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Finance Director

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What Is a Finance Director? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

Finance directors take a bird’s-eye view of a company’s finances and make data-informed decisions that enhance its financial performance. Here’s what to know about a finance director’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is a Finance Director?

The finance director is a senior-level position for an experienced professional who has the sound financial knowledge to effectively manage budgets and forecast financial trends. They analyze data to decide how to allocate resources and determine potential risks.


What Do Finance Directors Do?

A finance director’s business activities include training accountants, conducting regular financial reviews, monitoring budgets and weighing the pros and cons of investments.

Finance Director Responsibilities

  • Formulate and direct financial strategy.
  • Establish accounting and finance policies.
  • Oversee budget planning.
  • Advise executives on financial decision making.
  • Conduct periodic financial reviews.
  • Devise and implement training for accountants.
  • Supervise financial compliance.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Finance Directors

  • Analyze financial performance.
  • Evaluate potential investments.
  • Prepare financial reports.
  • Meet with executives and other financial decision makers.
  • Manage audits and tax preparations.
  • Produce financial forecasts.

Finance Directors Within a Company

A finance director is the head of a company’s finance department, working closely with management-level positions like senior accountants, finance managers and controllers. The finance director usually reports to the chief financial officer.

Importance of Finance Directors

Finance directors combine strong analytical skills and accounting expertise to become reliable stewards of their companies’ resources. They have a diverse range of responsibilities to guide the organization’s financial strategy toward long-term success.

Day in the Life of a Finance Manager | Video: AktionReplay


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Finance Director?

Qualifications to Be a Finance Director

  • Finance and accounting expertise.
  • Experience with data analysis and financial forecasting.
  • Knowledge of relevant laws and regulations.
  • Understanding of best practices for long-term financial planning.
  • Familiarity with relevant tools and software.

Finance Director Prerequisites

  • A bachelor’s degree and likely a master’s degree as well.
  • While not always required, accounting and financial management certifications can be beneficial.

Finance Director Hard Skills

  • Setting internal policy.
  • Financial planning.
  • Managing budgets and spending.
  • Using accounting and finance tools.
  • Complying with laws and regulations.

Finance Director Soft Skills

  • Analytical thinking.
  • Organized and detail oriented.
  • Able to multitask.
  • Strategic mindset.
  • Communicating with company decision makers.
  • Training and mentoring early-career accountants and other finance employees.

Tools and Programs Finance Directors Use

  • Accounting platforms like Xero, FreshBooks and QuickBooks.
  • Platforms like NetSuite for financial planning.
  • Platforms like Workiva for reporting and compliance.
  • Business intelligence platforms like Microsoft Power BI for analytics.
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How to Become a Finance Director

Finance Director Education and Experience

To become a finance director, you need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as finance or accounting. A master’s degree can also bolster your resume, and in some cases, it’s required. A finance director must also have at least 10 years of professional experience, which can be complemented by certifications.

Finance Director Certificates and Courses

Finance Director Career Path

To prepare for a career as a finance director, 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. A finance director can go on to become a chief financial officer.


Finance Director Salary and Job Outlook

There are expected to be 7,600 new jobs for financial specialists between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The full compensation package for a finance director depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average finance director salary.


Expand Your Finance Director Career Opportunities

Add another dimension to your skillset by branching out with Udemy’s online finance courses.


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