How to Make a Successful Career in Finance?

Finance Exam
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Developed economies like the UK and USA are financially sound because of their meticulous approach towards monetary issues.

Interestingly, they have a large number of people who are employed in the financial sector. This escalates the overall development and makes these nations powerful.

Financial sector happens to be the backbone of a country. The micro and macro-financial aspects of an economy are determined by the proper allocation of resources.

Definition of finance

Finance is a method of managing money and establishing a link between the borrower and lender. Monetary resources are essential in the field of finance.

The financial system of every country is independent and plays a role in boosting a country’s human development index.

Finance talks about the fundamentals of banking, accounting, finance management, book-keeping, corporate finance.

There are advanced topics in this field such as financial engineering, forensic accounting and asset pricing.

There are several categories of finance such as Public Finance, Corporate Finance and Personal Finance. In recent years, a subject called behavioural finance has also developed.

In simple words, public finance means the role of government and its agencies in escalating a country’s economy.  Corporate funding deals with the capital structure of corporations. It also talks about the decisions made to upgrade a firm and increase its productivity.

Personal Finance means the financial management of monetary resources. Moreover, behavioural finance talks about the psychological impact on the behaviour of investors and financial practitioners.

Impeccable distribution of income is important in the financial sector. The role of finance in everyday business life has seen an unprecedented increase.

Skills required for a career in finance

A career in the financial sector requires a diverse set of skills. These skills escalate the quality of work and equip the person with good experience and good pay-package.

  • Good analysis

Razor sharp precision and analytical skills are required by the people. They need to examine huge volumes of information. Thorough evaluation and assessment are expected of them.

This skill of scrutinizing the information is essential as people sift through a lot of data. Things like patterns, discrepancies and trends need to be spotted in the clients’ accounts.

Projecting fiscal balance and making use of value-added analysis is paramount. Factors like risk management, strategic planning and using analysis on financial scenarios are also considered. 

  • Accounting skills

Accurate financial reporting requires good accounting skills. The accounting principles and techniques must be used properly by the person. Cash flow management is also important.

The process of managing quantitative data and balance sheets must be known to people employed in the field. Similarly, tax filing and tax planning procedures are important.

  • Outstanding ability to make decisions

Decisiveness is a good quality in this field. The people involved in the financial sector have to weigh the pros and cons of information.

They need to make decisions in a short period. Moreover, they need to weigh the implications of the decision they make. It can make or mar the financial aspect of a person’s life.

It sounds almost disheartening to lose a client or miss a trade point. The decisions made by the employees must be based on research and the financier’s projections.

In addition to this, it is necessary to follow one’s intuition and know that any decision would have all sorts of effects.

  • Persuasiveness

Influencing the opinion of people and changing their perception about financial issues requires skills. Convincing people is an art which requires constant practice.

A person must be able to change the viewpoint of a layman authentically. He/She must not resort to false claims and win over the trust of the clients. Providing a true story and painting a real picture can help improve prospects. 

  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Good communication and interpersonal skills are icing on the cake. They make a person compatible to work with different organizations and colleagues.

Excellent communication skills ensure success in the financial sector. They make a person accessible and approachable to all and sundry.

Putting forward one’s opinion in an articulate manner is a good skill. These ideas must be for the growth and development of the organization. A person must have a conversational tone and not sound preachy.

Making complex transactions and influencing investment decisions of people require impeccable skills. Moreover, a person must be able to resolve conflicts and establish good rapport with people.

  • Mathematical Expertise

The knowledge of maths concepts is essential in finance. Mathematical concepts are used in areas which use statistics and equations in comprehending financial data.

Interestingly, mathematical skills are the most sought after in accounting areas. They are also used in financial analysis which requires combining statistics and contextual information.

A person must be good in algebra, calculus and geometry to become a good employee in the financial sector.

  • IT skills

Having computer skills and proficiency is mandatory. A person must be able to interact with computer systems and have good typing skills.

In addition to this, Internet Literacy and knowledge about Microsoft Programs is compulsory.

A person must be able to use technology and equip himself/herself with technical skills. Thorough knowledge of the IT software makes online work easy.

  • Other Finance Skills

Other important skills are marketing, managing wealth and assessing portfolio performance reports.

Educational Qualifications

A person who wishes to pursue a career in finance must have an undergraduate degree. It must be in subjects like finance, accounting, business, economics or statistics. A  Masters’ Degree in Commerce is also required.

In addition to this, an MBA Degree is necessary. Many finance-related professional designations and certifications may be required.

These comprise the designations of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Several licenses like Series 7 and Series 63 licenses which are issued by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA) are mandatory.

These licenses and designations require the completion of a course and successful passing of one or more exam.

In the USA, there is a uniform requirement in every state for an accountant. He/She must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. The exam is graded and assessed by the American Institute of Public Accountants.

To become an accountant it is important for a person to have an AAT qualification (Association of Accounting Technicians). In some colleges an accountant degree is applicable. However, knowledge of maths and economics is crucial.

Higher level qualifications like ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) are necessary.

For a financial analyst, it is essential to take the General Securities Representative Exam. In addition to this, it is necessary to pass in the Research Analyst Examination also.

Different careers in Finance

Interestingly, there are several careers in the financial sector which are lucrative and offer excellent job security.

The necessary skill set and educational qualifications can guarantee a career. These jobs deal with a specific aspect of the finance and each has its functions.

  • Investment Banker

He/she works for an investment bank to raise capital for companies, individuals and governments.

A person may also deal with mergers and acquisitions. Moreover, an investment banker also acts as a facilitator between a company and its investors.

A person dealing in this area must be well-versed with the concepts of Mathematics. Investment banking involves facilitating capital funding through investment in corporations, municipalities or states.

An Investment Banker also assists with a unique investment opportunity which is derivatives and pricing financial instruments. It is also important for him/her to perform underwriting services.

Issues of bond financing are also taken by an investment banker. Arranging equity financing is also an important aspect of investment banking. An Investment banker can also help their clients raise capital through private placements.

He/she can also place an offering of bonds with an institutional investor such as a retirement fund or investment company. In addition to this, financial banker is paid the highest salary in the finance sector.

  • Financial Analyst

He/she happens to be an expert in the fields of market, economics, accounting and compliance. A financial analyst is also required to evaluate and assess a huge amount of data. He/She gives business recommendations based on the interpretation of data.

In the area of financial analysis, a person has to interpret financial information. A lot of time is spent in preparing reports, presentations and spreadsheets.

A person employed in this field has to evaluate the organizations’ abilities to repay the debts and perform budget or cost analysis.

He/she makes revenue projections and does a thorough analysis. The expert advice is used by top management for strategic actions and ways to up-skill the business.

A Financial analyst prepares a financial model that can predict the outcome of certain business decisions. Micro-economic factors and market trends are also considered.

In the area of financial analysis, balance sheet analysis is done along while examining the audited financial statements. The macro-economic and micro-economic conditions of a firm are also considered.

  • Budget analyst

He/she helps companies and other business organizations manage their finances. A budget analyst makes sure that the book-keeping, financial records, budgets details match with the laws and standards of the company.

He/she can also advise the stakeholders and management staff regarding ways to use their funds more efficiently.

The budget analysis involves execution, analysis, development and estimation of future financial needs for various businesses. It also includes consolidating individual department budgets into capital budget summaries.

Moreover, a budget analyst also recommends program cuts and reallocation of excess funds. Additional tasks like providing technical analysis, monitoring money and preparing annual reports are also done by him/her.

  • Accountant

An accountant is a person trained to record business transactions on behalf of companies and organizations. He/She prepares company reports regarding its performance and also issues financial statements.

In addition to this, an accountant also issues salary to an employee and prepares financial statements and tax reports.

In the field of accounting, a person has to produce several reports including financial statements, management reports and tax reports.

He/she may also be involved in tasks like the shipment to customers, receipts from suppliers. Cash receipts from customers are also managed by him/her. Functions like audits and financial statement analysis are also performed.

  • Financial Planner

He/she advises clients the ways to manage their finances. A person with strong interpersonal skills and persuasive abilities would make a good financial planner.

He/she also prepares financial plans making life easy for many people. These include retirement planning, investment planning and financial risk management.

  • Loan officer

He/she specializes in consumer, mortgage and commercial loans. A loan officer acts as a link between the institution and the applicant and provides methods to seek loans.

He/she may be a representative of a bank, credit union or any other institution and helps people in acquiring loans. Banking industry rules, regulations must be known to him/her. A loan officer must know ways to retrieve the documents.

A person in this field has information about determining interest rates of credit and expected a time of payment. A Loan/Mortgage Officer takes into consideration the potential risks of granting loans to applicants.

The person has a lot of activities to perform such as examining an applicant’s assets and finances and staying abreast about the current regulations, statistics and trends.

Information about Consultation, application, underwriting, approval and deal closing services must be known to him/her.

Summing it up, it is easy to be associated with the financial sector. It requires certain educational qualifications and a repertoire of skills to excel in this field of work.  People in this field are highly trained as managing accounts and finances are important at all levels.

Author Bio:

Nancie L Beckett is an esteemed author with an outstanding knowledge of financial topics. She has passed from the University of Michigan with an MBA degree. In addition to this, she also has six years of writing experience. She can write coherent samples with well-worded content and high range of vocabulary. Her writing skills are par excellence. Moreover, her writing samples are reviewed by scholars and professionals who find them extremely useful.