Working as a financial manager involves analyzing a lot of data to make informed business decisions. In fact, as a financial manager, it’s your job to ensure the health of the business or organization for which you work.
As a result, stress comes with the territory. You must be well-versed in various aspects of business, from finance to business law to managing teams of workers.
Because this is such a high-stakes position, compensation is often quite good. Financial managers can work in a wide range of settings, too.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best benefits of becoming a financial manager, as well as some of the downsides of this job.
Pros of Becoming a Financial Manager
There is Excellent Income Potential
Financial managers enjoy an excellent income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers earn a median annual salary of $134,180.
But that’s not the complete story. Top-earning financial managers make more than $200,000 per year. With greater education and more experience, the more money you stand to make.
Financial managers can earn a very good income in many different work settings. For example, the median income for financial managers in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector is $154,790 per year. Financial managers in management settings earn a median salary of $149,300. If you work as a financial manager for a government agency, you can expect to earn around $117,940 per year.
You Can Rapidly Pay Off Debt
With a six-figure income, you can more readily pay off debts like student loans than people that choose lower-paying jobs.
What’s more, since financial managers make such good money, you can likely save for retirement at a faster rate than workers in other fields. So, while you pay down debts you might have, you can also prepare for the future by making larger and more frequent contributions to your nest egg.
Financial Managers are In Need
The BLS estimates that jobs in the financial management area will grow at a 17 percent rate through the end of the 2020s. This represents rapid growth - much faster than the average for all jobs.
One of the reasons jobs are expected to grow so quickly is the continued globalization of the economy. With companies invested in economies around the globe, they need more and more skilled financial managers to help them manage their cash and investments while also assisting in minimizing risk.
You Only Need a Bachelor’s Degree
For many careers that pay six figures, you need an advanced education, like a master’s degree or a doctorate. This isn’t necessarily the case with financial management.
Many jobs in this field are open to candidates with a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related area. While the jobs that are open to bachelor’s-level workers are usually entry-level, with added experience, you can work your way up to management positions with more responsibilities and higher salaries.
The BLS notes that in addition to a bachelor’s degree, financial managers usually need around five years of relevant work experience to get more lucrative positions. Working in accounting, economics, financial analysis, or closely related fields is recommended.
You Can Work in Various Settings
As noted above, financial managers are employed by all sorts of businesses and organizations. From financial institutions to hospitals to government agencies, you can find work that’s a good fit for your skills.
Since many companies have locations across the nation and worldwide, there’s a chance you could live and work abroad, too. In some cases, you might even be able to work remotely while you travel.
You Can Shape the Future of an Organization
As the manager of an organization’s finances, you have considerable power to determine the organization’s future. With smart management of cash and investments, you can set up a company for long-term success (and help its employees enjoy long-term success as well).
For example, if you’re responsible for managing the risk involved with a company’s investments, and doing so allows the company to grow at a steady rate over a long period, employees up and down the ladder might enjoy increased pay, expanded benefits, bonuses, and other financial incentives.
Helping a business realize its financial goals can certainly be satisfying, but knowing that your expertise can help improve people's individual financial situations is even more satisfying.
You Can Work Typical Hours
Generally speaking, financial managers enjoy a predictable schedule. Typically, you’ll work Monday-Friday, 9-5. On occasion, you might need to work late or on weekends, though.
Additionally, financial managers usually enjoy weekends off, paid vacation, and paid sick leave. Other benefits like health insurance or profit-sharing, might also be included in your compensation package.
Work in Comfortable Conditions
Although the term "cushy desk job" might take it a bit far, financial managers enjoy working in a comfortable environment.
You might have your own office, a large desk for a workspace, and a comfortable office chair. Depending on your place of employment, your office might also have windows, so you have a view of your surroundings.
At the very least, it’s likely that you’ll work in an office that’s climate-controlled, well-kept, and has amenities like restrooms, break areas, and grounds where you can get fresh air or eat lunch away from your desk.
You Can Specialize
Some financial managers specialize in certain areas to improve their expertise. For example, you might specialize in cash management and control the intake and outflow of money in an organization.
As another example, you might focus on risk management and advise executives in the company about how to reduce exposure to financial risk.
These are just two examples - there are many other areas in which you can specialize as a financial manager.
Cons of Becoming a Financial Manager
There is a High Likelihood of Stress
Managing the financial health of an entire organization comes with a great deal of responsibility. That responsibility can, in turn, cause you a lot of stress.
This can be a very fast-paced job, too, which can contribute to work-related stress.
Ultimately, the success or failure of a business or organization rests on many different people making many different important decisions. However, when it comes to finances, as the financial manager, the buck stops with you to ensure that the organization is in good financial standing.
Some Financial Management Jobs Require a Lot of Experience
As discussed earlier, one of the best things about this job is the low educational threshold. However, the best jobs in financial management often come with a hefty experience requirement.
Every business is different, but you can expect that the most lucrative positions in financial management will require you to have at least four or five years of experience. In many cases, you’ll find that the experience requirement is even higher - perhaps seven or eight years of work in this field.
This is a Very Complex Job
Financial managers are responsible for overseeing many complex tasks. You’ll have to analyze financial information, tabulate data, and report to your superiors on what you find.
As a financial manager, you’ll also need to evaluate market trends, oversee the work of your staff, and develop budgets for your organization.
Of course, all this complex work takes place under a microscope. When it comes to finances, government agencies are sticklers for adhering to laws and regulations.
Competition for Jobs Can Be Fierce
It’s a benefit that this job has a low education requirement and very high pay. But that also means that a lot of people go into this field to take advantage of those benefits.
As you complete your studies and begin to apply for jobs, be aware that you might be vying for a job with dozens of other prospective financial advisors. It can be difficult to get your foot in the door, but once you do, time and experience will allow you to work your way into a career that can be very rewarding.