Financial Manager

Financial managers conduct data analysis and provide guidance to senior management on strategies to maximise profits, while also overseeing the financial well-being of an organisation.
Financial Manager
3 min

In simple terms, a financial manager is a professional responsible for formulating and guiding a business organisation’s overall financial activities. Financial managers usually perform tasks like preparing financial statements, business activity reports, and forecasts. They oversee financial details to ensure compliance with legal requirements. They also supervise employees responsible for financial reporting and budgeting.

Who is a financial manager?

It is essential to understand the financial manager’s meaning, what a financial manager does, and how important he is to the organisation. A financial manager’s role encompasses numerous responsibilities, including forecasting, budgeting, financial risk management, and investment planning. The individual analyses financial data, develops strategies for profit maximisation and ensures a company's overall financial health. Moreover, they play a pivotal role in strategy-based decision-making that eventually influences the organisation’s direction and growth. Moreover, they also ensure that all financial regulations are complied with.

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What is the role of a financial manager?

A financial manager is the chief steward of a company’s financial resources and is mainly responsible for overseeing an organisation's forecasting, financial planning, and budgeting. They analyse financial data and subsequently provide recommendations and strategic insights to the senior management to help in all decision-making processes on capital expenditures, risk management, and investments. They are also responsible for managing the cash flow, securing fresh financing to aid the company’s growth initiatives and daily operations, and working capital optimisation.

Moreover, financial managers are in charge of regular financial reporting and monitoring regulatory compliance and internal controls to safeguard the integrity of all financial operations. Their expertise in accounting principles and finance makes them the key contributors to an organisation’s sustainability and financial success in the long run.

Why is finance management important for companies?

Since finance is the lifeblood of commerce, the role and importance of a financial manager cannot be underestimated. This is more so because a financial manager correctly analyses market trends to identify opportunities to acquire other companies or to expand an existing company, manages company credit, and maximises the company’s shareholders’ wealth.

Also read: What is an asset management company

Types of financial managers in India

In India, financial managers may be corporate finance, investment, treasury, or risk managers, depending on their area of specialisation. Each type focuses on financial management’s distinct aspects to cater to diverse business needs in the Indian scenario.

1. Controllers

Controllers are in charge of an organisation's overall accounting functions while ensuring full compliance with all applicable regulatory standards. Their primary responsibilities are budgeting, financial reporting, providing timely and accurate financial information that aids in correct decision-making, and implementing internal controls. Also, a controller identifies trends, analyses financial data, assesses the financial performance of an organisation, liaises with the tax authorities and auditors to sort out financial and tax-related problems, and mitigates risks. Their expertise in financial regulations and accounting principles empowers controllers to maintain the organisation’s transparency and financial integrity.

2. Credit managers

The principal responsibility of credit managers is managing a company’s credit risk while ensuring that payments are received from customers on time. They also assess potential client creditworthiness, monitor terms of credit, and set up credit limits. Moreover, a credit manager develops and implements an organisation’s credit procedures and policies to reduce bad debts and enhance the cash flow. Additionally, they handle collections, resolve credit-related disputes, and negotiate terms of payments with clients. Credit managers substantially contribute to the organisation’s financial stability by managing credit risk effectively and maintaining cordial relationships with stakeholders and customers, which is crucial to balance risk and reward in all credit transactions.

3. Insurance managers

Insurance managers manage the company’s insurance requirements and risks. Their principal responsibilities include insurance requirement assessment, negotiating policies with prospective insurers, and ensuring appropriate coverage for risks associated with liability, employee benefits, and property. The insurance manager assesses insurance proposals, calculates premiums, and recommends insurance solutions that are cost-effective to mitigate any potential loss. Their additional responsibilities include insurance claims management, liaising with concerned insurance carriers, and overseeing compliance with insurance regulations. Through the effective management of insurance portfolios, insurance managers protect an organisation from unforeseen risks, reduce financial losses, and safeguard its assets.

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What does a financial manager do and how do they help businesses succeed?

Financial management has always driven a business’s success by providing the basic framework for informed decision-making. It guides businesses to efficiently allocate their resources, enhance cash flow, and optimise profitability. Efficient financial management also helps companies navigate challenges like economic uncertainties, regulatory changes, and market volatility.

Prudent financial management facilitates investment evaluation, risk mitigation, and strategic planning so businesses can seize the right opportunities to grow and expand. Consequently, businesses can build ample investor confidence, attract new investments, and sustain their success in highly competitive markets. Thus, by maintaining transparency, accountability, and financial stability, efficient financial management becomes the cornerstone of a resilient and thriving business ecosystem.

1. Follow the rules and manage taxes

Managing taxation-related issues and following rules are mandatory aspects of financial management for any business, and a financial manager ensures that. Proper adherence to tax laws ensures avoiding penalties and other legal repercussions. Efficient tax management implies timely tax return filing, accurate record-keeping, maximising eligible credits and deductions, and reducing tax liabilities to preserve more funds for further growth. Additionally, maintaining integrity and transparency in tax reporting not only improves the organisation’s reputation but also fosters stakeholders’ trust. Thus, prioritising adherence to rules and efficient tax management contributes substantially to a company’s financial stability and success over the long term.

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2. Get better access to finances

Quick access to capital is critical to businesses to fund their day-to-day operations, investment initiatives, and expansion activities. Efficient financial management has always been known to enhance an organisation’s credibility with investors and lenders and facilitate easier and quicker access to fresh capital. Companies can be more trustworthy to investors and financial institutions if they are known to maintain their financial records transparently, demonstrate robust and steady financial performances, and adhere to honest financial practices. Moreover, financial management enables businesses to identify financial needs in advance to strategically plan and get timely access to funds if required. Ultimately, easy access to funds allows a company to seize the right growth opportunities to achieve its objectives in the long run.

3. Control business costs

Controlling business-related costs is mandatory for maintaining sustainability and profitability. Efficient cost management is based on identifying, analysing, and optimising expenses across all operational aspects. The process includes regular scrutiny of overhead costs, negotiation of more cost-effective contracts with vendors, and implementation of efficient measures for streamlining processes. Careful budgeting and monitoring help businesses identify areas of overspending and, accordingly, implement cost-saving steps without compromising on productivity or quality. Moreover, leveraging data analytics and technology provides useful insights into cost drivers and helps identify improvement areas. By implementing practical cost control measures, a business can preserve its resources and improve competitiveness while ensuring viability and good financial health in the long term.

4. Measure your success

Every business needs to periodically measure its progress in achieving goals. The implementation of key performance indicators (KPIs) enables a company to keep track of and evaluate its various operational aspects, like customer satisfaction, revenue growth, market share, and profitability. Furthermore, businesses can also effectively gauge their success levels and identify improvement areas by setting specific, relevant, achievable, measurable, and time-bound goals. Regular monitoring of KPIs and performance metrics analysis empowers a business to make informed decisions and adjust strategies while driving improvement simultaneously. Ultimately, success measurement helps a company stay more focused and accountable.

5. Improve weak areas

Strengthening weak areas is also essential for a business to improve its competitiveness and overall performance. Such weak areas may be identified through regular evaluations of performance, data analysis, and feedback mechanisms so that the management can accordingly develop and implement targeted strategies for improvement. The process could involve training and developing employees or implementing improvements in processes by deploying new technologies. Regular progress monitoring and measurement are also crucial for assessing improvement initiatives’ effectiveness for making necessary adjustments. When weak areas are addressed proactively, companies can reinforce their operations and mitigate risks while positioning themselves for success in competitive and dynamic markets.

6. Optimising marketing activities

Optimising activities related to marketing is critical for businesses to enhance the overall effectiveness of their marketing initiatives to achieve the desired outcomes. Marketing optimisation involves data analysis, performance metrics evaluation, and reshaping strategies to improve channel selection, customer targeting and messaging. By leveraging proven and effective tools like marketing automation, customer segmentation, and data analytics, businesses can personalise marketing campaigns and improve engagement to drive more conversion rates. Additionally, keeping pace with industry trends enables a business to optimise its marketing activities to achieve better results. Eventually, the optimisation of marketing activities results in a more robust brand identity and presence, and sustainable growth.

7. Focus on growth areas

Businesses must continuously focus on growth areas to capitalise on available opportunities and drive expansion. Moreover, a company may prioritise its initiatives and strategically allocate its resources to align with its growth objectives by identifying high-potential growth areas through customer feedback, competitive research, and market analysis. The process also involves new product development, entering new markets, or deploying more dynamic strategies for customer acquisition and retention. Concentrated efforts to improve growth areas lead to increased market share and enhanced revenue generation and help businesses achieve sustainable growth for long-term success.

8. Enhancing staff strength

In order to build a highly motivated and skilled workforce that drives organisational success, every business must recruit individuals with the relevant expertise and skills, which can be complemented by regular training to nurture and polish their potential further. Additionally, a congenial and collaborative work environment and appropriate recognition of employee contributions boost morale and help retain the best talents. Investments in improving staff strength lead to better innovation, employee satisfaction, and productivity. This inevitably results in higher performance and lowers employee turnover.

9. Predict risks and avoid them

Businesses must always safeguard against potential threats to ensure continuity by predicting risks or avoiding them. Risk management involves the analysis of historical data, conducting risk assessments comprehensively, and the ability to forecast future risks to implement proactive contingency plans and arrange for adequate insurance coverage to reduce the negative impacts of all identified risks. Additionally, the company must stay abreast of current industrial trends, geopolitical developments, and regulatory changes to anticipate emerging risks. By avoiding or predicting risks, businesses can always keep their assets protected, along with their long-term viability and reputation in an ever-dynamic business environment.

Also read: What is investment management

How to become a financial manager in India?

Every finance manager must have certain skills and qualifications, and some of them are highlighted below:

  • They must have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Commerce, Business, Accounting, Finance, Business Administration, or Economics.
  • They may be a Cost or Chartered Accountant or have an MBA in Finance from a recognised and reputed management school.
  • Beyond educational qualifications, finance managers must also possess robust leadership qualities to effectively guide teams, proficiency in mathematics to analyse and forecast accurately, and a clear understanding of accounting and budgeting principles.
  • Moreover, a financial manager must have excellent communication skills to clearly convey financial insights to all stakeholders.
  • They must also be adaptable to state-of-the-art technology to leverage the latest financial software for effective data analysis and reporting.
  • Finally, they must be committed to learning continuously and adapting to evolving practices and industrial developments to remain effective and efficient in any dynamic business environment.

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Financial managers play a critical role in any organisation’s sustainability and success across industries. Their ability to oversee all financial activities, effectively manage resources, and mitigate risks make them indispensable to their employers. Since they are solely responsible for financial analysis and planning, compliance, and risk management, they must possess leadership, and analytical and technological skills.

Financial managers plan strategies for optimising financial performance to ensure that the company remains financially stable and competitive. They are trained to navigate complicated financial landscapes by providing guidance and valuable insights to senior management. By steering organisations through economic challenges, financial managers drive growth opportunities and maintain financial health over the long term. Moreover, their expertise helps businesses adapt to shifting market conditions and achieve success by capitalising on new opportunities. Ultimately, financial managers are the main stewards of a business’s financial resources and steer organisations through numerous economic challenges to drive growth opportunities and ensure their financial health over the long term.

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Frequently asked questions

What is financial management with an example?
Financial management is planning, organising, controlling, and directing an organisation's overall financial activities to achieve its financial goals effectively and efficiently. It involves budgeting, financing, risk management, and investing. An example would be a company developing a budget for its expansion project, making cost estimates for buying equipment and other operational expenses, forecasting expected earnings and expenses for the near future, overall investment management, raising bank loans or issuing bonds to fund the expansion, manage cash flow and risk, and oversee compliance as well.

What are the roles of a financial manager?
A financial manager is in charge of a company’s financial resources, optimises its financial performance, and supports strategic decision-making. Their responsibilities include financial planning, investment management, risk analysis and management, financing and compliance.
Who can become a financial manager?
Any person who is a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered or Cost Accountant or has an MBA in Finance can become a finance manager.

How important is a financial manager?
Finance managers are important to any organisation since they provide strategic guidance, operational support, and financial leadership that are critical to achieving the business’s objectives and maximising profitability to ensure long-term sustainability.

What is rule 72 in finance?
Rule 72 is a mathematical formula used for estimating the time it will take for a particular investment’s value to double based on a fixed annual return rate. The calculation is done by dividing 72 by the annual rate of return.

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The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute any financial advice. The content herein has been prepared by BFL on the basis of publicly available information, internal sources and other third-party sources believed to be reliable. However, BFL cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information, assure its completeness, or warrant such information will not be changed. 

This information should not be relied upon as the sole basis for any investment decisions. Hence, User is advised to independently exercise diligence by verifying complete information, including by consulting independent financial experts, if any, and the investor shall be the sole owner of the decision taken, if any, about suitability of the same.