for all accountants and auditors)
Finance Manager Bachelor's Degree $121,750 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Accountants vs Finance Managers

Though accountants and finance managers have very similar duties, finance managers are usually a step up from accountants. Accountants can advance in their careers to become finance managers with experience. Financial managers might also take on a supervisory role to accountants, as they are concerned with the overall financial health of a business. Some of their job tasks overlap, since both professionals are responsible for using financial information to help improve a business's bottom line.

Accountant

Accountants are in charge of keeping track of a business's day-to-day financial transactions. They also prepare financial statements and other types of reports that can be used to make recommendations for increasing profit. Accountants must be able to keep all information and documentation organized, as they typically work with several clients at a time. These individuals may work on their own or with a team of other accountants depending on what the client needs, and they need excellent communication skills to relay their findings verbally and in written reports. In addition, they need good analytical skills to translate data into suggestions that can be acted upon.

Job responsibilities of an accountant include:

  • Ensuring records meet financial regulations
  • Maintaining profit and loss, tax, and asset records
  • Checking accuracy of documents
  • Helping businesses assess their costs

Finance Manager

Finance managers help a business achieve the financial goals that have been laid out for it over the long run. They supervise investment decisions and create financial reports. Finance managers also do a lot of data analysis to help find strategies for improving an organization's financial health and work with a business's senior managers and top executives to maximize profits. Finance managers must be detailed and accurate with their financial reports to ensure the suggestions they make will help the business. They also must stay very organized, as they are working with a variety of document types.

Job responsibilities of a finance manager include:

  • Forecasting finances
  • Supervising other financial employees
  • Finding ways to cut costs
  • Assisting with management to help make decisions

Related Careers

Individuals looking for a career as an accountant may be interested in working as a cost estimator. Cost estimators work to analyze the costs associated with providing a service or product, which can relate to how accountants utilize analytical skills to keep track of a business's finances. Those wanting to pursue a career as a finance manager might look into working as a financial analyst, as many of their duties overlap. Financial analysts review data to help businesses make informed decisions about their investments.

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