How to Become a Finance Officer

Keeping a business in the black, even when it is a Fortune 500 corporation, is no easy feat. The need to retain existing customers, bring in new customers, keep sales high, and make sure that both suppliers and employees are paid consistently all determine the success or failure of a business. For those who enjoy planning out money flow, a career as a financial officer allows you to determine the trajectory of a company’s health over years and even decades. The rewards for good finances speak for themselves, with US News Reports reporting that financial managers average no less than $100,000 in salary per year.


How to Become a Finance Officer

Becoming a financial officer requires cultivating a very long career resume.

When you want to control millions or even billions of dollars, you had better believe that a corporation will only hand over the fiscal reins when you have the education necessary to put their money where your mouth is. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that a four-year degree along with more that five year’s experience is needed to rise to the upper echelon of financial management and direction. Get started early on by applying to a good university with a strong track record of graduate job placement. A business management degree can be a good educational background, but it is recommended to pursue a degree in finance or accounting in order to understand the numbers behind corporate cash flows. Once you have finished your undergraduate degree, it is highly recommended that you pursue a master’s degree in your business field or pursue an MBA. Concentrate on finance or accounting instead of management, since you will need to be in charge of the figures instead of the employees.

Begin To Work

Becoming a financial officer requires cultivating a very long career resume. Begin as early as possible with an internship in undergraduate or graduate school, so that you can begin an entry-level position in a business upon graduation. You can join an accounting firm if desired, but will need to be certified as a CPA and pass the examinations after two years of work. A finance track does not require certification, but may require you to take on jobs that are outside your career interests.

Look For Advancement

You may find job satisfaction and security in a small business or as a solo accountant, but to become the money manager at a large corporation you will need to look at companies with a chance for career advancement. Focus strictly on accounting and money management in the first few years of your career, but after establishing yourself as reliable and dependable, you want to nurture a management job track. Take on projects that involve managing or co-managing other employees so that you begin to gain the necessary skills that upper-level executives must have.

Move Around
Only a few financial officers will remain at one company for the duration of their entire career. Do not be shy about looking for new jobs with greater responsibilities, management, and salary. Climb the ladder as steadily as possible, and do not be worried about setbacks. Look for companies that have routine turnover in middle management, since these will offer new positions sooner rather than later. Whenever you have worked at a particular company for longer than five years without any hint of promotion on the horizon, think about changing employers.

Be Patient

It can take fifteen years to become a financial officer. Always work to the best of your capability, but do not overburden yourself physically and psychologically with your work. Remember that each job is a stepping stone and not a final solution, so that you work based on a career goal instead of trying to attain the top level in your current situation.

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