Career Overview: Finance Executive

What They Do

A finance executive’s main task is to supervise the financial health and procedures of a company. An executive of this kind can work in either the private or the public sector and, depending on the size of the organization, is responsible for overseeing the various financial departments. Finance executives report to the rest of the administrative or executive board. They work with accountants and other finance-related professionals to make sure budgetary concerns are met as well as to maintain communication about the health of a company’s finances.


Typically, a finance executive creates or supervises the creation of summary reports relating to key money-related issues that can be given to upper-level executives for review. They manage projects and departments in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency. Many financial executives not only take care of the financial well-being of an organization but also find ways through the analysis of data to supervise other executives on ways to increase profits.


A finance executive must have a variety of skills and knowledge relating to both finance and economics. These individuals must also have analytical skills that can contribute to the decision-making process. Math skills relating to statistics, accounting and bookkeeping are also necessary when pursuing a job like this. Because finance executives are responsible for a wide range of data and information, they must be highly organized and able to distill and analyze data and to keep, understand and communicate important information.

Career Growth

Financial executives provide an important service to many businesses, specifically those that are experiencing growth in their field. As the economy recovers from the recent recession, private sector growth is significant. Because the United States is a global financial center, financial organizations like commercial banks and savings institutions greatly affect the level of job growth for these kinds of positions.

Salary Potential

The average salary of a finance executive depends on the size and industry of the business for which he or she works. Finance executives who work for businesses in the scientific or technical service industry make an annual average of around $130,000. Those who work in manufacturing or the insurance industries earn between $107,000 and $109,000 a year. Small companies and organizations pay their finance executives a minimum of $59,000 a year. The biggest corporations pay up to $187,000 or more a year as an annual salary. These figures, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, do not include bonuses or incentives.

Education Required

For most entry-level positions concerning finance, an individual must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business administration, economics, finance, accounting or organizational leadership. Work experience in a finance-related position, such as a loan officer, accountant, auditor or financial analyst, is necessary to gaining employment successfully. A prospective finance executive with more than five years of experience and a master’s degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, will have a competitive edge when it comes to these executive prospects. Many organizations look for potential employees with professional certifications in finance. Though not often required, a certification by the CFA Institute or the Association for Financial Professionals suggests that a candidate has attained a certain amount of experience and competence in this field.