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What does a Financial Executive do?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A financial executive holds a position of responsibility within an organization. He or she is typically provided with access to department budgets, expense approvals and project budgets. It is important to note that there are two types of financial executive positions: an executive position in the financial industry and a financial management position in a different industry.

In the financial industry, a financial executive can be responsible for a range of departments from marketing to sales. The qualifications required to hold this type of position include post-secondary education and significant experience in management and the subject matter. An executive position often is the culmination of a long, successful career.

A financial executive in another industry is responsible for the management of a division of a department. He or she is responsible for budgetary authorization, controls revenue and is charged with controlling the financial activities of the department. Many people who are in this position hold a degree in accounting, finance or commerce.

Financial reports are typically required to be given to senior managers on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. The purpose of this type of reporting is to manage the performance of the division, increase revenue and minimize losses. The vast majority of firms that have a financial executive position are large, multinational organizations that generate significant revenue streams.

The financial executive is the ultimate authority within his or her division. Depending on the industry and the area of responsibility, he or she reports directly to a person at the managerial level. It is the responsibility of the executive to manage the financial position of the division, support the overall corporate mission and ensure that all tools are utilized to guarantee success.

People who are successful as a financial executive possess excellent interpersonal skills, are skilled leaders and can manage conflicting priorities. In addition to these skills, he or she must be able to inspire dedication in others, resolve problems and communicate with people throughout the organization. People who do not work well under pressure or do not enjoy dealing with multiple challenges are not suitable for this role.

In addition to providing leadership and communication expertise, most financial executives are expected to have intermediate to expert-level computer skills. He or she might have a team of financial analysts and managers but must be able to use the various financial and planning systems to create reports and investigate the potential outcome of various financial decisions.

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Discussion Comments

By LisaLou — On Jun 10, 2011

Having a job as a financial executive means being able to understand and make sense of many reports that many people do not take the time to understand. It can be hard for some to read through something like a company financial report and really grasp the bottom line.

That is where having good people skills really helps, because not only do you have to understand the information, but also explain it so that others will understand it too. Finances play such an important role in both our personal and public lives, that it really helps when you understand how it all works.

By SarahSon — On Jun 08, 2011

A financial executive position can be a very challenging position. My father spent his career in various finance jobs for several different industries. It can be most challenging if the company is struggling financially.

Many times the person who is in charge of the finances and sees the reports in black and white is the first one to know if the company is financially struggling or not. Being able to read and understand all of the financial information they have access to is very important. Being able to present this information to other executives in the company is also an important part of the position.

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