Finance Manager Skills: Definition and Examples
Finance managers are accounting professionals who are responsible for the financial wellbeing of a company or organization. Finance managers may advise upper management or corporate officers to determine how and where the company's assets are acquired and allocated. Finance managers create detailed financial reports and statements using a wide array of skills.
In this article, we explain the variety of skills needed to be a successful finance manager.
What are finance manager skills?
Finance manager skills are those that help individuals in this role oversee all aspects of a company's financial transactions, including budget analysis and calculation of return on investment (ROI) as well as purchasing and staffing decisions. Finance managers provide accurate data analysis and strategic propositions to create profit and reduce loss. A finance manager's skills are built from a wide array of roles and responsibilities.
Understand and evaluate cash flow scenarios
Analyze financial data
Forecast future earnings and expenses
Understand and apply contract provisions
Oversee vendor or government contracts
Implement contract compliance policy
Secure financial management systems
Apply advanced mathematics
Use and understand statistical modeling software and spreadsheets
Related: 8 Popular Finance Degree Jobs
Examples of finance manager skills
Finance managers amass many skills throughout their education, experience and day-to-day responsibilities. Successful finance managers are adept at several of the following skills.
Attention to detail
Ability to work independently
Finance managers work with individuals or as part of a team and generally bring a strong foundation of leading finance teams. Managers know how to enhance efficiency and productivity while maintaining confidence in their ability to move the company forward. Effective leaders demonstrate the ability to direct others and delegate tasks. Good financial managers take charge of situations and form effective solutions to encourage trust in their leadership skills.
Whether it is analyzing a budget or calculating the risks of an investment, finance managers are adept at taking action and finding solutions. Managers have a deep understanding of the company's financial goals and find effective ways to meet those goals without jeopardizing the business.
Since not every person in a company understands complex financial data or documents, effective finance managers must have strong written and verbal communication skills. Finance managers are able to explain complicated formulas or analysis to present information in an accessible manner. Finance managers may work with many departments, and the ability to alter their communication style to easily convey information is a vital skill for successful managers.
As part of the decision-making process, finance managers demonstrate logical thinking. Effective managers are able to look at all options in order to present a comprehensive, understandable analysis. Finance managers use analytical skills when writing contracts, creating budgets and forecasting profit and loss.
Finance managers work with many other individuals or teams to resolve financial problems. They may oversee activities or tasks and their ability to work seamlessly with other departments and people. Successful finance managers relate well to individuals and motivate teams to complete calculations and analysis with efficiency and accuracy.
Finance managers work with large sums of money and rely on advanced mathematical abilities to compile and analyze data. Proficient finance managers are well versed in algebraic mathematics and have the ability to understand and create formulas. Effective finance managers are knowledgeable of international finance and can decipher a large variety of financial documents.
Attention to detail
Finance managers must maintain accuracy when dealing with numbers. Since they oversee how and where a company spends its money, as well as how and where it accumulates profit, finance managers must divide their attention to many financial functions of a business. When writing or analyzing contracts, finance managers require an understanding of domestic and international laws and regulations.
Finance managers work with many different financial documents including spreadsheets, contracts, calculations and projections. The ability to organize information is essential for success as a finance manager as they may need to find and retrieve information as needed.
As advancements in technology and automation enter the workplace, finance managers may find themselves working with more than spreadsheets and ledgers. Effective finance managers are comfortable with technology and can easily use various programs and applications to their advantage.
Ability to work independently
Successful finance managers don't need a lot of supervision because they understand what needs to be accomplished and how to meet the company's goals. Good finance managers are not only self-starters who can prioritize tasks but their leadership skills enable them to motivate others to work independently as well.
Related: 10 Core Competencies and Skills Valued by Employers
How to improve finance manager skills
Finance managers have opportunities to advance their training and education to create better job roles or command a higher salary. Here are a few ways finance managers can improve their job prospects.
1. Increase technology know-how
Technology is already a large part of workplaces and continues to show steady growth. Finance managers can improve their resumes by taking information technology courses such as learning Structured Query Language (SQL) or planning tools such as Jira or Azure DevOps.
2. Earn an advanced degree
Finance managers usually hold a bachelor's degree but may consider an advanced degree in economics, finance or business administration. An advanced degree may open opportunities in global economics or international finance.
3. Earn a certificate or license
Earning either a certificate or license not only lends credibility to your qualifications, it also signifies your commitment to your profession. Options include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Treasury Professional, Certified Management Accountant or Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
4. Focus on a specialty
Finance managers may choose to narrow their focus into a niche category such as risk management, treasury, insurance or superforecasting.
Related: Finance vs. Accounting Degrees: What's the Difference?
How to highlight finance manager skills
Your resume and cover letter ideally include real-world examples of your qualifications and accomplishments. Whether it's written communication or a face-to-face job interview, aim to provide evidence of how your skills benefit the employer and make you the best candidate for the job.
Finance manager skills on your resume
Your resume is a snapshot of how your skills have improved profits, secured contracts or balanced budgets. Revisit the skills list and try to include examples that apply to one or more skill sets.
Managed and developed a team of 15 analysts to perform financial modeling, reporting and data analysis. (Leadership, communication, organization)
Created detailed forecasts of salary and benefit plans that resulted in an annual savings of $20,000. (Attention to detail, mathematical expertise, problem-solving)
Analyzed risk, identified investment opportunities and secured loans for expansion. (Analysis, independency)
Learn more: Finance Manager Resume Samples
Finance manager skills in your cover letter
The cover letter is an opportunity to not only highlight your strengths ,but to ensure employers of your passion for finance. Cover letters demonstrate your qualifications while pointing out your skills. Use your analytical ability to research the company and offer ideas or solutions that improve profits or reduce losses in your cover letter.
Example: "In my previous financial manager role, I led my team through the implementation of a new investment strategy. My strong communication and organizational skills ensured my team completed their duties in a timely fashion and emerged from the process with a better understanding of our organization's goals."
Finance manager skills in the job interview
During a job interview, you may be asked to present certain information that provides evidence of your knowledge of financial tools and techniques. Consider preparing a case study or scenario such as a time you saved the company money by avoiding a risky investment or how you increased profit margins after analyzing the supply chain.
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