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How to lead in financial management

Entering the working world of financial management can be a very and rewarding career choice with many different job opportunities. If you have a good head for numbers, then this could be a good career choice for you. Finance and the financial services industry play a very large role within the global economy. There are many different fields that financial professionals can work in. Some of these areas of finance include financial planning, commercial banking, corporate finance, insurance, accounting, investment banking, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital. With all of these options available, you may ask yourself just how do you become a finance professional? What is the best way to enter the industry and work your way up to a managerial position? In this article we will take a look at what it takes to become a finance professional and the paths that you can take to becoming a financial manager. We will also look at the roles and objectives of finance managers and compare an MBA in finance with some other finance degrees.

What is financial management

To best explain financial management it is helpful to clearly define what is meant by finance. Finance is a field of study and an area of business that deals with the acquisition and management of money and investments. Financial professionals deal with how money is spent or invested. Finance can be split into three main categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance. Consequently, financial professionals deal with how money is spent or invested by a company, individual or public institution. The term financial management is usually used in reference to companies and organisations, but it can also be used to include what are termed financial advisors. These are people who manage the finances and advise individuals rather than for an organisation. Both will require many of the same skills and expertise: they both require extensive knowledge of tax law and a mix of both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the many different available investment channels. Whether working for an individual or a company, they work to reduce tax liability while maximising the gains and profits from investments.

Paths to becoming a finance professional

Financial managers require a deep understanding of business, economics and finance. Maths plays a very large role too. Some common entry points for finance professionals are business degrees with a focus on money-related subjects. Popular bachelor degrees include accounting, commerce, business science, mathematics, BA economics majors or through law with an LLB. According to career consultancy agency Zippia, 72.5% of financial professionals have a bachelor’s degree, while just over 10% of financial professionals hold a master’s degree. Based on that, it is possible to enter the field without obtaining any specific qualifications, but this would limit you to lower-level jobs in finance. It would also likely require more years of experience at a company to rise internally, possibly with additional internal training. If you aspire to more senior roles then a bachelor’s degree is highly recommended. To rise to the top of the career ladder and become a financial manager, further postgraduate study would be beneficial. A Master of Business Administration degree is a popular choice and many business leaders and senior managers hold an MBA qualification. Managerial jobs are unlikely to be assigned to new graduates without much work experience. One of the requirements to study for an MBA is that you have some work experience. At Kenyatta University, for example, applicants to any of the many MBA programmes online require both a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of work experience.

What are the objectives of financial management

Financial management entails the planning and strategising of an organisation’s finances. Financial managers have been around ever since humanity first started using currency, but the field has grown immensely over recent years with the introduction of complicated new investment vehicles. While investors can still put their money into traditional assets such as property, commodities trading, government bonds and company stocks, they have far more options than ever before. High-speed foreign exchange markets and leveraged trading offer far quicker potential financial gains or losses. Investors can also choose from a growing number of cryptocurrencies emerging on the global market, along with more complex structures such as derivatives, hedge funds and carbon futures trading. As well as having more investment choices, financial managers also need to navigate a complex network of international tax treaties to legally minimise tax liabilities. Through careful structuring and strategic planning, many of the largest multinational companies save billions in tax on their profits. It is no coincidence that many of the Silicon Valley tech giants in the US have their international operations based in Ireland, with its low corporate tax rate and incentives for software development. Even though the global financial landscape is changing rapidly and becoming more complicated, the core objectives of financial management remain the same. Regardless of whether you are managing the finances of a large multinational company or a small local NGO, your job would entail maximising value or profit through the following:
  • Cashflow management
  • Financial control
  • Investment of funds
  • Expense and revenue forecasting
  • Cost estimation and reduction
In the next section, we will show how an MBA degree, in particular, prepares graduates with all the necessary skills to carry out the above competently and confidently.

MBA in finance versus bachelor of science in finance

If you are considering a career in finance, then you’ve likely come across mention of an MBA in finance as well as a bachelor of science in finance. Both of these qualifications prepare students for finance careers, but they have differences. Importantly, they are two different levels of qualification and are not directly comparable. A bachelor of science in finance degree can be studied directly after completing high school. To be admitted into an MBA programme applicants must already hold a bachelor’s degree and have work experience. As a result, even the youngest and freshest MBA graduate will be far more knowledgeable and experienced than the average bachelor of science in finance graduate. Because an MBA requires a bachelor degree, it’s quite possible for an MBA graduate to already hold a bachelor of science in finance degree. As such, they should be seen as complementary rather than competing degrees. A bachelor of science in finance will provide a strong theoretical foundation for working in finance, but graduates will need some work experience before accessing more senior career opportunities. It is comparable to other bachelors degrees in finance and economics. An MBA in finance builds on theoretical knowledge as well as practical experience to prepare graduates for leadership and management positions in the finance industry. Kenyatta University’s online MBA Specialising in Finance prepares graduates for a strategic role in the finance sector. The programme teaches corporate finance strategy and technical finance skills to help graduates excel in decision-making and leadership. If you are interested in taking your financial management career further, please have a look at the details of Kenyatta University’s online MBA Specialising in Finance. As with all of Kenyatta University’s online programmes, there are six starting dates each year and module fees can be paid one at a time as you proceed through the course.

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