Difference Between Finance Manager & Finance Director

Finance managers and finance directors both analyze and affect the financial climate of a company; however, they do so from different angles. Read on for a comparison of duties, salary and job growth.

Comparing Finance Managers to Finance Directors

Finance managers and directors are both responsible for the prosperity and management of funds within a company or organization. Though there is some crossover in their duties and overall objectives, the main difference between these two positions is the area of authority, as finance directors utilize the information provided by the finance managers to better assess the financial future of the organization. Below is a table, comparing these careers on the bases of education, salary, and job growth:

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Finance Manager Bachelor's degree; employers may prefer a master's degree $121,750 (2016)* 7%
Finance Director Bachelor's degree; employers may prefer a master's degree (for top executives) $112,702 (2017)** 6% (for all top executives)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Responsibilities of Finance Managers vs. Finance Directors

Financial managers and finance directors both focus on the monetary aspects of a company, just from different angles. Financial managers are generally responsible for reporting the business expenditures, and ensuring that their department is capable of working within the means of the budget allotted. Finance directors, however, are not in charge of finance managers in any capacity, but rather are in charge of overall policies regarding how funds are used for a company or corporation. Although it is possible for both positions to be available within a company, it is common that the financial director is singularly responsible for the duties of a finance manager, which usually results in a slight increase in pay for the financial director.

Finance Managers

Financial managers are at the frontline of the overseeing and recording of the expenses within a particular part of a company, or the company overall. They usually prepare reports with the data they gather through each quarter of the year, which are used by upper-management to discern if there is growth or decrease in overall profit or sales. Depending on the organization or company employment structure, finance managers can take one of several names, as well as responsibilities that are specific to the company business. Such titles are treasurers, risk managers, and controllers, which all observe the patterns in the financial data in order to find trends and make assessments for the betterment of the company, whether it be to prevent unnecessary financial losses or the better organize funds to fuel the projects needed for the quarter or year. Other responsibilities for financial managers are as follows:

  • Making sure all laws regarding fund acquisition and expenditure are followed
  • Developing cost-reduction strategies
  • Overseeing employees that are responsible for compiling reports or budgets
  • Providing all gathered information and assessments to top executives

Finance Directors

Financial directors are responsible for implementing policies that dictate how funds will be allocated within a company. In essence, they 'direct' the financial flow of a business, such as setting budgets for every department of a business or strategic planning to predict and prepare for the economic environment and how that may affect the business' future quarters. In addition to this, financial directors must also utilize the reports and analyses of their staff or from the finance managers in order to identify any financial losses and rectify them. Since they work with the top executives as an advisor, they must get acquainted to a fast-paced environment, where the expectations of the financial structure are susceptible to change at any moment. Finance directors usually have many years of experience in overseeing policies and budgets, and can depend on their expertise to make spur of the moment decisions when necessary. Other responsibilities of finance directors are:

  • Supervising the compiling and preparation of finance reports
  • Ensuring that employees are in compliance to protocol and regulations
  • Implementing timelines in which their strategic plans can be executed
  • Assigning duties and deadlines to the financial department

Related Careers

If you are interested in dealing with finances or the direction of a company, career options like insurance underwriting or being a chief executive officer, may interest you. Insurance underwriters analyze various factors to determine if insurance can be provided and under what terms, while chief executive officers (CEOs) oversee the direction and policies for a company or organization.

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