A Detailed Guide on Corporate Finance Career Path 


corporate finance career path

We all know how daunting and challenging managing money is. This is why most people seek help from a corporate finance professional individual to assist them with savings, investments, tax payments, etc. But do you know the same principle applies to organizations as well? 

Most companies depend on corporate finance professionals to assist them in making important decisions regarding their business and growth. This article will look at the corporate finance career path in detail, including the skills and educational background required to succeed. 

So if you are the type that derives pleasure in crunching numbers, loves digging deep into more information, and always looks at the stock market once you get out of bed rather than the news feed, then we may say a career in corporate finance will suit you best. 

What is corporate finance? 

Are you the type that finds happiness in the challenges of working with a company to help manage its finances? Well, a corporate finance career is undoubtedly the desired path for you. 

Corporate finance involves how businesses deal with funding sources, capital structure, and investment banking decisions to increase their profits and reduce costs and losses. 

Mainly, corporate finance assists in increasing shareholder value via long-term and short-term planning, simultaneously implementing different strategies to achieve success; the activities include capital investments, tax considerations, and many more. 

Why consider a career in corporate finance? 

You have many reasons to consider choosing a career in corporate finance. One of the essential things to note is that once you are into corporate finance, you will be at the core of understanding and learning how businesses operate. 

Since the primary role of a corporate finance officer is to manage money, you will be able to work on many matters related to money which will, in the long run, help you become the best version of yourself in your corporate finance career path. 

Every organization, company, or business needs corporate finance so you will have a job. Instead, you will have an exciting role where you look forward to working nationally and internationally. 

The must-have educational requirements successful corporate finance career path 

The primary educational requirement for a corporate finance job is a bachelor’s degree in accounting. However, other departments like finance and economics can also be considered relevant. 

  • To be fully considered for the role, you require an advanced degree like a master’s in accounting, finance, or economics. 
  • Also, other job roles focus on capital markets, statistics, portfolio management, and more in a candidate’s curriculum vitae. 
  • Corporate finance is looking for someone with a deep knowledge of accounting, more like they are looking for an in-depth brain skill rather than what’s written in papers. 
  • What if you don’t have an educational background and still want to venture into corporate finance? It’s easy; you will demonstrate your competence through professional qualifications and certifications. 

Courses and certifications related to the corporate finance path 

Like in other finance areas, certification roles are also important in corporate finance. 

Accounting Certificate: 

Generally, accounting is a certified course that offers a thoroughly comprehensive knowledge of the tools that will help you analyze a financial result. 

So aside from the knowledge, you need to develop skills so when you seek a job, it will give the employee a good impression, and the chances of you getting the job will be high. 

3 Organizations that provide accounting qualifications 

  1. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  2. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 
  3. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) 

3 Certifications that will make you stand a better chance

  1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation
  2. Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation
  3. Diploma in Corporate Finance run by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

6 Skills required for corporate finance path

In your corporate finance career path, you will realize that aside from the educational background and certifications you already possess, which will help you deliver your roles and responsibilities diligently, you must also have some unique skills, including: 

1. Solid analytical and quantitative skills 

Finance is entirely related to numbers, so one skill you should incredibly possess is analytical and quantitative skills. Ensure you are comfortable and familiar with numbers, and you can arrange different reports together. 

2. Accounting, financial analysis, reporting, regulations, and deep taxation knowledge

One key aspect determining whether you will be hired for a role is knowledge. Companies prefer hiring someone who already knows rather than recruiting someone they must train. So make sure certificate finance institutions teach you. 

3. Attention to detail 

Since you will be working with numbers, attention to detail is a must-have skill you should possess. You won’t like to be sued for even a decimal point error. 

Each number and point has a vital role and can implicate the company’s finance, so be diligent, accurate, and attentive to calculations. Ensure you have that keen eye that can detect errors, fraud, omissions, and many more. 

4. Problem-solving skills

If you want to move to a more prominent position, you must demonstrate problem-solving skills. Moreover, for you to be a finance officer, you must be on your feet all the time and be vigilant all the time. 

5. Strong interpersonal skills 

During your work, you will come across many people, including humans from your team, other sectors, customers, investors, bankers, and many more. 

So to effectively deliver your work without encountering problems with the kind of people you meet daily, you must have solid interpersonal skills. 

6. Be constantly updated with the latest knowledge

Whichever country you live in, you must familiarize yourself with their financial laws. However, you might find yourself dealing with foreign clients, which means you must also be familiar with foreign accounting regulations. 

Additionally, tax laws are constantly updating, so you must remain updated with the latest knowledge regarding your industry. 

Corporate finance organization structure

Just like other fields, the corporate finance industry positions are divided into entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level. 

  1. Entry-level 

To be at the entry-level, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or economics. You must also possess practical knowledge of MS Word. 

You will likely stand a better chance than other candidates if you have good communication and analytical skills. The corporate finance position you may land includes:

  •  Financial Analyst
  •  Cost Analyst
  •  Business Analyst
  •  Support Analyst
  • Reporting
  1. Mid-level 

You must have a master’s degree in business administration or chartered accounting to go for this level. The average job you may be hired for includes: 

  • Cash Manager
  •  Strategic Planner
  •  Senior Financial Analyst
  •  Budgeting
  •  M&A professional

You are also likely to stand a fair chance with skills such as: 

  •  Paying attention to details
  •  Analytical skills
  • Making instant decisions when required
  1. Senior-level 

When you stay in a company for years, you will have adequate experience and be exposed to and learn from many challenging situations. Those challenges you encountered have helped you develop good management and leadership skills. These capabilities will expose you to senior-level positions such as: 

  • Chief financial officer
  • Chief executive officer
  • Special project
  • Business corporate development managers

Top 9 corporate finance career jobs 

Below are 9 corporate finance jobs that will help you determine which role will suit you best based on your qualifications and certification: 

  1. Financial Analyst

The financial analyst’s job can be further divided into capital budgeting, which deals with revenue estimation for the annual budget and keeping track of the budget from time to time to investigate if there is deviation. 

As a financial analyst, you will also assess capital proposals and be involved in decisions concerning purchasing or leasing specific equipment. You will also be responsible for differentiating projects based on profits. 

Furthermore, since most decisions come with many options, you will evaluate every option and select the one that best suits the scenario. 

  1. Cost Analyst

The role of a cost analyst in a company is to make decisions on the service cost, negotiate product prices, and more. Aside from this role, you will also be responsible for recognizing ways to help reduce a product’s cost. 

Additionally, you must understand the cost and assist in pricing decisions too. Job-order costing and activity-based costing are fields that your profile will perfectly fit in the industry. 

  1. Credit Manager

If you want to become a credit manager, even from the name, you will be assigned to handle credit decisions in the organization. You will be responsible for deciding the amount of money to pay suppliers. 

You will be making decisions regarding rates, credit guidelines, and scrutinization. Before you successfully get this role, you must have a profound financial statements analysis and full customer profile knowledge to help you when making a solid decision is required.

  1. Cash Manager 

As a cash manager, you will handle every short-term or long-term requirement of your company. So to be successful in your role, you must maintain a good relationship with banks in case there is a need for short-term credits. 

You must also have enough working capital to safeguard the company’s interest. If there is any avenue that will bring huge interest, you will invest enormous cash to earn profit. The role also requires you to handle international money transfers. So given how meticulous this role is, you must possess incredible negotiation skills to succeed. 

  1. Benefits Officer

In this job, you will be responsible for intersecting finance and human resources management departments. The position is cost-effective; it needs you to manage pension funds, health care benefits, and plans. But the best aspect of this role is that the work is of your benefit. If you are planning to go for this job, some added advantage knowledge that will make you have a high chance of landing the job include organizational behavior knowledge, human resources, and finance knowledge. 

  1. Real Estate Officer 

As a real estate officer, you work even from the name involving real estate issues of the organization. These issues include land purchase, lease terms negotiations, the opposite party’s conditions, and evaluating and buying real estate properties . So for this corporate finance role, besides having vast knowledge of finance, you need commercial real estate knowledge too. 

  1. Investor Relation Officer 

For this role, you will be required to ensure a good relationship between investors and the company. The role leans towards public relations and advert. This includes:

  •  Replying to queries
  • Organizing teleconferences
  •  Preparing press releases
  •  Sharing financial information
  1. Treasurer 

A treasurer performs numerous corporate finance roles in a company. Treasury, in particular, provides a complete view of the activities performed by all the departments in a company. The treasurer’s job includes supervising departments involving: 

  • Financing
  •  Cash management,
  • Risk management
  • Pension management
  1. Controller 

The role of a controller pertains to financial planning, reporting, and cost analysis in the company. Also, you must be versatile with knowledge of financial reengineering and have revenue projection and cost forecast models. You will work in revenue, property, lease, joint venture accounting departments, etc. To be a controller, you must be experienced and professional because, at certain times, you will be summoned to solve complex issues even in front of auditors. 

Corporate finance salary structure and bonus 

Corporate Finance Analyst Salary in the US
Source: Glassdoor.com

Final thoughts 

Unlike their marketing counterparts, most corporate finance professionals don’t have any pursuing target. However, the job is still more exciting and simultaneously challenging. As a corporate financier, you must make decisions concerning your company’s long-term growth instead of only looking at short-term goals. 

The best aspect of corporate finance career path is that a career in this path is always sought after. Most financial industries worldwide are looking for a corporate financier. So you don’t have to worry about a lack of a job after obtaining a degree in this field. 


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