How to Become a Finance Officer

Finance is a very important part of virtually all organizations. Finance officers are highly trained and experienced professionals that are responsible for overseeing a variety of financial tasks of an organization.

What does a finance officer do?

Finance officers manage the financial goals and budgets of their organization. They are often responsible for administration of the financial system. They supervise the spending and investment of funds, cash management activities, and manage the necessary risks. They also handle mergers and acquisitions and carry out capital-raising methods to support expansion of the organization. Finance officers handle employee payroll and benefits, approve transactions, and monitor all expenses. They also approve invoices, distribute receipts, and develop budget projections. Finance officers are sometimes responsible for maintaining government documentation.

What kind of training does a finance officer need?

Finance officers typically need at least a bachelor degree in finance, accounting, business administration, or other related field. Many employers prefer candidates with a master degree in finance. Many finance officers begin their careers in entry-level positions and advance to officer positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new finance officers to learn the required policies, procedures, and expectations. Many finance officers gain professional certification such as the Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) designation to remain competitive in the field. Finance officers must complete regular continuing education to maintain their certifications, keep their skills current, and stay up to date on advancements in the field and changes to federal and state laws and regulations. Many employers provide a variety of continuing education opportunities for their employees such as conferences, workshops, and seminars.

What are the prospects for a career as a finance officer?

Employment of finance officers is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for financial services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with strong completion. Finance managers with advance education and professional certification will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace finance officers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do finance officers make?

As of February 2010, the average annual salary for finance officers is $64,000; average annual finance officer salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a finance officer is a great choice for people with a strong interest in finance and directing a variety of financial operations of an organization. Finance officers must have a solid understanding of the financial policies and procedures of their organization. Patience, detail orientation, analytical thinking, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Finance officers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they interact with a variety of people. They must also be able to work as part of team.

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