How to Write a Finance Manager CV or Finance Director CV

When it comes to writing your Finance Manager CV or Finance Director CV, it can be quite difficult to know what to include and what to leave out, especially as these roles are quite sought after and their may be a lot of competing applicants. Below, you will find our guidance to help you prepare your CV.

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What Information Must You Include on a Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV?

Finance managers and Finance Directors are employed in every kind of organisation in the public and private sectors. Their roles overlaps with many other finance and accounting roles, its exact nature depending on the organisation in question, which means that you need to be very specific on a Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV about what your actual role encompasses.

Finance managers are typically responsible for providing direction on the investment side, preparing reports, making recommendations and developing and overseeing cash management strategies. Whilst a Financial Director is responsible for an organisation's financial strategy and reports to the Board of Directors, they may or may not have a day-to-day operational role.

Finance managers may work for a large organisation, or within an agency that provides services for smaller organisations, or indeed as a consultant working on a contract basis - be sure to specify which on your CV. The varied nature of the role is reflected in the differing job titles, so be clear on your CV whether you are: manager of international banking, finance manager, cash manager or risk and insurance manager.

In both a Finance Director CV and a Finance Manager CV, you need to show how you are furthering the organisation's goals by optimising profits, while reducing risks. As mergers, consolidations and acquisitions occur with increasing rapidity in a global marketplace, your role has been increasingly important and specialised. Likewise, the growth of digital technology has changed the nature of the work due to enhanced data analysis functions, speedier report production and easier modelling and projections.

Responsibilities for both Finance Managers and Finance Directors can include some or all of the following:

Financial institutions also employ additional finance managers to oversee specific functions. Individual managers may be responsible for mortgages, investments, trusts, electronic financial services, etc.

Finance Managers and Finance Directors also perform duties that are particular to their organisation and industry. For instance, healthcare and government organisations all have particular types of financing and accompanying regulations, so managers must possess or acquire the required specialist knowledge.

Skills Required on a Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV

A Finance Manager or Finance Director must have outstanding accounting skills and management abilities, matched by analytical thinking capabilities strong enough to inform on investment and management actions and decisions.

This means a proactive personality is required. On a Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV, you must demonstrate and provide evidence of having:

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What are an Employer's Concerns on a Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV?

The employer is primarily concerned with management and reduction of risk. While they are seeking stability within the organisation's financial management operations, they are also seeking optimisation of profit through investment, which is in itself a risky activity - you need to demonstrate this on your Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV.

Employers are seeking someone who is strong enough to make forward thinking recommendations that will yield financial benefits, but who will also base those recommendations in comprehensive research and analysis. The employer's main concerns are:

Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV Profile

You need to create immediate impact from the start with a Profile on your Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV that leaves no doubt as to the high-flying nature of your skills, experience and knowledge. It establishes the basis for your greatest strengths and attributes, thereby compelling the employer to want to learn more about your background.

Whatever your area of expertise, you will need to show an accounting qualification and certification - or advanced study towards one. So, how many years of accounting experience do you have and which accounting qualification - AAT, ACCA or CIMA? Your certification needs to be shown in the Profile, next to your name or listed under qualifications.

As important are the areas of greatest experience. Which industries are your most experienced in and, within these, which sectors?

As described earlier in the article, different positions have different focuses. You need to specify which areas of the financial management function you are most experienced in. For example, investment, cash management, risk management, international banking, mergers, acquisitions, etc.

In addition to these experience areas, you can further sell yourself by highlighting three or four areas of excellence in your skills and abilities. These can be accounting skills or transferable skills, such as persuasive communication, excellent data analysis, etc. You can also mention personal attributes - what do you bring to your work? What stands out most about your management?

As with every part of your CV of a Finance Manager / Finance Director, ensure that the Profile you write is aligned to the employer's needs. There is little point in highlighting cash management mechanisms if the advertised position is primarily concerned with investment strategy.

Demonstrate Outstanding Achievements on Your Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV

Now you have hooked the employer's attention with a dynamic profile, you need to reel them in with an exciting and inspiring Achievements section on your Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV.

This needs to be packed with evidence of your ability to bring about positive developments that drive the organisation's financial success. Compelling data does much to add weight to your achievements, so be prepared to provide quantitative evidence. This shows, in measurable terms, how you made a significant contribution for other organisations you've worked for.

Achievements are highly individual and do an enormous amount to differentiate you from other candidates - most recruiting employers will be more influenced by your achievements than by a straightforward record of your previous jobs. Outstanding achievements that are relevant to the vacancy will actually inspire and motivate the employer, as they will be able to envisage what you might do for their organisation.

Achievements on a Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV might include some of the following:

Five or six strong achievements should be included, ensuring that these reflect the employer's priorities as closely as possible. In conjunction with your Profile, the Achievements section can really set you apart, before the employer has even considered your previous jobs. Others may have the same experience or qualifications, but your achievements are usually unique and, when well put together, can genuinely convey that 'wow' factor.

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Career History on a Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV

Here is a checklist of the information you should ensure is included for each job that you list in the Career History section of your Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV. Your bullet points should not be paragraphs, but you can make them around two sentences long without losing impact.

  1. Name of the employer and your job title.
  2. A brief description of the employer's business area, if this is not well-known.
  3. The number of staff in the team you worked within.
  4. Your role and key responsibilities, presented as sentences with bullet points.
  5. Details of any special projects you worked on, such as expansions, financial management systems reviews, mergers, etc.

Your Career History is really another opportunity to present your solid achievements. A list of duties and responsibilities is uninspiring, whereas if you use each duty as an opportunity to present an achievement, you can hammer home your greatest strengths.

So, the trick here is to cover your responsibilities in different positions, but at the same time to present as much information about your skills, abilities and responsibilities as possible.

Write these bullet points in the same style as your achievements. This way, you communicate more important information about your selling points in an interesting way that motivates the employer.

With each point, always state your action and the outcome, encompassing duties and responsibilities as part of that statement. The aim with each sentence is to create a complete picture, in a nutshell, of how you made a difference.

Always be specific, rather than generic, as this will help ensure that the employer trusts what you are describing. Always be positive - even if describing a negative situation or a challenge, convert this into details of your positive response. In this way, even the most arduous challenges can be presented as achievements.

You can make your past employment sound particularly impressive by starting every sentence with a powerful verb. Active language is extremely engaging and can really convey a sense of how you approached your work as an individual manager. You can make yourself sound highly proactive simply by using strong, active language.

Some obvious examples of financial verbs are 'administered, budgeted, planned, and programmed'. Others that are not so obvious are 'allocated, appraised, measured, balanced, assessed, retrieved'.

Stress your strengths through action verbs, such as 'analysed, reviewed, established, pioneered, powered' etc. These all convey management strengths.

Keywords are also important, as so many employers now scan CVs with specialised scanning software. Some of the keywords will be included in the job description and person specification, so try to borrow some key phrases from the vacancy's literature.

These can influence whether your Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV helps you to get shortlisted or not. However, do use them carefully and ensure that they do not stand out amidst the flow of your content. Do not compromise quality by inserting too much repetitive jargon. Look on numerous CV writing websites for hints on which words are worth using.

IT Skills to List on a Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV

If you have a good portfolio of IT skills relating to management and accounting, then it is certainly worth adding a Skills section especially to highlight these on your Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV.

List the expected MS Word, Excel and Outlook, but specify whether your skills are advanced or competent. Also, list accounting software such as Sun Ledger, Magnitude and Business Objects in the same way.

Qualifications and Training

You do not need to go into extensive detail about your education and training on a Finance Manager CV / Finance Director CV. It is enough to list your qualifications with the important information such as dates and institution.

Your accounting qualification comes first, whichever of the six main professional accountancy bodies you are qualified with: the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA), ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS or ICAI. Provide the dates of your certification.

If you took a Master's degree in accounting, business studies, economics or another highly relevant subject, list this next. Include details of any secondments or special projects you undertook only if they are highly relevant to this vacancy. Give the institution's name, your degree result and the date you completed it. Do the same for your Bachelor's degree.

If your degree was in an unrelated subject, include it beneath relevant training, allowing vocational training or training taken with an employer to come first. Provide the organisation you trained with and relevant dates.

If you attended a further education college to take a different kind of qualification, list that next. As a general rule, you do not need to include schools once you are at this level.

Present Yourself Professionally

As a Finance Manager or Finance Director, your standards should be impeccable, as is appropriate at executive level. You therefore need to ensure that the overall presentation of your Finance Director CV / Finance Manager CV reflects these standards.

It is important that the employer can feel confident in every aspect of your communications - if the employer thinks you are prone to errors, they will not want to entrust their company's financial management with you. You cannot claim to be an attentive and detail-focused manager if your CV is peppered with spelling mistakes. Check and double check your CV for errors, using the spell checker, your own eye (print a copy out) and a friend's second opinion.

It is important to write in a confident but cool professional tone. Sound motivated, but not over enthusiastic, as over enthusiasm is a risk-prone emotional state. Therefore you should be using clear, specific and positive language, adding impact to the statements you are making.

Every word should be supporting the core message of your CV for a Finance Manager or Finance Director: that the recruiter should invite you to interview because you are the best candidate for the job, capable of adding more to the role, making crucial decisions, while understanding yet never posing a risk.

Other pages financial personnel may want to view:

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