What is a VP of finance?

The vice president of finance is an upper-level executive who oversees all financial matters for an organization, from making sure payroll is finished on time to analyzing market trends. Depending on the company, a VP finance job description may include supervising a finance or accounting department.

Want to learn more about the VP of finance role? We’ll cover all aspects of this career, including qualifications and education requirements as well as paths for advancement and similar positions.

How is this role monitored?

A VP of finance is responsible for processing the financial activities of an organization to maximize a company’s profits and plan for its growth. The role includes analyzing data and advising top executives on ways to use that information to make strategic decisions about the organization’s future.

With a hands-on approach to all aspects of an organization’s finances, a VP of finance must ensure a company complies with tax laws and regulations specific to that industry.

A VP of finance may report directly to a president, CEO, or CFO, depending on the structure of an organization.

Required skills

The following traits are key to being a successful VP of finance:

  • Analytical skills
  • Detail oriented—being organized is essential
  • Computation skills
  • Leadership abilities
  • Written and oral communication skills

Qualifications

Qualifications needed for this role:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a financial discipline (advanced degree preferred)
  • Five to 10 years of managerial experience
  • Certifications like CPA, CFA, and CMA are preferred

VP of finance salary

So, how much does a VP of finance make? The median annual wage in the U.S. was $129,890 as of May 2019. However, the salary ranges from approximately $60,000 to more than $200,000 per year, depending on the location and industry as well as the candidate’s education and experience.

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What does a VP of finance do?

A VP of finance’s overall duties involve overseeing all finances for an organization. The role of a VP of finance includes the following:

  • Serve as a financial advisor to the CEO and executive team for strategic planning purposes.
  • Lead and manage the budgeting process.
  • Oversee all sides of accounting operations, including payables, receivables, payroll, and tax preparation.
  • Be responsible for gathering financial data for analysis and forecasting with respect to profits, trends, costs, and compliance.
  • Develop appropriate tracking methods for revenue and expenses.
  • Coordinate the preparation of annual, quarterly, and monthly reports.
  • Be responsible for development, oversight, and management of the organization’s investment plan.
  • Manage insurance coverage for the organization, including compliance.
  • Advise on financing options to support an organization's growth.
  • Be responsible for the timely and accurate reporting of financial information to appropriate groups, including internal parties, government regulators, and outside agencies.

Top VP of finance interview questionss

  1. Describe a time when you shared a difficult piece of information with a superior. How did you handle it?
  2. Describe a time when a direct report shared a difficult piece of information with you. How did you handle it?
  3. What processes and tools do you find are most effective for managing large amounts of data or information?
  4. Recount a time when you identified and implemented an innovative way for an employer to save money or maximize profits.
  5. What are your preferred methods for helping to motivate a team on a tight deadline?
  6. What would you say to a struggling employee to help them prioritize their work?
  7. Share a time when you made a mistake at work and the detailed steps you took to rectify the error.
  8. Describe a time when you had to convince someone in a senior position to follow your advice. What was the outcome?

Similar positions

  • Treasurer
  • Custodian of funds
  • Senior financial analyst

Career advancement

Depending on the organization and career path, a VP of finance may continue on to the following roles:

  • Chief financial officer
  • Chief executive officer
  • Executive director
  • Managing officer

How to become a VP of finance

Education and work experience are essential if you want a position as the VP of finance at an organization.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics, or business administration, a master’s degree is typically preferred, along with professional certifications and continued education.

Previous work as a financial analyst, accountant, or loan officer can help prepare you for the role. Companies may promote from within for this position, so consistently demonstrating trustworthiness, leadership skills, and organizational abilities is essential.

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