‘Financial management’ is quite a generic title. It incorporates a variety of responsibilities and activities, all of which may or may not be performed by one individual.
The role needs to be interpreted in the context of the size and type of a given company, industry segment or profession.
Financial managers are employed in almost all types of organisations: public, private, commercial, educational, non-profit entities, and governmental authorities and agencies.
A financial manager manages finances and budgets, collects financial data and assesses past performance, anticipates trends and developments, and plans policies accordingly.
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Salary & benefits
Salaries tend to start in the range of £15,000 to £40,000. After more than eight years of experience, salaries rise above £50,000 and reach up to £100,000.
Annual benefits include performance-based bonuses, pension schemes, lifestyle and health benefits and financial sponsorships for obtaining professional qualifications or taking up higher studies.
The initial few years may include 12 hour days, with working on weekends and holidays a common occurrence.
With experience, this settles down to a standard schedule of 40-45 hours per week, but the frequency of travel – domestic and overseas – may increase exponentially.
Many employers offer flexible working arrangements and short sabbaticals, taking into account business requirements and present market and economic conditions.
Graduates with 2:1 or higher honours degrees in any discipline and strong grades (C and above) at GCSE and A-levels or equivalent, are eligible for these roles.
Skills in communication, people management, analytical and quantitative reasoning, teamwork, attention to detail, focus on results and high levels of commercial awareness are other important requirements.
Training & progression
Training is a mix of on-the-job and formal skills development, placements across all financial functions and several non-financial functions to get a wider perspective of the business, while also studying for professional qualifications.
Acceptable and relevant qualifications include those administered by ICAEW, ICAS, CIMA, CIPFA, ACCA, CFA, and CISI, to name a few. Graduate programmes can last up to five years, depending on the industry and the company.
Career progression depends on various factors such as qualifications, experience and performance, with the latter being the significant determinant.
Financial managers can progress to head the finance function or even the whole organisation.
Alternatively, they can move into general management roles or specialist areas such as research, consultancy or academia.
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