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Finance Officer

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration or other financial field
Average Salary: $64,000
Job Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of Work

Finance officers are highly trained professionals that are responsible for a variety of financial tasks within an organization. Part of their job is to manage the budget and financial goals of the organization, and they are also responsible for spending and investing funds. In general they must ensure that the financial system of a company or organization is maintained and all data is entered correctly. They may also have to prepare financial statements and assist with annual audits.

It’s very important that they are able to understand how to handle risk and some may need to be able to handle mergers and acquisitions. Another important part of a finance officer’s job is being able to raise capital so an organization can expand. They also are responsible for the employee’s payroll and benefits and have to monitor expenses. It’s their job to develop budget projections and to approve invoices.

On a more mundane level, many are also responsible for office management and making sure supplies and equipment are ordered and maintained. They are also responsible for managing the filing and storage of documents. It’s likely the tasks will vary quite considerably between organizations.

Education and Training Requirements

The majority of Finance officers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to finance. A number of Finance officers also hold a Master’s degree in finance. Scholarships are sometimes available for Masters degrees. Most Finance officers begin their careers in entry-level positions and only become officers once they have the necessary experience. Employers will most likely give in-house training to new officers so they can learn the correct procedures and policies.

A large number of Finance officers choose to gain professional certification so that they become a Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO), in order to advance their career. It’s necessary to participate in continuing education courses in order to keep this certification, which keeps skills current. Continuing education is very important as changes to federal and state laws are ongoing. Most employers have a variety of continuing education opportunities which include workshops and seminars. Some cities and states have finance officer training courses.

Getting the Job

A finance officer must have a good analytical mind and be able to work as part of a team. They should also have a strong interest in finance and good attention to detail. As a finance officer, they will be working with a variety of people and need to have good interpersonal and communication skills.

Internships are sometimes available through the Government Finance Officers Association to graduate students and provide valuable practical work experience. The internships typically last for three months, although some interns may be able to apply for a second semester.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for Finance officers is good, although those with good education and professional certification will be able to secure the best jobs. It’s expected that the continuing need for financial services will create new jobs within this field with job prospects growing an average of 8% within the next few years.

This career has good advancement possibilities as many employers do offer the chance of ongoing education. As finance officers gain more experience, they can expect to be given more responsibility and can expect good salary increases.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working conditions are good as most will be working in well-equipped offices. The average working week is 40 hours, and it’s likely that most of the time will be spent in the office. Finance officers will spend the majority of the day working with computers and need to be prepared to remain cognizant with new technology.

Salary and Benefits

The starting salary for a finance officer is around $37,000, and the opportunity for advancement is good for self-motivated individuals. The very best can go on to become chief financial officers of large companies who command large salaries of up to $300,000. Benefits will vary according to the size of the company, and as many jobs are in sizable financial institutions it’s likely the benefits will be good with healthcare and paid vacation as standard.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Financial Professionals
4520 East-West Highway, Ste. 750
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 907 2862

Center for Financial Training
Educational programs for financial sectors, which can be completed online or in a traditional classroom environment. The courses give credits which can be used towards college degrees.

Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada
203 N. LaSalle Street – Ste. 2700
Chicago, IL 60601-1210
(312) 977 9700
(312) 977 4806

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAccounting & Finance