Finance managers advise, support and guide businesses on all financial matters, ensuring their money is well managed and allocated efficiently.
They are responsible for helping businesses to make smart and sensible financial decisions by providing careful financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting.
This guide includes a full finance manager job description and discusses everything you need to know about finance managers such as average salaries, job requirements, career progression and more.
- Finance manager job description
- How much do finance managers earn?
- What does a finance manager do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs finance managers?
- Which junior jobs progress to finance manager roles?
Finance manager job description
Finance manager | New Fashions Ltd
About New Fashions Ltd
We are one of the UK’s fastest-growing women’s fashion brands, with 250 stores across the country. Our staff live and breathe fashion and we strive to put our customers at the heart of all that we do.
About the role
Reporting to the financial director, you will take a lead in managing the finance function of the organisation and will be responsible for the leadership and development of our finance team, delivering first-class financial information and analysis to support wider business decision making.
- Managing the finance team and overseeing the day to day running of the entire finance function
- Establishing and developing effective financial policies, strategies and procedures for the company
- Continuously tracking the company’s financial status and performance to identify areas where improvement is needed
- Leading working capital management and the production of cash flow forecasts
- Developing effective strategies and methods for minimising financial risk to the company
- Presenting accurate financial reports and findings to board members and senior management
Location & commitments
- Full-time, permanent role (9–5 core hours) based at our head office in Leeds
- Occasional out-of-hours support may be required during busy periods
- Regular travel required to meet key stakeholders and suppliers
- Professional finance or accounting qualifications – CIMA, ACCA, CIPFA or IFA preferred
- 3+ years experience in a busy finance department
- An understanding of the financial reporting and auditing requirements of retailers
- An analytical mindset with the ability to manage large amounts of data accurately and to tight timescales
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to effectively manage and motivate different personalities
- A 2:1 degree in accounting, finance, business or a related field
- Experience of finance within a retail environment
Contact us to apply
Apply at the earliest opportunity by sending your CV and a cover letter to our hiring manager John Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much do finance managers earn?
A career in finance is generally very well-paid, with the average finance manager salary in the UK currently sitting at £38,483.
Finance manager salaries in the UK
- Low: £25,000
- Average: £38,483
- High: £52,500
Finance manager salaries will vary hugely depending on:
- The sector – The private sector typically pays more than the public sector
- The industry – Pay varies between industries, with the banking and capital markets areas offering the most lucrative prospects
- The location – Roles in London tend to offer significantly higher salaries than those outside of the capital
- Level of experience – Experience is valued highly within the financial sector — financial managers with over ten years of experience can easily reach 6-figures
For example, a finance manager working in banking in London will typically earn significantly more than a finance manager with the same level of experience working for a not-for-profit organisation outside of the city. Additionally, a finance manager with just one year of experience may earn less than half the salary of a finance manager with ten years of experience.
It’s important to note that the figures above are taken from job advert samples and therefore do not include extra benefits such as bonuses, car allowances and non-financial benefits like private healthcare.
What does a finance manager do?
The typical finance manager job description includes the following duties and responsibilities:
- Reviewing financial information – Collecting, interpreting and reviewing financial information such as budgets, accounts and statements
- Developing finance strategies – Developing key financial strategies in order to enhance short and long-term business profitability and minimise risk
- Maintaining financial records – Maintaining an organised system of accounts and recording all transactions and assets
- Creating financial reports – Preparing accurate monthly financial and management reports such as balance sheets and income statements, for management and shareholders
- Monitoring cash flow – Closely monitoring business cash flow to ensure that money is available when needed
- Managing budgets – Setting, reviewing and monitoring budgets and ensuring that all departments work within the allocated budgets
- Reducing costs – Driving profitability within the business by making recommendations for lowering costs where possible
- Creating financial forecasts – Estimating and reporting on future financial outcomes and trends
- Finding investments – Researching, analysing and choosing suitable business investments that provide high financial returns in relation to their risks
- Monitoring markets – Closely monitoring the market, competitors and trends to pinpoint suitable opportunities for expansion and areas for improvement
- Supervising staff – Taking the lead in the finance and account team by delegating and supervising work and mentoring junior employees
- Advising management – Guiding and advising senior management on important financial matters, risks and decisions
- Ensuring legal compliance – Making sure the company complies with all financial law and legislation
What do finance managers need?
Finance manager roles are highly competitive, meaning candidates need a strong profile of skills, experience and qualifications in order to secure a role and progress within the industry.
While specific requirements vary between employers and sectors, as well as the level of seniority of the role, here’s a general overview of what’s required:
Finance manager jobs will usually require at least 3–5+ years of experience in the finance industry, with in-depth knowledge of accountancy and finance strategies and practices.
Additionally, most employers will expect industry-specific experience — for example, a retailer looking for a finance manager may ask for 5 years of financial experience within a retail setting specifically.
Finance managers often build their initial experience in finance assistant, auditing, financial analyst and accountancy roles.
Senior-level finance manager roles will normally require previous experience as a finance manager in a relevant industry. Depending on the employer, this might be anywhere upwards of 5 years of management experience at a minimum. However, salaries do reflect this and can increase significantly.
Finance manager skills
In order to succeed in the challenged and fast-paced world of finance, finance managers require the following key skills and knowledge:
- Commercial & business awareness: Understanding the business as a whole, its markets and the wider industry in which it operates
- Advanced maths & finance: Using advanced mathematical abilities and algebraic formulas and understanding a variety of complex financial documents
- Negotiation: Confidently negotiating contracts and reaching beneficial agreements with a range of stakeholders, clients and businesses
- Accounting: Knowledge of accounting processes, taxation and terminology
- Finance software: Advanced knowledge and proficiency in finance and accounting software, such as SAP and Oracle
- Analysis: Effectively analysing large data sets and information and developing comprehensive, understandable interpretations
- Communication: Confidently communicating with key stakeholders and explaining complicated financial strategies and formulas in a way that non-financial staff and departments can understand
- Problem solving: Pinpointing financial problems and risks and creating well-informed, effective solutions
- Leadership: Directing, influencing and motivating finance teams in order to enhance efficiency and productivity
Finance manager qualifications
Finance managers are expected to have advanced qualifications in finance, mathematics or accountancy.
The majority of finance managers hold a degree and postgraduate professional qualifications from a finance or accounting body. Entry without a degree is possible but more difficult, and in these cases, professional qualifications are essential.
Here are some of the most common qualifications and certifications held by financial managers:
It’s possible to enter the finance world with a degree in any subject by studying the correct professional qualifications after graduation.
However, it should come as no surprise that gaining a degree in a relevant subject can come with huge benefits. Some professional bodies grant graduates from relevant subjects areas with exemptions from some examinations, meaning the entire process is sped up.
Additionally, as the field is competitive, some employers will seek graduates from relevant topic areas specifically.
Therefore, the following degree subject areas can be particularly helpful for aspiring finance managers:
Masters degree courses in a relevant subject can be useful in gaining a competitive advantage during the recruitment process, but are by no means essential.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
The ACCA is a globally recognised and respected international accountancy body.
The ACCA qualification provides all the required skills and knowledge required to become a competent finance professional. Those who have completed the qualification can use the designatory letters ACCA in their title, denoting quality and professionalism to future clients and employers.
To qualify, students must pass three stages of exams and gain three years of professional experience.
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is the world’s largest professional body of management accountants and home to the most useful accounting qualification for a career in business specifically.
Their qualifications bring together practical accounting skills with business knowledge, making them suitable for a huge range of roles in finance. For aspiring or established finance managers alike, the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting is likely to be the best option.
Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA)
The Institute of Financial Accountants is a well-recognised professional accountancy membership body whose qualifications focus on equipping students for finance work in micro and small to medium sized businesses.
Once qualified, graduates become an associate member of the IFA and can use the letters AFA (Associate Financial Accountant) after their name — another badge of quality and professionalism. For financial managers wishing to work in or with SMEs specifically, this is a good option.
The IFA offer a range of qualification options, including a direct route to membership via their IFA Direct learning platform.
What is expected of finance managers?
Finance managers will typically be expected to commit the following:
- Full-time hours – The role of a finance manager is crucial to business success, meaning full-time hours (35 – 40 hours per week) are the norm — part-time roles are rare
- 9–5 hours – Work is generally undertaken during standard Monday–Friday office hours, though some employers may offer flexitime
- Possibility of overtime – Longer hours may be required during busy periods to support the demands of the business. Banking and finance jobs in London, in particular, are known to demand long working hours
- Location – Normally based at the employer’s head office
- Occasional travel – Some roles, especially those that involve working with numerous clients or customers, may require some travel
Finance manager benefits
As well as offering high salaries, a career in finance management comes with many perks and benefits. Specific packages will vary between employers, but typically include:
- Bonuses – Normally based on business financial performance
- Pension scheme
- Generous holiday allowance
- Car allowance – Employers often offer a car allowance of several thousand pounds per year
- Private healthcare
- Corporate discounts
Who employs finance managers?
Finance managers work in a wide range of businesses across the public and private sectors.
Due to the ongoing need for companies of all shapes and sizes to stay financially secure and stable, finance managers are in high demand in all industries.
Large companies normally have numerous financial managers on their team managing different departments and therefore hire frequently. Small and medium companies, however, may only have a single financial manager to oversee financial activity for the company as a whole, and therefore hire less frequently.
Typical finance manager employers include:
- Building societies
- Insurance companies
- FMCG companies
- Public utility companies
- Local government
- Schools and universities
- Health authorities
Jobs are available all over the UK, but the most lucrative and readily-available roles are in London and the larger towns and cities.
The majority of finance managers are employed on a full-time, permanent basis, though many finance professionals are also self-employed and work on a consultancy basis.
Which junior jobs progress to finance manager roles?
Many reputable companies and accounting bodies offer finance graduate schemes and traineeships, which can be a great way to break into the industry and gain professional qualifications.
However, aside from trainee/graduate offers, there are a number of jobs which see employees naturally progress into finance manager roles. These include:
Finance/accounts assistants support finance managers and accountants in the day to day financial operations of a company. These roles tend to include lots of basic administrative tasks, such as data entry, invoice processing and updating financial records. They are entry-level roles but make for a great way to learn the ropes of finance whilst studying towards professional qualifications.
Accountants prepare, examine, monitor and audit a company or client’s financial records. While accountancy is a well-paid and rewarding career in its own right, many accountants eventually move into finance manager roles. This is often due to the increased involvement in wider business strategy, as well as the leadership/managerial opportunities, that a finance manager role can offer.
Which senior jobs do finance managers progress to?
Although finance managers are generally well-paid and highly respected in the workplace, the job offers plenty of opportunity for progression, including:
Senior finance manager
Senior finance managers take on more responsibility than a finance manager, often having a more authoritative stake in decision making across the business. These roles tend to pop up in larger companies that employ several finance managers, where the senior finance manager will lead the team as a whole.
With significant experience in the finance industry, it’s possible to move into the top-level finance roles of finance director or financial controller. These jobs demand a high level of responsibility and can be fairly stressful, taking overall responsibility for a business’s financial state. On the plus side, roles at this level can attract very high salaries.
Finance manager job description – conclusion
A role as a finance manager is challenging and fast-paced, but offers higher-than-average salaries and generous benefits packages.
Gaining a finance manager job requires advanced accounting or finance qualifications, as well as several years of prior experience in the industry.
With skilled financial professionals in high demand, it certainly makes for a wise career choice for those with a good work ethic and a head for numbers.