The retail business is mostly known for its unpredictable nature, given that every single operational day is marred with great levels of challenges to tackle. For this reason, good financial management is needed to use the acquired experience, as well as skills, to maintain perfect public relations. A level of success for the financial manager within a retail setting is based on the sales levels that may be either increasing or decreasing. Following this line of reasoning, a successful retail business should employ qualified staff that can make critical decisions to realize the long-term objectives of a company. This paper takes a closer look at the main duties of a financial manager in the abovementioned retail setting, the differences between a financial plan and a budget, and also the ways through which budgets can foster attaining of the business’s aims and objectives. Significantly, the paper puts forward a discussion describing the skills that can be attributed to a successful commercial manager.
Duties of a Financial Manager in a Retail Setting
In a business setting, the financial manager is perceived as the one with numerous roles within a store’s management team. The following are the three fundamental duties that can be attributed to the personnel within a firm. First, as a fundamental player in the immediate operations of a given store, or even a series of stores, the manager’s role rests with the formulation of strategies that are deemed formidable in making a store more profitable (Yukl 2002). For example, in a bid to make a store profitable, a manager might embark on accessing the immediate implications of opening on Sundays and other holidays, or in other cases analyze the prospect of coming up with a new storage facility within a region. Secondly, a financial manager is deemed responsible for providing timely and accurate data needed for managing each store within an operational region. It means that he is expected to formulate figures regarding sales and asset base to aid with the overall decision of whether a certain store is profitable or should be closed entirely. This approach posits a perfect way of ensuring that a store does not continue to suffer losses for a substantial period of time, while strategies can be emulated to offset any shortages (Yukl 2002). Thirdly, a financial manager is also expected to participate actively in the day-to-day operations of a store, and, thus, depict a perfect appreciation for all aspects involved in the operations of the store. For instance, on a given day a new delivery schedule might be analyzed, and also the costs and benefits attributed to the immediate adoption of security cameras within a given store may be accessed (Yukl 2002).
Following these duties, financial managers are expected to provide a clear platform for discussing new ideas, as well as to be able to adopt numerous approaches of analysis before making final recommendations.
Difference between Financial Plans and Budgets
A budget is a financial tool that provides a specific guideline to be followed about the activities of spending. It portrays the expected expenses of a business in different distinct categories for a given period that might be weekly, monthly, or even yearly (Sullivan & Sheffrin 2003). It fosters day-to-day money management to attain a short-term goal or objective. On the other hand, a financial plan is also a financial tool, which is formulated to aid a business to attain its long-term goals. Unlike a budget, it is more focused on achieving a given set of goals. Significantly, it helps the firm to develop its long-term strategies needed for defining the direction towards the goals (Sullivan & Sheffrin 2003).
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As noted earlier, a budget provides a set of guidelines that are to adhere to in regards to the activities of spending within a business environment. It helps to ascertain the amount of money that can be saved within a given timeframe. It is achieved by adjusting or even dropping the expenses of a business to save a particular amount of money. In doing so, the budget helps to come up with a formidable and recommendable expense structure that should be incurred within a certain time period (Sullivan & Sheffrin 2003). A budget allows one to adjust accounting items in the short term that might be measured in weeks, months, or a year. Hence, a firm can distinguish which categories of expenses to incur and at what time of the business period.
Qualities of a Successful Commercial Manager
Commercial managers are considered to be a top-notch level of professionals that are tasked with overseeing different aspects of a large company. In most cases, they are involved in the activities that encompass the management of risk, supervision of employee performance, as well as influencing products that are sold, and the ways through which the process of selling can be accomplished faster. It is important to realize that Marks & Spencer is deemed to be Europe’s most profitable retailing business with a global brand and reputation. Therefore, its achievements in this type of industry greatly depend on the immediate effective utilization of the people’s skills. For this retailer, people tasked with the responsibility of checking customers, as well as selecting merchandise, should be equipped and qualified for the retailing business as a whole. Some of the notable qualities of a successful commercial manager include outstanding characteristics, which are listed as follows.
Firstly, managers should showcase high levels of professional understanding. They are responsible for ensuring that the overall staff is highly motivated and able to put distinctive ideas into action. This is mainly for the good of the retailer as a whole (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson 2007). Secondly, they should possess analytical and problem-solving skills. These are deemed necessary for ensuring that the different products are selected at a given moment in time depending on the immediate demand at that particular point in time. It means that the skills are fundamental for ensuring that the store is profitable at all times since merchandise for sale is always present for purchase (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson 2007). Thirdly, they are also expected to exhibit high levels of creativity. This skill is fundamental for adding a personal style as well as imagination needed for trying and testing different methods of sale. It aids with the formulation of flexible selling policies that can be altered at any given moment to ensure that the merchandise is always supplied according to the schedule. Fourthly, they should exhibit social skills and abilities that are useful for influencing stakeholders at different levels, which are concerned with exchange transactions. This skill is also deemed important for the management of relationships that might arise in post-award stages of project life development (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson 2007). Lastly, they should also demonstrate a high level of self-knowledge. It is important to ensure that the activities of personnel are differentiated from those that are not accomplishable.
In conclusion, it can be seen that a financial manager’s main function is the provision of timely data for the decision-making process. A commercial manager is expected to exhibit different qualities that include creativity, social skills, and also analytical skills that are needed for different operational rationales. This management paper has also managed to posit that a budget is used for short-term objectives, while a financial plan is used for long-term goals.