dcsimg

Financial Management Majors Guide


Table of Contents

What Does it Mean to Study Financial Management?

A financial management degree is a specialized one -- ideal if you're interested in advancing your current career in financial services or in working at a management level with a financial focus. It is more function-driven than a general business degree.

Finance managers commonly focus on systems integration, business strategies, e-commerce, technology consulting, and human resources. Candidates for financial management positions need a broad range of skills. You should be a creative thinker and problem-solver. Interpersonal and communication skills are critical, because these jobs involve managing people and fostering teamwork to solve financial problems.

You will need to be comfortable with the latest computer technology. And as financial operations are increasingly affected by the global economy, successful managers must have knowledge of international finance. Proficiency in a foreign language can be an advantage.

Finance

Almost every organization requires professional financial management, and this increasing need will prompt a steady growth in demand for financial management graduates. From CFO to cash controller, there are a wide range of career choices available. Effective financial management is critical for efficient business operations, so well-trained, experienced financial managers with a strong grasp of the operations of all departments within their organization are valued for promotion to top management positions.

Types of Financial Management Degrees

Continuing education is vital for financial managers. Online college classes in financial management are continually improving in scope and offering more and more finance professionals the chance to advance their careers without sacrificing their current jobs or personal obligations.

Master's Degrees in Financial Management

Careers in financial management generally require a master's degree, which develops analytical skills and provides knowledge of the latest financial analysis methods and technology. The demand for graduate-level credentials reflects the growing complexity of global trade, shifting federal and state laws and regulations, and a proliferation of new and complex financial instruments. A bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or economics, a good GMAT score, and work experience are standard prerequisites for graduate studies.

Financial firms often invest in their employees by paying for the graduate courses related to their specialty (this is becoming more common with the proliferation of online degrees, since the company does not have to lose the employee's work time). Obtaining a master's degree in finance is commonly done while working full time, in conjunction with certification as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). A master's degree in financial management takes about two years to complete.

Graduate certificates in financial management are suitable for specialized management career paths such as operations, strategic and organizational management. The time requirement is about two semesters or one year, depending on how quickly you take your courses and how extensive your academic background is.

Browse master's degree programs in financial management.

Bachelor's Degrees in Financial Management

If you're not ready for an advanced degree program, a bachelor's degree with a financial management focus can be sufficient for entry-level positions or general management positions.

Browse bachelor's degree programs in financial management.

What Can You Do With a College Degree in Financial Management?

There are over 650,000 financial management jobs in the U.S. These managers are found in almost every known industry, but more than one quarter work in service industries like business, health, social, and management services. About 30% are employed by financial or related institutions, such as banks, savings and credit unions, finance companies, insurance companies, securities dealers, and real estate firms.

Employment in financial management is expected to see average growth through 2010. Candidates with expertise in finance and a master's degree should enjoy the best job prospects. As technology has reduced the time and staff required to produce financial reports and compile data, financial managers who are familiar with computer software and applications are spending more time on developing strategies and implementing the long-term goals of their organization - forecasting earnings, profits, and costs, and developing ways to increase profitability.

The securities and commodities industry will hire more financial managers to handle increasingly complex financial transactions and manage assets and investments, handle mergers and acquisitions, raise capital, and assess global financial transactions. Risk managers, who analyze finances for insurance and investment purposes, are in high demand. Financial managers can transfer their skills to closely related positions in other industries or use their experience and capital to start their own consulting firms.

Here are a few other examples of careers open to financial management graduates:

Branch Managers 

Branch managers of financial organizations administer all the functions of a branch office, from hiring personnel to assisting customers with accounts, approving loans and lines of credit, and establishing a rapport with the community to build business.

Cash Managers

Cash managers supervise the flow of cash receipts and disbursements to meet the investment and business needs of their company.

Financial Controllers 

Controllers oversee the preparation of financial reports that review and preview the organization's financial position. They also prepare special reports required by regulatory authorities. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments.

Credit Managers

Credit managers are in charge of their firm's issuance of credit, and all policies and procedures surrounding it.

Directors and Managing Directors 

Directors and managing directors (MDs) focus on corporate finance. MDs develop and cultivate relationships with various companies in order to generate corporate business for the firm. MDs typically specialize in one specific industry, to develop relationships among management teams of companies.

International Finance Managers

Managers specializing in international finance develop financial and accounting systems for the banking transactions of multinational organizations.

Risk and Insurance Managers

Risk and insurance managers work to reduce risks and losses that may arise from business operations and financial transactions undertaken by their company. They also manage the organization's insurance budget.

Treasurers and Finance Officers

Treasurers and finance officers manage the investment of funds and handle associated risks, oversee cash management activities, carry out capital-raising strategies to support a firm's expansion, and supervise mergers and acquisitions.

Some companies may hire financial managers on a temporary basis or hire financial management consultants for all their accounting and financial operations.

Financial Management Certification, Licensure and Associations

Certification is recommended and often required for a career in financial management. It indicates you have educational credentials, professional experience, and have maintained ethical industry standards. Certificates and licenses are as varied as the career paths in financial management.

Financial managers who specialize in accounting may earn the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designations. In general, to become a CPA you must complete 150 credit hours of college-level education, which translates to five years of college- and graduate-level work. You must then pass all four parts of the Uniform Certified Public Accountants Exam, and have about two years of accounting work experience.

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation requires a bachelor's degree or a certain minimum score on specified graduate school entrance exams, according to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

A CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation is sponsored by the CFA Institute. You will require a bachelor's degree and three years of professional experience in a relevant field, and you will take three rigorous exams over the course of three years.

Financial Managers with at least two years of professional experience can obtain their Certified Cash Manager (CCM) credentials through the Association for Financial Professionals, by earning a passing score on its online exam.

Personal financial advisors are sometimes required to earn a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. The requirements include completion of a college degree, passing a comprehensive set of exams, and following a strict code of ethics. A certification as a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) is also useful in this field.

The Certificate in International Cash Management is designed for global finance professionals. The Association of Government Accountants offers the Certified Government Financial Manager certification to professionals with a bachelor's degree, two years of relevant experience, and a passing score on their three-part exam.

The National Association of Credit Management administers a three-part certification program for business credit professionals. Managers start from the Credit Business Associate and graduate to Credit Business Fellow and then Certified Credit Executive.

Return to the top

Pursue your Finance Major today…

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
  • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
  • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
  • Michigan's largest independent college.
  • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
  • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in Business, Education, Psychology and more.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Want to earn a bachelor's or master's degree in the high-demand business field?
  • The Colangelo College of Business educates and develops values-driven business leaders.
  • Finance, Accounting, Business Admin/Mgmt, Leadership, Sports Business, Public Administration & Marketing.
  • Grand Canyon University offers these highly valued degree emphases and more! Learn about our Colangelo College of Business.
  • Courses available online, on campus in Phoenix, or in other satellite locations throughout Arizona. Talk to us to learn about financial aid, start dates & more!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Lower Tuition Cost Than Many Other Universities.  Classes Start Soon.
  • Engaging, manageable 8-week classes start every month
  • Curriculum developed by academic and industry professionals
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • "Regionally Accredited"
  • "Offers a Bachelors for Todays Most Demanding Fields"
  • "100% Online and Flexible to Balance Your Work and Life"
  • "Request Information. Apply Today!"
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits