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Canada’s Best Jobs 2014: Financial Manager

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financial manager

(Bilgehan Yilmaz/E+/Getty)

Median Salary: $82,992
Change in salary (2007–2013): +16%
Total employees: 69,100

In order to keep things running smoothly every company needs a group of individuals who keep its financial performance ticking along. Enter the financial manager, a senior position that can be found in the accounting, auditing and financial planning departments of prominent companies across the country.

How to qualify: The role of a financial manager can vary widely, depending on whether you end up in accounting, auditing, financial planning or risk analysis (to name just a few departments that require financial managers). An educational background in business, finance or economics is essential, but the paths towards becoming a financial manager can be quite diverse, according to the experience of Michelle Mallette, the director of special projects and alternative asset valuations at Manulife Financial. The previous range of accounting certifications in Canada (CAs, CMAs, CGAs) have recently been unified into the Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, so that will be the standard going forward; an MBA could pay dividends as an additional investment.

Money: Canadian government data shows that the vast majority (nearly 70%) of financial managers make over $50,000 per year. According to a 2013 survey by staffing firm Robert Half International, accountants in a managerial role at large companies in Canada can make between $77,000 and $101,500 per year. Auditors in the financial services industry, meanwhile, reported salaries of up to $102,000, while chief risk officers can make up to $190,000 per year.

Outlook: The job market in this field will be fairly competitive over the next few years, according to government data. Financial managers experienced a “slight decrease in employment” between 2008 and 2010, however the average hourly wage for this position increased during the same time period.

What it’s like: Financial managers need to be ready to work as a team member, says Mallette. “There’s a lot of things that come into play when you’re operating a business, and typically when you’re in a finance or accounting role you need to learn and understand how they all work together.” It also doesn’t hurt to be details-oriented, she adds. Most importantly, Mallette doesn’t have a “typical day” at the office, as she’s always bouncing from one project to the next. “It keeps you learning and keeps you engaged, so I think it’s rewarding in that respect,” she says.

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