Financial Manager - What's In A Job Title?

We often get into the conversation with our candidates about job titles vs actual responsibilities. The reality is that there is just no standard across the board. A Financial Manager can be ABC at company X and can be XYZ at company A. This will all depend on the size of company, industry, size of the team as well as your geographical area. I would like to talk about the importance of considering both the responsibilities AND the job title when considering whether a role is right for you.

Being specialists in the financial field we often work with Financial Managers and Financial Accountants. A typical Financial Manager’s duties look something like this:

  • Management accounting, reporting and analysis
  • Lead the annual financial budget process and the forecast process
  • Establish financial goals, objectives and strategies and drive their implementation and achievement
  • Cash flow management
  • Oversee and lead the annual audit process

AND

A typical Financial Accountant’s duties look something like this:

  • Maintain General Ledger and process all accounting journals
  • Manage debtor and creditor accounts
  • Preparation of statutory returns
  • Preparation of the Trial Balance, Balance Sheet, Income Statement
  • Preparation of Annual Financial Statements and preparation of files for the annual audit process

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I believe that one should put more focus on the content of the actual role and responsibilities than the title. Look at the team size, the company size and growth opportunities. As mentioned, one company might call a senior accounts person an Accountant but they will manage a team of 3 people and report directly to a CFO, which in essence, makes them a Financial Manager. Whereas another company might call their accounts person a Financial Manager but they will not manage anyone and will report to a Group Financial Manager. In large corporates, senior finance professionals are often called Financial Accountants yet their roles are heavily management accounting focused and they are earning the same salary as a Financial Manager at a small company.

In closing, I can’t stress enough how important it is to look at a career opportunity as just that – an opportunity, rather than a step up the “title ladder”. Ask the right questions and you will quickly gauge whether it’s a fit for you or not. Below are a few general questions to ask when exploring a new job opportunity:

  • Size of company
  • Size of finance team
  • Reporting line
  • Turnover of company
  • Primary responsibilities
  • Secondary responsibilities
  • Succession plan for the role

Remember that in reality, there is very little in a title!

Written by Zelmari – Commercial Finance Recruitment Consultant – zelmari@ca.co.za

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