In 2012, financial managers earned an average of $123,260 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Besides that paycheck, a day in the life of these financial professionals is often stimulating and varied. But it’s not all wine and roses; there are some disadvantages to this career.
The BLS expects job opportunities for financial managers in the banking industry, where many find work, to be rather limited, with employment declining by as much as 14 percent through 2020. This is going in the opposite direction of the national average for all U.S. occupations, a growth of 14 percent. Even in other industries, expect competition for financial manager jobs to be strong, as there are often more applicants than openings, warns the BLS.
It can take years to become a financial manager. Although some employers will hire applicants with a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or economics, many financial institutions prefer candidates with an MBA. Plus, financial managers must usually spend time in other positions, such as a loan officer, accountant or financial analyst, before making the transition to this career. It could take upward of seven years to land the job.
A lot of stress comes with being responsible for the financial well-being of an organization. Financial managers not only summarize financial positions, but also forecast them. If you’re off, the company may not meet its financial goals. You’ll often spend long hours analyzing financial statements and business activity reports, as well as forecasts, and then advise senior staff members on how to maximize profits. You may also be charged with reducing costs and finding areas to cut budgets.
There’s already an inherent complexity to the work of financial managers. From day to day, you can find yourself tabulating and reporting on data, as well as analyzing and advising on financial statements, activity reports, market trends and current budgets. Adding to this complexity is the ever-changing regulatory environment, explains Ernst & Young. There’s far more scrutiny on the special reports and financial reporting required by governmental agencies that regulate businesses, yet deadlines have not changed. Plus, you must consistently stay up to date with new regulations.