A director of finance works on a computer at their desk.
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Director of Finance: Salary and Job Market Opportunities


Business Administration

Methodologies to manage business operations constantly change due to technological innovation and generational preferences. However, the need for highly skilled individuals to manage a company’s financial strategies remains constant. That’s where finance directors come in. In this leadership role, these professionals can influence a corporation’s financial future by working with a range of departments to establish strategies for financial success.

Individuals interested in the director of finance role should understand the responsibilities and required skills for this position, as well as the benefits of an advanced education, such as an online Master of Business Administration (MBA).

What Does a Finance Director Do?

Finance directors oversee the numerous business elements that can impact a company’s financial health. They’re typically considered senior leaders within corporate hierarchies, straddling the line between financial strategy development and operational management. They use strong accounting and analytical skills to measure a company’s financial position and health and create strategic plans that strive to optimize short-term profitability and long-term growth. They’re also commonly tasked with managing one or more corporate finance departments, such as accounting or payroll. Additionally, they may prepare corporate taxes or oversee audits.

While a director of finance is a high-level corporate position, the role itself is different from that of other executive finance professionals. Its broad scope makes it different from a controller’s role, which strictly focuses on forecasting or summarizing a company’s financial status. It’s also different from a chief financial officer’s (CFO’s) role, which often focuses on using analytics to shape strategies.

Steps to Becoming a Director of Finance

Education and experience can significantly impact how much an individual can expect to earn as a finance director. Students can begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, accounting, or business administration to build a strong foundation for a career in finance. They can then gain experience working as accountants, sales agents, or financial analysts.

Education

Business and finance professionals can then consider earning a master’s degree in finance, accounting, or business administration to qualify for a director of finance position. Norwich University’s MBA program deepens competencies essential for success in the role, such as leadership, analytical, and communication skills. The program also offers concentrations that can enable students to further deepen their acumen in relevant subjects like finance and organizational leadership. These skills and educational foundations can help finance directors negotiate for higher salaries.

Experience

Finance professionals looking to advance their careers should gain about five years of experience in other roles, such as accountant or financial analyst, before applying to work as a finance director. Combined with an MBA degree, these experiences can better prepare prospective finance directors for success in a competitive field.

Director of Finance Salary

According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a director of finance is around $113,800, with top earners bringing in up to $163,000 each year. Numerous factors dictate the salary that a person may receive in the position. For example, skills such as financial modeling, strategic planning, forecasting, and accounting can contribute to earning a higher salary, according to PayScale.

Job location can play a vital role in determining salary. A finance director working in a region with a high cost of living may make more than one working in a region with a low cost of living. Experience also accelerates directors of finance into higher roles in the field, such as CFO and vice president of finance.

Director of Finance Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the business and financial operations field is expected to grow by 5% from 2019 to 2029, with over 476,200 new jobs expected in this time period. As the demand for financial expertise increases, finance directors are needed to provide leadership. The BLS projects that job growth for financial managers, including finance directors, will grow by 15% between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the job growth of all other occupations.

The director of finance is essential to a company because the role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. From overseeing other finance staff to creating strategic financial plans, those in the role have plenty of opportunities to make a positive business impact.

Learn More About Becoming a Director of Finance

Norwich’s online MBA program offers a challenging curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership roles in the business world. Students can customize their MBA experience by selecting one of the following concentrations:

  • Construction management
  • Finance
  • Organizational leadership
  • Technology management
  • Project management
  • Supply chain management
  • Energy management
  • General MBA

As the nation’s oldest private military college, Norwich has maintained a leadership position in innovative education since 1819. Learn more about how Norwich’s online MBA program can help you develop the skills necessary for becoming a director of finance and begin building your advanced career in the finance field.

Recommended Readings

5 Methods for Capital Budgeting
Lessons Managers Can Learn from 5 Recent Business Failures
Managerial Finance: An Overview of Valuation Models

Sources:

Difference Between a Finance Manager & Controller, Houston Chronicle
What Is a Finance Director?, Houston Chronicle
Master of Business Administration, Norwich University
Average Finance Director Salary, PayScale
Business and Financial Occupations, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Financial Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics