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What is a commercial director?
The position of commercial manager is a key function in the company: Whether it is a lower, middle or upper management position – the commercial manager bears the technical and operational responsibility for the commercial functional areas that support, manage and document the business.
The commercial manager is the finance professional below the CFO position. He ensures that day-to-day tasks such as bookkeeping, report preparation and capital market communications run smoothly.
The position usually only exists in larger organizations or companies. Organizational units such as accounting, controlling, finance, investment planning, auditing, purchasing and often also human resources and IT can report to the commercial manager.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: commercial training, ideally at a technical college or university (business administration, economics)
- Starting salary: €75,000
- Top salary: €180,000
- Opportunities for advancement: CFO, CFO
Great creative freedom, but great responsibility
The task is diverse and offers – regardless of the fact that legal regulations set limits to personal discretion – a wide range of creative freedom. The following applies: the higher the hierarchical settlement, the more freedom of design there is.
The commercial manager reports directly to the company or management and informs them with regular reports about the current status of the responsible departments. This includes liquidity planning, reports and evaluations of the progress of current projects as well as the assessment and evaluation of the current situation and suggestions for further planning.
The commercial manager is responsible for the leadership and further development of his teams and also represents the company externally. He is the contact for auditors, tax consultants, banks, insurance companies and business associations.
What does a commercial manager do?
Management of the accounting department:
- national/ international accounting
- Accounts receivable and accounts payable
- National/international accounting and preparation of the annual financial statements in compliance with commercial and tax regulations
Management of the finance department:
- short- and long-term business planning
- Liquidity planning and liquidity control
- Advice on business issues when planning projects
- Support in due diligence and M&A processes
- Tax, legal and insurance management
- Responsibility for external and internal reporting (direct reporting to the board and management, business and management report for external stakeholders)
- Responsibility for controlling and auditing (if these areas do not report directly to the management as a staff unit), analysis of operational key figures, target/actual comparisons
- Negotiations with suppliers and companies
- Contact person for banks, tax consultants, auditors, insurance companies, shareholders, etc
- Management and development of specialists in the subordinate areas
- improvement of earning power
- Optimization and further development of operational processes in the areas
- Support of sales activities
How do you become a commercial manager?
- Commercial training, ideally at a technical college or university (business administration, economics)
- specialization in theory and practice in finance and accounting;
- in-depth knowledge of accounting
- Knowledge of the commercial and tax legislation relevant to the company
- Experience in Controlling
- good understanding of numbers
- many years of experience in the management of a comparable area of responsibility
- Experience abroad and good knowledge of English (depending on the company)
What does a commercial manager earn?
up to €180,000
As a professional, the earning opportunities are very good and in large companies can even exceed the salaries of some CFOs of smaller medium-sized companies. The payment varies accordingly and is between € 75,000 and €180,000 per year.
However, salaries of up to €300,000 are also possible. The industry is crucial. The highest salaries are paid in the IT sector and industry. Salaries in the service sector and trade are significantly lower. In addition to the fixed salary, contributions to old-age security, company cars and other variable salary components are usually granted depending on the company’s results and personal target agreements.
What do you expect from the commercial manager?
Everyday work is demanding, the commercial manager must be continuously informed about the current status of internal and legal developments for external reporting and report this to the company management. A high level of resilience, willingness to perform and flexibility with regard to the many different tasks is absolutely necessary.
With his pleasure in being responsible for specialist topics and his knowledge of human nature, he is also able to respond to the concerns of his employees, motivate them, lead them and develop them further. As a consultant to company management and for negotiations with external bodies, the commercial manager should be able to represent and convince. Due to his position of trust, a great deal of loyalty towards the company and, if necessary, its shareholders is part of it.
Opportunities for advancement as commercial manager
The commercial management of a company, which often has its roots in controlling and accounting, can be the springboard for an appointment to the position of CFO (Chief Financial Officer) or commercial director.
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