Qualifications Required for a Finance Director

In the corporate setting, finance directors combine analytical dexterity with a knack for number crunching to perform tasks. They usually work in tandem with department heads and segment chiefs, ensuring that accounting data is accurate. To enter the profession, prospective financial managers must generally meet education and experience requirements.

  1. Academic Qualifications

    • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a financial director holds at least a bachelor's degree in a business or accounting field. Typical coursework includes financial analysis, economics, investments and securities markets. Senior financial directors or those with significant responsibilities usually have a master's degree. Liberal arts majors are not uncommon in the occupation, provided they possess business acumen and analytical dispositions, among other skills.

    Professional Credentials

    • Professional organizations, such as the AICPA and IMA, keep financial managers engaged by giving them the opportunity to test their knowledge on a regular basis. AICPA and IMA stand for American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Institute of Management Accountants, respectively. These institutions sponsor designations that carry professional weight, such as certified public accountant and certified financial manager. Professionals seek these credentials to enhance marketplace visibility and expand long-term networking opportunities. Companies often look at professional designations to determine whether prospective financial directors have already passed muster, as the credentials may be the litmus test indicating directors' technical knowledge.

    Technical Knowledge

    • A financial director must have specific acumen in a variety of work streams. The director typically supervises the work of bookkeepers, making sure they record corporate transactions correctly. The financial manager also ensures that accountants present performance data in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Financial executives also provide guidance in operational activities, reviewing profit data and advising department heads on how to marshal resources at hand to spur sales.

    Skill Set

    • Finance department heads display various skills when carrying out a corporate agenda. They generally have leadership skills, the ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, complex problem-solving aptitude, and judgement and decision making. Other traits common among financial supervisors include deductive reasoning, analytical dexterity and social perceptiveness. Inductive reasoning is the capacity to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.


    • To cope with the unique challenges that modern-day finance poses, accounting directors rely on a variety of tools and equipment. These include project management software, accounts receivable and payable management applications, mainframe computers and information retrieval or search software. Other tools include document management software; credit adjudication and lending management system software, or CALMS; and financial accounting, analysis and reporting software, also called FAARS.

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