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How to become a Financial Manager

Career News August 26, 2013

To some, the reason why they become financial managers is that they love facts and figures and are able to have the focus required to do the job well. For others, the reason is that there is no other roller coaster on earth that gets their attention. Yes, financial management can be an interesting and stimulating career. The most important fact is that there is a variety of ways to approach that career, either as an employee or as a self-employed worker with specific clients, or even as a consultant. The choice is yours, and it truly depends on how much you like that roller coaster.

What is required to be a Financial Manager?

First off, you need a degree in accounting or some relevant area of business, and this is available from schools such as University of Maryland College Park, Stanford University, Georgetown University, University of Michigan, and many others. You need a thorough knowledge of financial markets and instruments. If you want to work as an accountant, you need a CPA. Certification in most states varies wildly and is often voluntary, but it always looks good in a presentation to a prospective client. You also need a successful track record in dealing with your own finances that instill a sense of trust in clients.

This job is ideal for a person who has a great attention to detail. A person who does not “sweat the small stuff” will likely have a short career or possibly get in big trouble with the law or with a company, who will blame him or her for their financial woes. Financial Managers have look at both the “ants” and the “elephants” in the room equally. It is in that attention to detail that problems are avoided, and opportunities are gained. The graphs and numbers are the alchemy of financial management, which brews the profit and loss. If pouring over ledgers and prospectuses does not float your boat, perhaps you should consider another line of work.

How Do You Get to Be the Financial Manager?

After earning your degree, you need work experience, which could involve working at a bank, brokerage house, or similar establishment. The next order of business is to work hard and find a mentor. These people can give you the alternate view that can give you the edge you will need in the future, without concern for future competition. If you are only going to go the same direction as everyone else, you will never gain clients or make money.

Where do you find clients? The word you will hear most is “networking.” Church, rotary, charities, golf courses, and even P.T.A meetings – anywhere people congregate. It may be best to do some freelance work before leaving your day job, but non- compete clauses may impair your ability to work outside the loving arms of your employer. Still, that does not keep you from gathering a notebook that will be the basis for your future freedom and security.

The road of a financial manager can be bumpy and hazardous, but it can be well worth it to a person who lives for the challenge (not to mention the great pay). You need to be focused and dedicated to your future, but you will find this career path to be stable and rewarding.

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