How to Become an Financial Specialist

Career Overview

What exactly is a financial specialist? Financial specialists are leaders when it comes to an organization’s finances, with the highest-ranking position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). They will plan and direct an organization’s financial goals. They oversee and create the organizations budgets. They will work across departments in an organization--including those companies who have multiple sites and foreign headquarters—seeing to it that each is responsible for following the finical requirements of the organization.

The finance specialist will also play a key role in mergers and acquisitions, tax strategies, and investment strategies. They not only handle the finances, they determine risks involved in future financial endeavors. Among their day-to-day duties, finance specialists will also find themselves dealing with technology as paper recordkeeping becomes obsolete. Because of this, they may also play a key role in helping design programs for their organization’s data management.

Specializations and Places of Work

Finance specialist careers are available in many sectors. A financial specialist can be found from entry-level positions to Chief Financial Officers (CFO) in many organizations. Wherever there is an operating budget, there is a need for someone to handle the finances. Some financial specialists will specialize in a particular segment of industry, for instance, healthcare, education, entertainment, or government.

They will often work at a company headquarters in order to be available for things such as shareholder meetings and committee meetings. The finance specialist in high-level government organization will often work in state capitols, federal buildings, and military sites depending on their roles and positions.

Roles and Duties of a Financial Specialist

Financial specialists duties can include leading, reporting, accounting, auditing, goal setting, analyzing data, and communicating across organizational departments. It is also the duty of a financial specialist to stay current on any changes in laws that may effect how a company does business. If there are changes, they have the responsibility to keep others in the organization up to date by explaining the change, and teaching how to implement it.

The role of the financial specialist is often the gatekeeper of all things related to finances in an organization--from income to expenses. Nothing happens without their scrutiny and approval. It is up to them to see that each financial decision is made with the organization’s goals in mind.

Education and Training

Many students who wish to become a financial specialist will often set their sights on an MBA. Other possible degrees include accounting, economics, and political science with masters in finance. Many employers will not hire a candidate who doesn’t hold a masters degree due to the significant role a financial specialist plays in the organization.

Training that goes beyond a degree will include field training and continuing education. Field training typically takes place either while a student is in school, or as an entry-level position. In order to reach the higher paid positions, employers look for those who can prove a solid track record.

Continuing education will always be required for the financial specialist. If not on a formal level, at least on an informal one. Keeping up to date with changes that take place in the laws and best practices of finances is vital.

Find schools to help to further your career:

Salary Information and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the 2010 income for a financial specialist had a mean annual salary of $66,000. The range for this position’s salary will correlate with the nature of the position, the size of the organization, an employee’s experience, and the employer’s location. Top CFOs with large companies will earn salaries that can reach millions.

While jobs are available in just about any industry, among the top employers are federal government positions, and the banking and lending sector according to the BLS. Also, finding work is more likely in a large metropolitan city, or a place where government jobs are plentiful. Two of the largest employment areas for a financial specialist, according to the BLS are San Francisco, CA with more than 4000 positions reported, and Washington, DC with close to 6000.

General Resources

Education

Career Specialties

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