My Actual Job

Find out what people actually do!

Finance Manager – Property Company

Q: Where are you located?

A: Dallas, Texas, USA

Q: What is your role title?

A: My role title is Finance Manager.

Q: In your words, describe what you actually do?

A: As a finance manager, I oversee the financial planning, reporting, and analysis for my business unit. This includes preparing budgets and forecasts, analyzing performance, managing costs, and providing recommendations to improve profitability.

Q: How long have you been doing this role for?

A: I've been in a finance manager role for 5 years now, splitting my time between two different companies in the real estate industry.

Q: How did you get to this point in your career?

A: I started out as an analyst after college then progressed to a senior analyst role. From there I took on a finance manager position at a smaller firm before moving to this company 2 years ago as a manager.

Q: When it comes to remuneration, what are your three B’s? (Base, Bonus, Benefits?)

A: My base salary is $120,000. My target bonus is 15% of base. I also have standard benefits like health insurance, 401k match, and 3 weeks vacation.

Q: I’m not going to ask you who you work for, but, what industry is your company in?

A: My company operates in the commercial real estate industry, providing services like property management, facilities management, project management, and investment management.

Q: When it comes to work flexibility, is your work primarily office-based, fully remote, or a mix of both? Which do you prefer? Does your company allow you to be flexible?

A: My role is mainly office-based, though I have the flexibility to work from home occasionally. I prefer being in the office for the collaboration, but the work from home flexibility is nice to have.

Q: What does an average week or a typical day look like for you? Can you walk me through your day? What time do you arrive and start at work, what are your main tasks/responsibilities, who do you interact with, what meetings do you attend, etc.?

A: I arrive at the office around 8:30am, grab coffee and check emails for 30 mins. From 9-11am I work on financial reporting and analysis for my region. At 11 I have my weekly update meeting with my direct reports. From 12-1pm I take lunch. In the afternoon I attend cross-functional meetings with other departments and respond to requests or issues that come up. I try to reserve 2-3pm to focus on special projects. I leave the office around 5:30pm.

Q: What does a typical day look like when things are going well vs a more challenging/stressful day?

A: When things are going smoothly, my days are focused on strategy and improvement initiatives. During month-end close or budget season, my days are much more hectic getting reports done on tight deadlines.

Q: What skills or knowledge are most important for your day-to-day work?

A: Understanding accounting and finance concepts is crucial. Communication and presentation skills are also very important when interacting with executives. Advanced Excel skills is a must.

Q: What are some examples of recent accomplishments or contributions you've made in this role?

A: I automated a number of reports that saved my team several hours per month. I also renegotiated vendor contracts that achieved 7% cost savings for my business unit.

Q: Do you have a supportive manager and do you feel valued?

A: Yes I have a great manager who trusts me and advocates for my development. I feel appreciated for the work I do.

Q: How much time do you spend collaborating with colleagues vs working independently?

A: My time is evenly split between independent analysis work and cross-functional meetings/collaboration.

Q: Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting this role?

A: I wish I had known how much influence finance managers have on strategy decisions. I would have been more proactive earlier in my career.

Q: What do you hate most about your role?

A: The month-end close process is always chaotic. I dislike having to push my team on nights and weekends to get it done.

Q: What do you love most about your role?

A: I love being able to see my analysis and recommendations drive real business decisions. It's rewarding to influence strategy changes that improve financial performance.

Q: What’s the next role for you and when do you hope to achieve this?

A: In the next 2-3 years I hope to be promoted to Finance Director.

Q: Is your next role going to be with the same company or a different one?

A: I plan to progress within the same company since I've built great relationships here and see ample upward mobility.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who aspires to reach your position?

A: Never lose sight of the big picture strategy. Trust but verify the numbers. And build relationships across the organization - finance doesn't operate in isolation.

Q: It’s Day 1 for someone in your role. What one piece of advice would you give them to succeed?

A: Here is the one piece of advice I would give someone on their first day in this role as a finance manager

Build relationships with your stakeholders across the organization.

As a finance manager, you rely on collaboration with many different departments and teams. Take the time early on to meet face-to-face with your key contacts in operations, sales, HR, legal, IT, etc. Get to know what they do and what their goals and pain points are. The more you can make connections and establish trust, the smoother it will be partnering cross-functionally on initiatives down the road. You need buy-in from others to be effective in influencing strategy and driving improvements.

Come armed with not just your finance expertise, but an understanding of how your role impacts and aligns with the company's overall strategic vision. Be seen as a collaborative business partner, not just a number cruncher. Proactively communicate insights versus waiting to be asked.

Building strong working relationships may not be the most glamorous success factor, but it is absolutely essential for making an impact as a newly onboarded finance manager

Enjoying the read? Get access to unlimited content!

Please enter your email address