Any major organization has a financial manager, and often, several, all overseeing different jobs. It’s a high-paying and high-ranking position, and financial managers must work closely with top executives, gathering data and advising them on how to move forwards. Aside from corporations, financial managers can also be found working for retailers, financial institutions, health trusts, charities, and universities. But what does a financial manager actually do? The simplest answer is that financial managers are in charge of how a company’s money works towards that company’s goal.

Financial management careers are steadily growing, at 6.8%. Currently 555,000 people are employed as financial managers, receiving an average salary of $117,000, with the lowest-paid earning about $63,000 and the best-paid earning more than $187,000 annually.

Financial managers have a number of responsibilities within their institutions. They must ensure a regular and adequate supply of funds towards their organization’s goals, and make sure that those funds are utilized effectively. They must make sure that their shareholders are getting good returns. If there is money to invest, they must determine what investments are safe to make. They must try to get their institution to have the best balance between debt and equity. And they need to predict future income and expenses so that they can make good long-term choices and avoid being caught off-guard by new developments.

At large organizations, financial managers do not handle all of these responsibilities on their own. Instead, there are different specializations that handle different tasks. Controllers prepare reports summarizing the organization’s financial positions, as well as any reports required by government agencies. They work closely with, and often oversee, the accounting, audit, and budget departments. Treasurers keep their organization’s financial goals on track. They are in charge of investing and issuing stocks and bonds, and oversee any mergers or acquisitions that occur. Credit managers oversee the organization’s credit. Cash managers watch the cash going into and out of the organization, and try to predict how much will be coming in. If they expect that there will not be enough, the organization will need a loan; if they expect there to be more than needed, some of the funds can be invested. Risk managers try to limit the company’s financial risks. Insurance managers are in charge of acquiring whatever insurance the company needs, and handling the costs of that insurance.