What Does a City Finance Director Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

Businesswoman at desk holding pen

City finance directors have huge authority in metropolis government. As the city's leader bookkeeper, a finance director promotes transparency, performance, and responsibility.

While finance directors won't have a detailed know-how of the distinct city departments, their monetary expertise is invaluable in making sure residents get the maximum out in their tax cash and in proving so. Disclosing financial numbers to residents demonstrates that tax cash is accrued and spent consistent with the public’s great interest.

Much like metropolis legal professionals, finance directors are involved within the paintings of all other city departments. Since finance departments contact all others, the finance director typically reviews to the town manager in place of an assistant metropolis supervisor like other branch heads. In every motion, city staffers want to make certain they're doing things right from prison and economic views.

If the public works director desires to lease an extra 20 group of workers to collect garbage, the finance director enables write the value estimate and justification. If the parks and activity director wants to boost the fee to reserve a soccer discipline, the finance director enables with the revenue projection.

By always moving into different departments’ commercial enterprise, finance administrators speedy reap a deep knowledge of all city functions. This makes veteran finance administrators suitable for promoting to city supervisor positions.

City Finance Director Duties & Responsibilities

Finance department control duties are often divided with the aid of function inclusive of budget, sales collection, claims processing, payroll, and economic reporting. Staff communicates with one another due to the fact all their work in the end rolls as much as the town’s annual financial document and different habitual and advert-hoc reviews produced at some point of the 12 months. The finance director is concerned in other activities and responsibilities including:

  • Supervising finance department group of workers. In midsize and large towns, one or greater layers of control are positioned under the finance director’s line of supervision.
  • Maintaining the town’s economic facts. Not only do the numbers need to be correct each time, however they also need to be comprehensible.
  • Producing economic reports. When the finance department produces reviews, they must be explained. The finance director makes sure that explanatory text, tables, charts, and footnotes will make experience to human beings with out a economic background.
  • Making presentations to the town council, which should be clear and concise.
  • Enforcing accounting oversight. Governments need to abide by using usually ordinary accounting ideas (GAAP) set forth by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Finance directors make sure that their cities follow GASB’s requirements. Finance department regulations help the city do that.
  • Overseeing compliance training. City employees who manage coins or have access to the economic facts gadget are liable for following precise guidelines. The finance branch trains personnel on applicable regulations. Finance department group of workers double-take a look at figures to display for policy and technique compliance.
  • Working aspect-via-facet with the city supervisor on massive economic initiatives like bond proposals and external audits. The finance director prepares the town supervisor for displays and advises her or him on key selections.
  • Handling economic audits. For smaller cities, the finance director is the liaison for external auditors. The finance director gathers documentation and answers auditors’ questions throughout audit fieldwork. Once the external auditors difficulty a draft report, the finance director coordinates management responses to problems raised. The finance director makes positive that any movements the metropolis and the auditors agree to are finished. Larger towns have in-house auditors that double-take a look at the finance branch’s work and discover operational troubles in different town departments.

City Finance Director Salary

Like with metropolis managers, assistant city managers, and other branch heads, a finance director’s revenue relies upon on the scale of the city and the range of people underneath the director’s line of supervision. Because in their enterprise-huge authority, many towns pay their finance directors higher than other branch heads.

Although city finance director salaries can also vary extensively among cities, as a frame of reference, the following profits range represents salaries paid to finance directors operating in public and private enterprise:

Source: Payscale.com, 2019

Education, Training & Certification

Finance directors ought to have formal schooling in accounting and finance and will need to have numerous years of innovative experience to land the task.

  • Education: At a minimum, they ought to have bachelor’s ranges in a relevant subject. Many have master’s degrees in accounting.​
  • Certification: While now not continually required, many city monetary administrators have obtained the certified public accountant (CPA) designation.
  • Experience: Candidates for finance director positions should have massive accounting experience, ideally in city government. They should additionally have several years of management enjoy.

City Finance Director Skills & Competencies

As a finance director, it is crucial to have extra skills that assist you carry out efficiently within the ob, such as the subsequent:

  • Analytical talents: Finance administrators have to have the ability to research conditions and understand the effect their selections will have on their business enterprise.
  • Communication capabilities: Finance directors must be capable of communicate virtually and correctly that allows you to provide an explanation for complicated financial data and transactions.
  • Detail oriented: Precision and interest to element are required when dealing with economic reports along with earnings statements and balance sheets, with a purpose to save you mistakes.
  • Math skills: Finance directors have to have math skills, together with algebra. They also want to have an knowledge of global finance, along with overseas currency trading, and complicated monetary documents.
  • Organizational abilities: Because finance directors paintings with a outstanding deal of records, spreadsheets, reviews, and documents, they need to be able to live prepared to carry out their jobs effectively.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics initiatives that jobs for financial managers will experience a increase rate of 19% for the period of 2016-2026, even though the boom rate varies depending on the industry. This boom fee is drastically quicker than the 7% boom rate projected for all jobs over the identical 10-year period.

City finance director jobs are a very small share of this institution, but the growth price for this position is prompted through some of the same variables as finance supervisor jobs common.

The growth in jobs is driven with the aid of an increasing need for danger management in finance jobs, as well cash control information seeing that many organizations had been collecting greater coins on their balance sheets.

Work Environment

Finance directors typically paintings in an workplace putting, interacting with different executives and departments that increase and offer statistics the finance director needs.

Work Schedule

Most finance directors work a complete-time agenda, and about one-0.33 of them spend more than forty hours consistent with week inside the workplace. 

How to Get the Job


Finance administrators are regularly decided on via the everyday government hiring technique. Because finance directors have easy get right of entry to to cash and wide authority within the city’s financial statistics machine, cities generally behavior huge background and reference checks on finalists.

However, many cities additionally list process openings the usage of popular on-line process-search engines. Visit on line sources like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and Glassdoor.com for available positions. You can also go to the websites of character metropolis governments and search for available positions.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People inquisitive about a metropolis finance director career also don't forget the following career paths, listed with their median annual salaries:

Source: Payscale.com, 2019