What does a finance director do?
Finance directors are in charge of leading a company’s strategy for managing and growing its financial resources. This role trains accountants, conducts regular financial reviews, monitors budgets and weighs the pros and cons of investing in innovative projects and other business activities. With a bird’s-eye view of a company’s finances, finance directors are able to make data-informed decisions to enhance the business’ financial performance.
Finance directors often exhibit a bachelor’s and master’s degree, necessary certifications and at least 10 years of work experience.
Finance director is a senior executive position, so qualified applicants will demonstrate an in-depth education. Majors like accounting and finance provide a solid foundation that students can build on when they pursue their master’s in an area like business administration or accounting. To solidify their standing, incoming professionals may want to secure any needed certifications, including Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credentials.
Incoming professionals must then go on to gain at least 10 years of relevant work experience. Professionals can start as entry-level financial analysts or accountants for five years before spending another five years in a leadership role like senior accountant or controller. Working in different positions allows professionals to learn how to manage finances and how to potentially allocate resources after rounds of funding.
Because of their duties as senior executives, finance directors are compensated with an average base salary of $157,221.
Finance directors have a major impact on companies’ financial strategies and health, resulting in six-figure salaries. According to Built In’s salary calculator, finance directors in the U.S. earn an average base salary of $157,221. An additional cash compensation of $29,047 can also raise the total compensation to $186,268. The finance director role remains a key component of the senior executive team, so more veteran and successful professionals in this position can pursue salaries up to $366K.
Business acumen, data analysis and strategic thinking are crucial areas for finance directors to master.
Among essential skills, business acumen and data analysis land at the top of the list. Sound financial knowledge enables finance directors to effectively manage budgets and forecast financial trends. However, data analysis is what gives finance directors the ability to decide how to allocate resources and determine potential risks. By blending these two skills, finance directors can become reliable stewards of their companies’ resources.
In addition to business and analytical expertise, the role of finance directors must be able to see the big picture and determine annual goals for a business. It then becomes necessary for these executives to apply strategic thinking, creating long-term finance plans. The ideal candidate will be able to juggle these diverse responsibilities with an effective leadership style, guiding a company’s financial strategy with a steady hand.