To remain competitive, businesses in every industry need strong financial leadership – like the leadership provided by a finance operations director. These senior-level financial professionals manage key accounting functions such as capital, revenue recognition and financial report reviews. If becoming a finance operations director for a top employer is your career goal, enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Accounting and Finance can help you achieve it.                                                                                                              

Job Outlook for Finance Operations Directors

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of financial managers, the category that includes finance operations directors, will grow steadily in coming years. Job growth will occur due to more complex financial activities required in the global business environment, as well as an increased need for financial experts to help companies through regulatory changes. Finance operations director job seekers will see strong competition for these high-paying positions, and those with a master’s degree and certification should have the best job prospects.

Job Duties

An organization’s finance operations director is usually responsible for leading the finance/accounting function and team. They provide strategic direction and oversight of front-end revenue cycle work processes and outcomes. Often, they oversee revenue policies and procedures, including billing for revenue generation. These professionals may also identify and provide solutions for areas of high risk in the revenue cycle, documentation or billing practices.

Finance operations directors also may supervise budget development, financial reporting and systems management, as well as finance staff, while driving business processes to improve efficiency and meet organization goals.

Depending on the employer and industry, the finance operations director may approve credit and billing terms for contracts. In addition, they may be responsible for managing internal systems used for recording revenue and compliance with tax and regulatory requirements.

Finance operations directors typically work in offices, often close to top management. Depending on the employer, travel could be required. They typically work a 40-hour week, but extra hours could be required during certain times of the year, such as quarter- and year-end reporting time.

Finance Operations Director: Salary Potential

According to BLS data from May 2009, the average annual salary for financial managers was $113,730. The middle 50% earned between $73,530 and $138,010 per year, while the lowest 10% brought in around $54,760. The top 10% of professionals in this occupation category were reported to earn in excess of $166,400 annually. Salary levels are typically commensurate with education, professional credentials and experience, with those holding advanced degrees and CPA designations toward the top end of the salary range.

With additional experience, finance operations directors can move into roles of increasing responsibility, resulting in much higher potential annual pay. A sampling of executive accounting positions on PayScale.com in December 2010 revealed the following 25th to 75th percentile salary ranges:

Finance Director:                                     $71,669–143,065

Chief Financial Officer:                            $85,687–169,532

Vice President of Operations                   $86,851–170,383

Vice President of Finance:                     $103,979–193,532

Education and Training

Employers hiring finance operations directors typically require at least a bachelor’s degree. Many show preference to candidates with master’s degrees in business or accounting and finance. In addition, director-level positions typically require prior experience and CPA status.

Positioning yourself to compete for a finance operations director position starts with enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Accounting and Finance. Coursework typically includes managerial economics, financial management, strategic cost management and managerial accounting.

Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Accounting and Finance are able to:

  • Solve real-world business problems with creative, critical thinking.
  • Apply accounting data to organizational goals.
  • Demonstrate understanding of modern theories of leadership, management and negotiation.
  • Use financial, statistical and economic data to assess and manage risk.
  • Leverage advanced knowledge and skills to succeed as a finance operations director.

Can You Compete for a Top Finance Operations Director Job?

As an accounting professional, you already possess communication and analytical skills, as well as the ability to solve complex financial problems. To take your career to the next level and compete for high-paying finance operations director positions, you’ll also need the knowledge and credentials top employers look for – like an MBA with a specialization in Accounting and Finance. Earning your master’s degree could be the key to accelerate your career in finance, and position yourself to compete for the best finance operations director jobs.

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