Financial Manager Advancement Opportunities

The knowledge and skills attained through several years as a financial manager can open the door to advancement options in the fields of education, business, and law. Four of these career opportunities are examined in this article.

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Advancement for Financial Managers

Financial managers are experts in their fields, directing corporate financial strategies to maximize profits and meet financial goals. Market analysis, finance reporting, budgeting, and an active understanding of local, state, and federal finance laws are a few skills that define a financial manager. These skills can lead to several career advancement opportunities in the education, business, and legal fields. What follows is a look at four of these options, including job details and general requirements for each.

Job Title Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2016-26)* Qualifications
Postsecondary Business Teacher $83,960 (2018)* 18% Master's degree or PhD in business or related field; college-level teaching experience
Chief Financial Officer $189,600 (2018; chief executives)* -4% (chief executives) Master's degree in business or related field
College or University President $150,143 (2019)** -4% (chief executives) PhD or EdD in chosen field
Finance Lawyer $120,910 (2018; all lawyers)* 8% (all lawyers) Juris Doctor degree; licensing exam

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

Career Information

Postsecondary Business Teacher

A financial manager with several years of experience has a wealth of business knowledge to share. Those who enjoy teaching others may chose to move into the education field as postsecondary business teachers. These college-level teachers are responsible for instructing business students in a wide variety of topics, including analytics, finance management, corporate finance, and more. In addition to teaching and grading, postsecondary teachers hold office hours and serve on school committees. Some universities also expect full-time faculty to conduct and publish research in their fields. Requirements for a postsecondary business teacher vary. A four-year university often requires teachers to hold a PhD in business or related field, and prefers applicants with previous teaching experience; community college or adjunct positions may be open to those with a master's degree and several years of work experience in the business field.

Chief Financial Officer

The invaluable knowledge of an experienced financial manager could lead to a position as a chief financial officer (CFO). A CFO is a corporate executive who oversees the financial strategies and overall financial health of an organization. Successful CFOs possess an expert understanding of financial regulations, data analysis, and industry trends, and are forward-thinking in regard to corporate policies and financial goals. A financial manager who aspires to the role of CFO needs proven skills in relationship-building, long-term planning, technology, and analytics. A master's degree in business or related field is also a common qualification.

College or University President

A college or university president is essentially the chief executive of that educational institution. A financial manager with years of proven experience would likely find this position a comfortable fit, since the greatest percentage of a president's time involves managing the school's finances. Other responsibilities include collaborating with the school's board of directors, communicating short- and long-term goals, overseeing an academic leadership team, and managing student enrollment. The educational requirement for a college or university president is a terminal degree, typically a PhD or EdD, in the applicant's chosen field. While experience at the leadership level in an academic setting is often preferred, it is not always required. A strong history of financial management, as well as skills in interpersonal communication and problem solving, are vital for a financial manager aspiring to this position.

Finance Lawyer

Finance managers with a solid enjoyment and understanding of finance law may find the role of finance lawyer a natural next step up their career ladder. Several law specialties would benefit from experience in finance management, including tax law, securities law, and banking law. In general, finance lawyers are experts on state and federal finance regulations and tax laws, and they use their knowledge to advise clients and corporations on various aspects of finance law. This can include representation in issues of finance compliance, regulatory examination, and litigation. The completion of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and passing a licensing exam, often called a bar exam, are common qualifications for becoming a finance lawyer.

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