Treasurers, also known as financial managers in certain job settings, are experts in finance who directly oversee the long-term and short-term budgetary goals of a business or an organization. Another interchangeable job title used to describe treasurers is financial officer, the preferred term in the corporate business world. In a large corporation the chief financial officer presides over the financial decision making process of the entire company's portfolio of investments and acquisitions.
Financial officers ensure that a business or organization stays in good financial health by producing detailed financial statements and coordinating investment decisions. Financial officers also work in tandem with other corporate executives in order to create and meet the quarter-to-quarter budgetary benchmarks as instructed by the chief executive officer.
Treasurers used to work to monitor the day-to-day finances of a business, but in the modern era advances in computer software technology have created a shift in the job responsibilities of treasurers. Today, treasurers can focus more of their time on raising capital, coordinating mergers, and deciding on which companies to acquire in order to further the success of a business or organization.
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Depending upon the type of employment setting, the job duties of financial managers may vary from business to business and from organization to organization. For example, the job duties of a financial manager employed by a municipal government body in the United States or Canada differ slightly from the job duties of a financial manager employed by a large energy company. Government-employed financial managers tend to focus more on budgetary appropriations procedures unique to the job, but financial managers in the private sector tend to focus more on special financial sector regulations and tax laws.
In another manner of speaking, treasurers employed by a large insurance company would spend a great deal of time preparing financial forecasts based upon the analysis of past and projected financial activity reports. Treasurers work tirelessly to prepare the final financial documents that are used to make recommendations to executives or a board of directors. Without this rather detailed financial analysis, large insurance companies would not be able to make the decision to offer improved coverage to their customers.
Financial officers may also directly oversee a business or organization's in-house financial department. These job duties of financial officers consist of discovering inventive strategies to reduce workplace costs and raise efficiency. Financial officers may achieve this goal by supervising the day-to-day operations of employees charged with producing financial reports and updated budgets.
Technology has advanced the job description of treasurers to encompass more analytical tasks than in previous decades. For instance, treasurers now have an ever-growing number of software applications at their disposal. Companies may devote entire internal computer networks to the single task of keeping revenue models updated in tandem with the current health of the global stock markets. Previously, a team of 2 or 3 professionals would work long hours to present the most up to date market projections, but today, this process has become nearly automatic.
The United States and Canada are home to a large number of the top business, accounting and finance schools in the entire world. As such, the vast majority of gainfully employed treasurers in North America will have attended one of the best schools on the continent. These colleges and universities include the University of Texas, well known for its accounting program, and the University of Pennsylvania, home of arguably the best finance program in the entire United States. Likewise, the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management ranks among the top business schools on the continent.
Many upper echelon employers would prefer entry-level financial officers to have earned an accounting or finance degree from one of the best universities, but at the very least applicants must have a bachelor's degree. Many employers also require four or five years of on-the-job experience in a related field such as loan auditing or financial analysis.
Requiring experience in addition to a bachelor's degree is necessary due to the fast pace of the financial industry. Earning a professional certification from the Association of Finance Professionals is optional for many working in financial management, but a large number of individuals seek certification anyway. Certification allows financial managers to create an invaluable network of professional contacts as well as stay up to date on the latest government financial regulations and tax laws.
Financial managers typically work in an office setting. Banks, manufacturers, or insurance companies are the types of businesses that employ at least one financial manager. Within large corporations, the company may keep hundreds of financial professionals on staff, overseen by the corporate chief financial officer.
Due to the corporate work environment, treasurers often find themselves traveling to different field offices around the world, particularly when compiling information on mergers and acquisitions. Advances in technology, however, have minimized the amount of travel time necessary while creating a more technologically advanced work setting. Indeed, the day-to-day responsibilities of modern treasurers demand total immersion in any number of new computer information systems.
Financial managers are very well compensated professionals. Entry-level financial managers can earn approximately $50,000 annually, but the median income for all financial managers is closer to the $100,000 mark. The upper echelon of financial professionals earns more than $150,000 annually, not including bonuses and performance benchmarks, which raises the median income even higher.