Why It's Time to Update Your Finance Manager Job Description

The words "decision" and "making" are prominent in a mosaic of words

Some aspects of a finance manager job description are fairly standard. Of course, a finance manager must analyze and report all sorts of fiscal information. Of course, one must compute and forecast revenue and expenditures. Of course, supervising cash management, completing audits and all the usual accounting tasks come with the territory. But if you create a job posting that lists only these responsibilities, the posting will look like a relic from 1982.

Today, the role of a finance manager demands a wider range of capabilities. Among other things, a finance professional is a compliance expert, business strategist, tech guru and, oh yeah, a financial wizard. An effective finance manager job description should accurately convey the many hats the individual will wear. Here are some important tips to consider when crafting a job posting:

Regulations and globalization
Given the increasing number of government regulations businesses face today, your firm needs a finance manager who keeps abreast of the latest changes impacting your industry. He or she should be comfortable deciphering the newest SEC statutes and pronouncements from the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Keep in mind, though, this isn't merely a matter of compliance. A good finance manager not only knows how to comply with the law but also how to help your company succeed by working within it.

This is especially important when corporations are spread across the globe. As businesses grow, so too does the need to understand and comply with international regulations and policies. In fact, 69 percent of CFOs polled in a Robert Half survey said financial professionals will need international experience in coming years. And although the U.S. seems to have stepped back from adopting International Finance Reporting Standards, at least for now, finance managers at multinational companies should possess keen knowledge of these as well as other regulations in each jurisdiction in which their company operates.

Until fairly recently, a calculator and Microsoft Excel were enough to get the job done. OK, that's a bit of a stretch, but there's no denying that today, you need people with the right IT knowledge related to cloud computing, data security and a wide range of accounting software. According to the annual Salary Guide from Robert Half, Hyperion and Microsoft Dynamics GP are just a few of the programs that finance managers might need to know.

In a survey by the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, almost 80 percent of senior finance professionals polled say that their roles require more direct involvement in strategic analysis and decision-making than previously. Indeed, accounting professionals need to realize when to spend less time simply crunching numbers and more time interpreting them. They should also be able explain those digits to other areas of the business. For instance, how can your organization better target customers? A capable finance manager will know how to look at marketing, and many other areas, through a financial lens. Consequently, your finance manager job description should stress the importance of working with other business departments.

At the same time, a finance manager should be a leader, have excellent written and verbal communication abilities, and possess other soft skills to influence and interact with others in your organization. You need someone who knows how to break down silos. In other words, your finance manager job description should highlight that you're looking for a financial specialist as much as a business generalist.