As custodians of business success and sustainability, finance professionals enjoy higher pay than other management roles and can fast-track their way to becoming CFOs with an MBA.

If you have a knack for numbers, thrive on making data-led decisions and want to earn an impressive salary, a career in financial management could be the right fit for you.

Exploring the role of a finance manager

Finance managers play a vital role in steering the financial health and performance of companies across diverse industries, from banking and healthcare to manufacturing and beyond.

While roles vary across organisations, financial managers typically report to the chief financial officer (CFO) and guide key business decisions through analysis, forecasting and strategic direction.

With that said, it’s not all figures and spreadsheets. They also help mitigate risk and ensure regulatory compliance in safeguarding the financial future of SMEs and global corporations.

What does a finance manager do?

Finance manager responsibilities vary across roles and sectors but typically include:

  • gathering financial data
  • conducting financial analysis
  • creating and managing budgets
  • preparing financial reports
  • managing financial resources
  • identifying and managing financial risks
  • making investment decisions
  • establishing financial systems
  • managing working capital
  • implementing financial software
  • staying up-to-date with industry trends

Depending on the size of the company, some positions will require you to lead a team of finance personnel while supporting the executive management group.

How much do finance managers get paid?

As a vital link in the business success chain, finance professionals are often highly paid and sought-after for their broad skill set.

According to the latest data from Seek, the average finance manager salary in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $140,000 per year.

Annual salaries can vary depending on your experience, qualifications, location and the size of your chosen organisation. Working in a more senior role at a larger company can attract a higher salary than working for a smaller company in an entry-level position.

Here is what you can expect to earn as you progress through your financial management career.

  • Entry-level: $80,000 to $100,000
  • Mid-level: $100,000 to $140,000
  • Experienced: $140,000 to $160,000+

Finance managers that possess advanced qualifications, like an MBA, enjoy increased earning capacity when compared to their bachelor-degree-only peers and can unlock a wider range of career opportunities.

How to become a finance manager

Whether you plan to climb the corporate ladder or embark on a new career path, you’ll need to complete an accredited undergraduate degree.

Kickstarting a career as a finance manager typically requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics or a related field. To ensure you’re on the right path, check that the course you are planning to study includes units that cover financial analysis, accounting and financial management.

There are various reasons to study an MBA over a bachelor’s degree. One of the most significant benefits is the level of specialisation available across online MBA programs. Unlike undergraduate degrees, MBA degrees offer a range of focus areas, allowing you to fine-tune your skills to align with specific career goals.

Choosing an MBA with a built-in finance specialisation, like the Master of Business Administration Global from James Cook University or Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Southern Cross University, will equip you with a broader skill set than most degrees. It can also help to push your CV to the top of the pack, thanks to the in-depth and sought-after knowledge you’ll possess as a graduate.

Better still, completing either of these MBA courses can supercharge your salary and land you in Australia’s top two–three per cent of income earners.

Does an MBA require a bachelor’s degree?

You can apply for an MBA without a bachelor’s degree if you satisfy relevant work experience criteria. In most cases, you’ll need at least four years of business experience in a managerial capacity or other qualifications and practical experience recognised by the Dean.

Further accreditation

When the time comes for career planning, it’s worth obtaining a certification as a chartered accountant (CA) or certified practising accountant (CPA) to demonstrate proficiency and expertise within the finance industry.

Joining prominent industry organisations such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Finance Industry Association (AFIA) can also be beneficial.

How to be a good finance manager

Being a good finance manager requires a combination of technical skills, strategic thinking and effective communication. To excel as the eyes and ears of an organisation’s financial health, you’ll need a comprehensive grasp of the following areas:

  • Accounting knowledge. A strong understanding of accounting principles and practices is essential to ensure that financial statements and reports are precise and adhere to regulatory standards.
  • Financial planning and budgeting. You’ll need laser-sharp skills when it comes to developing financial plans and budgets that align with company strategies and objectives.
  • Financial analysis. Successful finance managers need a strong foundation in data analysis and decision modelling to make informed decisions. This includes understanding financial statements, ratios and forecasting techniques.
  • Risk management. Understanding financial risk and effectively managing it is a critical aspect of a finance manager’s role. You’ll need to continuously monitor and review potential risks to ensure that risk management strategies are effective and aligned with organisational goals.
  • Leadership skills. To become a respected and effective leader, you’ll need an understanding of organisational behaviour and finely-tuned interpersonal skills.
  • Communication skills. Effective communication is crucial for finance managers tasked with breaking down complex financial jargon into clear language for both financial and non-financial stakeholders.
  • Strategic thinking. A good finance manager needs to have a strategic mindset and be able to align financial goals with the overall organisational strategy. Consider a qualification that offers a strategic knowledge management unit.
  • Global perspective and continuous learning. A good finance manager needs to stay up-to-date with global market trends and developments and acquire further knowledge and training where possible.

Once you have mastered these skills, you will be well-equipped to effectively oversee financial operations, provide strategic guidance and ensure the financial health of any organisation.

Take the next step today

If you have your eyes set on a career as a finance manager, pursuing an MBA can have a game-changing effect on your job prospects, earning potential and career path.

So, why wait? Invest in your future by speaking with a Student Enrolment Advisor about studying corporate finance as part of an MBA.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor

Whether you’re ready to enrol, or just have a quick question, simply fill out the enquiry form below to speak directly to the university’s enrolment team. They will be able to guide you through:

Course eligibility and recognition of prior learning

Course structure and what you will study

Next intakes and how to apply

Fees and time commitments