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A Guide to Financial Management (eBook available)

BY: SGI|10 July 2019
BLOG| My future career


We all know managing money can be tricky – yet, we manage to do it anyway! Managing finances is a key part of the general management of any organisation and, with skilled financial practitioners or a manager who knows how to balance the books, a business or department can achieve great things. Which is why Stellenbosch Graduate Institute (SGI) offers an online course specifically on managing finances, whether your job is in the accounting department or not.


This e-book will give you an inside view of SGI’s online Managing Finances course – plus, you’ll learn some valuable personal finance skills too, which means no more pinching your pockets until payday.



From personal money management to jobs in corporate finance, people are searching for advice on managing money all the time. Here are some of the top questions people ask Google – and all the answers you need!


1. What is financial management?

BusinessDictionary defines financial management (FM) as “the planning, directing, monitoring, organising, and controlling of the monetary resources of an organisation”. As a vital part of an organisation, it basically means ensuring that the financial resources of your business (or personal life) are planned, controlled, and monitored to ensure that you can achieve your goals and objectives.


2. What jobs can I get with a financial management qualification?

The top jobs, according to a quick Google search, in financial management are as an actuary, a planning and analysis manager, and a branch manager. However, there are many other prospects for graduates who have studied FM. These include credit controllers, treasurers or finance officers, credit managers, cash managers, risk managers, and insurance managers. Additionally, financial management is needed in almost every sector, from finance and insurance to government, so there are plenty of job opportunities out there.


3. What does a career in financial management look like?

Probably well-paid! According to PayScale, accountants currently earn about R277 342 p.a., a chartered accountant earns R543 453 p.a., actuaries get R500 000 p.a., a financial manager earns about R574 284 p.a., a finance officer gets R429 000, and a credit manager earns R481 868 on average. These are some of the more straightforward positions within financial management – it’s a field with a wealth of possibilities in every sector.


As someone working in the financial management sector, certain things are obviously expected. You’ll need to be meticulous, scrupulously ethical, and precise. Your day-to-day tasks will involve a lot of logical thinking and problem-solving, so you will need to be the kind of person who loves a challenge.


As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, you’ll also inevitably be collaborating more and more with machines. This means that machines may do more of the number-crunching side of things, but you’ll need to know what initial algorithms and data are required to get the outcomes your company needs. So, get comfortable with the thought of working with robot colleagues!


Additionally, you need to be a strategic thinker. The financial side of a business absolutely has to align with – and inform – the company’s overarching strategy and goals. A big part of your role will be future forecasting and risk management. You need to be the person who continuously looks ahead to anticipate future internal and external obstacles and opportunities for growth. And then, you need to scenario-plan for each of these, in a way that mitigates risks while capitalising on every chance for advancement.


Finally, you need to be a people person. Your day will inevitably entail working with all the different stakeholders in a business. You need to perpetually be balancing all the business’s needs, whilst understanding customer and shareholder requirements. You’ll play a massive role in allocating resources – human ones too – and in making sure that all the departments in a company are performing optimally. This means understanding a company on a more granular level than almost everybody else.


You’re a knowledge custodian, a future forecaster, a resource wrangler, and a numbers whiz. Your career will never be boring – you’ll be far too busy solving daily challenges and scenario-planning for the future. Your role is to ensure business growth – which means you’re an asset no company can afford to be without.


4. What are the basics of financial management?

Here at SGI, we want our students to be prepared for anything life throws at them. That’s why one of our online microlearning courses is specifically about managing finances (and aptly called Be wise with money). Not only will this online course help you gain credits for our Managing Finances short course (and you’ll get to skip this section when you do it), but you’ll also learn the basics of financial management, which include how to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts of managerial finance;
  • Interpret financial statements;
  • Describe and prepare financial documents; and
  • Draft budgets according to the operational plan of the unit.

Financial Management eBook

5. What are the goals of financial management?

The short answer is planning, containing costs, managing cash flow, and ensuring legal financial compliance. Chron breaks this down into disseminating financial information to key stakeholders, planning and forecasting finances for an organisation to help current and future activities, managing the risks of theft, fraud, embezzlement, and auditing, and exerting control over financial resources (i.e. the money) to ensure it is being used correctly to achieve success for the business.


6. What is the purpose of financial management?

It’s easy to assume that financial management is all about money and using it correctly. In fact, this answer is completely correct. But, there’s more to FM than that. Financial management is also about creating wealth for a business or individual, generating cash, and ensuring there is an adequate return on investment given the risks an organisation must take and the resources it must invest in (such as employing people).


7. How important is financial management?

This question is so important that someone wrote an entire blog post about it on LinkedIn. If breathing oxygen is key to human survival, then finance is the lifeblood of an organisation. Without money, a business is unable to meet its goals and objectives. Sure, you may be producing amazing content for a company, but if they aren’t paying you, you won’t be able to buy the necessary things (such as internet access or a computer) to continue providing them with this service. If an organisation’s finances are not managed properly, it will not be able to run smoothly.


8. What are the skills needed for financial management?

Besides a good numerical ability, an aptitude for problem-solving, analytical and technical thinking, and knowledge about information technology (IT) are also skills required when entering the field of financial management. UK-based TARGETcareers says that “employers also look for evidence of good oral and written communication skills, self-motivation, commercial awareness, initiative, and the ability to work as part of a team”. And, of course, management experience, whether it be with people, processes, or money.


9. How do you do financial management in your personal life?

As we’ve mentioned before, managing your money is no easy task. The Balance lists five important aspects to ensure you manage your personal finances correctly. These include:

  • Writing your financial goals down in detail;
  • Ensuring you have a plan with outlined steps or goals you need to reach;
  • Creating a budget and sticking to it;
  • Paying off your debt (as quickly as possible); and
  • Asking for advice from people who are good with money (like a financial planner).


10. What is the 50/30/20 rule?

Basically, the 50/30/20 rule is a way of managing money or finances by dividing it up into three components. Investopedia says it’s best to divide your income after taxes with 50% allocated to your needs, such as the bills you have to pay and things you need in order to survive (like rent, groceries, and medical aid), 30% to wants (think Netflix, those new kicks, or getting takeout), and 20% to savings. If you have a pile of loans and think putting money away for savings is tricky, remember that this can also mean repaying debts, so you can get out from under it faster.



The online Managing Finances short course is a 7-week course for first-line, junior, and new managers to help them better understand how every action taken in a business affects the finances of the organisation. Once you’ve completed this short online course, you will be able to manage the finances of a department or business unit, and identify factors that could lead to financial risks for the business.


The course is divided into four parts, each focused on a different set of outcomes to help you succeed when it comes to the finances in your business:


Crunch the right numbers

This section looks at financial analysis, and explains what it is and how it relates to an organisation’s operations. In addition, once you’ve completed this section, you will be able to calculate ratios to measure profitability and viability, how to use resources correctly, how to identify growth opportunities with financial results, and how to report on these results. Read our blog on the 5 key financial essentials you need to know here. 


Decipher financial codes

Using mathematical techniques, this section will help you collect and organise data, calculate and represent data, and apply mathematical analysis to economic relationships to catalyse success in business. Read our blog on how to make data work for you here. 


Be wise with money

In this section, you will look at managing money through various approaches. These include developing an understanding of the key concepts of managerial finance, interpreting financial statements, describing and preparing financial forecasts, and drafting budgets according to your business’s operational plans and needs. Read our blog on money-wise tips here.


Be prepared for risk

As the name suggests, this is all about managing risk. After completing this section, you will understand and be able to demonstrate potential risks for a department or organisation, identify potential risks and assess the impact of these risks within a unit, develop contingency plans for managing financial risk, and be able to test and revise your contingency plans for the ongoing successful financial management of your organisation. Read our blog on how to prepare for financial risk here.


Overall, our online Managing Finances course will help prepare you for real-life scenarios where financial planning and the managing of money is required, such as buying a home, raising capital for a business, managing assets, analysing risk, and identifying and formulating strategies and objectives.



As you can see, financial management is a core component of any organisation, as well as a key aspect of personal finance. Still not sure if being a finance manager is the career for you? By completing SGI’s Managing Finances short online course, you will be setting yourself up to succeed – not just in helping to manage your department or organisation’s financial assets, but also in your personal life, which means you’ll have more control over your own money and how you manage it.


Financial Management eBook

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