Tips to Be a Better Finance or Accounting Manager

In the business world, accountants are the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers.  

Accountants are not only number crunchers but also far more than human calculators.

In order to help you make critical business decisions, your accountants must constantly interpret finances.

From data analysis to strategic planning, they have an influence in almost all departments.

Over time, this experience can propel accountants up the chain of command, making them some of the best candidates for open management positions.

The finance or accounting manager requires experience of several years as an accountant, with a master’s degree.

Statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that accountants and auditors earn a salary of more than $70,000 per year, and those candidates who move into management roles earn some of the highest salaries in the profession. Accountants in the top 10% of the field earn over $122,000 per year.

In this blog post, we will explore the roles of an accounting manager and how to be a better finance or accounting manager are.

Let’s start,

Table of Content

What is an accounting manager?

Accounting managers create systems and process them to ensure organisations follow legal and regulatory requirements, analyse and report financial information, and recommend improvements for business procedures.

Depending on the business, accounting managers may also track financial data, prepare annual budgets, and recommend financial decisions.

Most accounting manager positions need a mix of educational and professional experience, as some employers hire accounting managers with a master’s degree.

In addition, accounting managers must hold professional experience within the accounting speciality they plan to supervise.

Roles and responsibilities of an accounting manager

  • Prepare & maintain cash flow analyses as needed
  • Assist in preparing year-end books for audit
  • Analyse monthly financial statements such as income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement) and effectively convey analysis to the staff as requested
  • Process vendor payments & check requests
  • Ensure compliance with policies, procedures and regulations for any necessary entities.
  • Process payroll & report payroll taxes for the organisation
  • Reconcile bank accounts & general ledger accounts as assigned
  • Respond to inquiries from staff regarding budgets, deposits, disbursement and grant reporting requests.
  • Assist in reconciling all balance sheet & income statement accounts on a monthly or quarterly basis as indicated by the monthly closing schedule.
  • Perform basic office management duties as requested

Skills you need to become a finance or accounting manager

The roles and responsibilities of accounting professionals vary by the industry and its needs.

Public accountants manage budget reports and tax returns, while internal auditors analyse financial documents to uncover mistakes.

Forensic accountants investigate fraud and other financial crimes using their skills, while management accountants evaluate business financial documents.

Accounting managers in every industry require strong leadership, communication, planning, and accounting skills.

Financial Analysis

Accountants need very strong financial analysis skills.

These skill set let accounting managers manage accountants effectively and help them set priorities and goals for their division.


Accounting managers are leaders within their departments, coordinating with executives to discuss the goals of a business and creating plans for staff accountants in the team to meet those business goals.


Effective communication is important for accounting managers as they need to communicate with executives and subordinates to meet business goals and manage the division. That’s why they need strong written and verbal communication skills.


Accounting managers need strong management skills to oversee their accounting team effectively. The accounting manager directs team assignments to ensure the team meets the business goals.


Accounting managers need to have organisational skills in order to manage multiple employees and tasks at the same time. Accounting manager must oversee their entire division while maintaining organised documents.


At the management level, accountants contribute to the business’s long-term goals by proposing methods to lower costs and improve efficiency, which requires strong planning skills.

How to become an accounting manager?

Step #1: Get Bachelor’s degree in accounting

General entry-level accounting positions need a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related field.

Accounting majors complete coursework in accounting, finance, auditing, and business.

In addition to accounting requirements, they complete general education courses and electives.

The bachelor’s degree typically takes 4 years of full-time study to complete.

Step #2: consider the master’s degree

The master’s degree helps prospective accounting managers stand out in the market.

Accountants gain management and leadership abilities and strengthen their professional skills during a master’s program.

The master’s in accounting or an MBA prepares an accountant for the management positions; both of these programs typically take 2 years to complete.

Step #3: get a certification

On top of the degrees, many accounting managers hold certifications.

The certified public accountant (CPA) credential is the most popular certification.

Though the certified management accountant (CMA) and qualification in internal audit leadership (QIAL) credentials are also helpful for accountants in order to advance into the management level.

Depending on the certification, candidates may need to spend over a year fulfilling other requirements.

Step 4: work experience

Accounting managers need to have work experience before pursuing management-level roles.

Though a master’s degree can count for several years of work experience, professional experience as an accountant gives valuable hands-on training for managers.

Step 5: pursue finance or accounting manager jobs

Accountants can pursue management-level roles after having a degree, work experience, and becoming certified.

Tips to be a better finance or accounting manager

Here are a few tips to become a better financial manager.

Make your communication skill strong

  • You must have open lines of communication with your employees to be an effective accounting manager.
  • Improve your communication to let your employees know your expectations clearly, consider your employees’ unique perspective, and encourage them to ask questions or voice their concerns openly.

Develop your own unique skills

  • As an accounting manager, if you expect your employees to develop their skills, expand their knowledge and get certifications, you should lead them by example.
  • Your employees will admire your dedication to improving yourself and learning new things.

Don’t avoid but deal with conflict

  • As an accounting manager, do not put off approaching the employees to discuss conflicts or issues.
  • Uncover those issues quickly and come to a reasonable solution as soon as possible because the longer you wait for conflict to fester, the more credibility you lose in your employee’s eyes.

Set realistic expectations

  • Challenge your employees, but keep the goals achievable. This means that you understand your employees’ capabilities and skillsets and have confidence in them.
  • By empowering your employees to accomplish more, good employees will work harder, improve, and succeed for the whole organisation.

Be open to new perspectives

  • As an accounting manager, you are privy to various ideas and perspectives. Use those ideas as a competitive advantage. 
  • And yes! Do not expect other people to conform to one way of thinking.
  • With unique viewpoints, you can uncover ways to be more efficient or innovative.

listen more than they talk

  • You must listen to your team member’s concerns, questions, and opinions before you can manage your team.
  • Make a point of pausing in your conversations more often and listen instead of thinking about what you are going to say next.
  • You will be surprised how much you will learn about your employees, what motivates them and what they’re looking for from you.

Learn from your mistakes

  • Embrace the mistakes that you make in order to grow as a manager.
  • Also, own up to the mistakes you make as a team as these are your people and your responsibility.
  • Do not be ashamed of failures – use failures as motivation to improve the team and the results and to be a better manager and financial professional.

Take a break.

  • Hey, exactly; sometimes you have to work all day long.
  • It’s normal, but make sure this is the exception and not the norm – you do not want to accidentally develop an extremely workaholic lifestyle.
  • Taking a few minutes throughout the day to clear your mind can increase your productivity.

Final thought

In the end, remember that you are not an accountant first and the accounting manager second. You will play both of these roles at the same time, and balancing these two aspects is the first thing you need to achieve before focusing on anything else.

The importance of your abilities lies in the fact that your skills benefit each member of the team individually, the same as the organisation as a whole. Hopefully, the tips above will give you a better insight into how to be a better accounting manager.

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