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What Is a Finance Director and How to Become One

What Does a Finance Director Do?

As a finance director, your primary responsibilities are to assess the financial needs of a company and direct funds appropriately. You build a financial foundation that allows your organization to grow. You are in charge of reviewing expenditures, planning the company budget, providing accounting management services, analyzing data, maintaining documents, and fulfilling other executive duties. You report your findings and recommendations to help with company effectiveness and efficiency. You can usually find finance director positions at small to medium businesses, with larger organizations may utilizing the position differently.

How to Become a Finance Director

To become a finance director, you need a master's degree in finance, accounting, or a similar field, though some employers accept a bachelor's degree with sufficient hands-on familiarity. Prior experience in a management or leadership position is preferred. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers certification that shows employers you are knowledgeable and dedicated to the industry. You must have a general knowledge of business practices and procedures, as well as an understanding of business taxes and other related legal matters. Additional qualifications include proficiency in accounting principles, computer skills, and analytical thinking.

What Is the Difference Between a Finance Director and a Finance Manager?

At first glance, a finance director and a finance manager appear to be the same job with different titles, but this is not the case. A finance director oversees all monetary function with a focus on reviewing information to direct company growth and goals. In a small company, a finance director typically handles management of the department, but in a larger organization a finance manager works with accounting and analysis and presents relevant data to the finance director to make decisions. They provide support and assistance to the finance director so they do not need to micromanage and can focus on the big picture.

What Is the Difference Between a Finance Director and a CFO?

While a chief financial officer (CFO) and a finance director both handle financial responsibilities within an organization, the specific duties are different. The CFO supervises department strategy and monetary growth and collaborates with other management. They review economic trends, forecast company needs, and make decisions on investments. On the other hand, the finance director analyzes department budgets, ensures actions are in line with legal requirements, monitors cash flow, addresses internal conflict, and ultimately reports to the CFO. As a finance director, you are the CFO's primary accountant, and you provide them with the information to make the decisions.

Finance Director Job Description Sample

With this Finance Director job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Finance Director role.

Job Summary

We are seeking a dynamic finance director with a proven track record of success to manage and direct all company finances. Responsibilities include complex data analysis, budget forecasting, overseeing accounts and budgets, and making strategic financial decisions that will promote long-term financial gain. You must have extensive experience in the financial sector with a strong financial vision and insight to match.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Direct and monitor all financial activity of the organization
  • Manage company cash flow
  • Outline and implement company-wide budget plans
  • Prepare company financial statements monthly and annually, as needed
  • Oversee all accounting work and set up internal and external audits to ensure the accuracy of information
  • Use data analysis to strategically forecast financial trends
  • Work with and advise the investment team on solid financial decision making to increase profits and minimize losses
  • Provide strategic financial planning advice to upper management for long-term growth
  • Establish internal work processes for financial department (including accounting and billing) and monitor their progress
  • Maintain and manage investor client relationships
  • Analyze and interpret financial data and present the information with reports and presentations to the board of directors and executive director
  • Manage cash from any outside grants or funding
  • Stay abreast of current market trends and patterns and act accordingly
  • Asses company spendings and work to reduce costs
  • Manage the finance department, training any new employees as necessary
  • Have a clear understanding of and adhere to current laws and regulations

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Minimum of Bachelor's degree in Business Management, Finance, Accounting, or related field
  • Master's degree and/or CPA preferred
  • 5+ years experience in a senior finance position
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Suite and other business software
  • Extremely knowledgeable in financial forecasting, accounting principles, and financial data analysis
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the propensity to successfully foster new and maintain long-standing business relationships
  • Excellent communication skills, both orally and written; skilled in the art of negotiation
  • Ability to multitask, prioritize and delegate responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner
  • Outstanding integrity, solid moral judgment, and the ability to make important decisions under pressure
  • Expert problem solver, analytical thinker, and decision-maker
  • Possess strong leadership skills and business acumen