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Director of Finance

Education and Training: Advanced degree preferred
Average Salary: $99,300
Job Outlook: Good

Education and Training Requirements

Directors of finance normally earn bachelor’s degrees in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration before moving on to secure a master’s degree of some sort. Because directors of finance deal with complex financial situations, they must be analytical in nature and possess knowledge of financial analysis methods and technology. Many directors of finance are certified public accountants, and may have backgrounds as accountants or auditors.

Directors of finance need a number of skills, including interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to describe complex financial data. They must also be problem-solvers, be creative, and be able to apply analytical skills to business. Students should take as many math and business classes as possible in high school and college to become a director of finance. There are also a number of advanced certification programs available once someone has some experience in the finance industry. These include the CFA Institute’s Chartered Financial Analyst certification, the Certified Treasury Professional designation from the Association for Financial Professionals, among others.

Getting the Job

Directors of finance usually work in the finance department at a business or corporation before moving up to the director level. Student internships while in college at finance departments are recommended. While it is not difficult to break into this field, it can be tough to secure a director of finance position because of stiff competition for the jobs available. A grueling interview process is to be expected.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

While employment growth for directors of finance is expected to grow as fast as the national average for all occupations, candidates for positions will face a lot of competition for those jobs. Those applicants who possess a master’s degree or higher will have the best opportunities to secure work.

Positions will be increasing thanks to changes in regulatory laws and the globalization of the finance industry. Opportunities are expected at large companies and for newly-created businesses. Banks, the financial industry, and risk management areas are where directors of finance will see opportunities. However, those in mergers and acquisitions and large corporations could see fewer opportunities because of downsizing and changes in the financial market.

Candidates who specialize in accounting and finance are expected to have excellent opportunities, especially with a masters degree or better. Those who understand international finance, complex financial transactions, and have excellent communication skills will have the best opportunities. Opportunities exist for directors of finance to become vice presidents, chief financial officers, chief executive officers, and other high-level corporate executives.

Working Conditions and Environment

Directors of finance work in an office environment. They tend to work many hours throughout the week, with 50- or 60-hour work weeks not being uncommon. Directors of finance often deal with top managers and other directors at the office. They also deal with large amounts of financial data and spend a lot of time on the computer analyzing that data. They may also travel a lot, depending on the company and its location. Being a director of finance can be a stressful position.

Salary and Benefits

Directors of finance have a median salary of $99,300, with a general salary range of $72,000 and $135,000. Directors of finance usually receive a full benefits package, including health insurance, retirement funds, and time off. They are also eligible to receive additional perks like bonuses, stock options, etc.

The actual salary can vary by size of company, location and industry. For example, directors of finance in the securities industry have a median salary of $134,000. Other industry medians:

  • Management $115,000

  • Insurance $110,000

  • Local government $78,650

Where to Go for More Information

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

CFA Institute
477 Madison Ave., 21st Fl.
New York, NY 10022
(434) 951-5499

Society of Financial Services Professionals
19 Campus Blvd., Ste. 100
Newtown Square, PA 19073-3239
(610) 526-2500

Additional topics

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