Are you ready to start your finance career? Welcome on board.
First, to succeed in the financial industry, along with finance degrees, you should possess key skills like numeracy, analysis, and communication, which you will learn about later in this guide.
That being said, society today can only do with the financial industry because everyday businesses are springing up. They need the industry’s money management services in investment banking, accounting, and insurance, so you see why job opportunities abound there.
Now, back to your question-
Is finance a good career path?
Absolutely yes! And why is that so? The finance industry is home to many finance professionals because it’s a place to build a solid and rewarding career where you can make a lot of money.
However, before enrolling in any financial institution, you must first do a background check to know if it’s worth it.
That is why, in this guide, I will take you through all you need to know about the whole finance career path and answer your question – “Is finance a good career path?”
You can trust this guide to be your ultimate torchbearer to finance career path.
Is Finance a Rewarding Career to Follow?
The finance industry is a well-known industry with many opportunities to showcase your financial abilities and sharpen your skills in everything that has to do with finance, financial institutions (commercial banks,central banks or insurance companies) and investment firms.
The industry is constantly flooded with new faces daily, making it highly competitive. With its daily popularity, you might wonder why everyone is trooping into it. Well, truth be told, a financial career is noble and fulfilling, with many advantages and perks.
Suppose you love to solve mathematical-related problems and have a flair for making financial plans. In that case, the finance sector will be a great place to hone your skills.
Study research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the average salary of finance and business workers to be $76,850.
Can you beat that?
When the average salary range of financial jobs is compared to other job types, it’s quite huge.
However, this salary range might vary based on the area and company but expect advancement in your career. You receive higher pay and other juicy associated incentives as you go higher in your career.
As the financial markets and industry grows and more innovative ventures, new areas of interest and bigger industry opportunities arise, so expect more future rewards.
Look at the following finance careers with special duties and estimated average annual salary. This will give you an idea about what to expect from the finance career path at a glance.
Top 10 Finance Careers with Special Duties and Estimated Annual Average Salary
|S.No.||Career Path||Special Duties||Estimated Annual Average Salary|
|1.||Financial Analyst||Market research, stock trading, financial trend analysis||$82,548|
|2.||Equity Research Analyst||Analyzing financial data, writing equity research reports, advising on investments||$114,307|
|3.||Personal Financial Advisor||Financial planning, investment guidance, risk assessment||$104,086|
|4.||Investment Banker||Financial advice, capital raising, mergers and acquisitions||$235,000-$439,000|
|5.||Management Professionals||Business improvement, productivity enhancement, cash management||$66,000-$100,000|
|6.||Financial Manager||Financial oversight, market trend analysis, report writing||$100,000-$200,000|
|7.||Bookkeeper||Record keeping, ledger management, financial reporting||$48,971|
|8.||Tax Examiners/Collectors and Revenue Agents||Tax calculation, collection, and monitoring||$48,420|
|9.||Loan Official||Loan applicant vetting, eligibility analysis, loan approval||$227,479|
|10.||Chief Financial Officer (CFO)||Financial strategy development, risk management, strategic decision-making||$340,059|
Finance Careers: Entry-Level Finance Jobs
The finance industry has a lot of competition because of the number of people entering the financial sector. To stand a better chance, you must familiarize yourself with the industry’s happenings.
If you want to start your career in the finance sector, start with these entry-level positions in finance jobs.
Jobs like these involve you as one of the financial professionals handling administrative duties like company policies and client relationships.
Some entry-level finance jobs are listed below, with their estimated average salary and the projected growth rate.
Finance Careers- Entry Level Median Annual and Hourly Salary and Estimated Growth Rate
|Career||Median Annual Salary||Median Hourly Salary||Estimated Growth Rate (2022-2032)|
|Financial analyst||$96,220||$46.26||8% (Faster than average)|
|Insurance underwriter||$76,230||$36.65||-2% (Decline)|
|Actuary||$113,990||$54.80||23% (Much faster than average)|
|Budget analyst||$82,260||$39.55||3% (As fast as average)|
|Bank teller||$36,380||$17.49||-15% (Decline)|
|Tax examiner||$57,950||$27.86||1% (Little or no change)|
|Insurance claims adjuster||$72,040||$34.63||-3% (Decline)|
|Payroll clerk||$45,570||$21.91||-4% (Decline)|
6 Must-Have Skills for a Successful Finance Career
There is no hard and fast rule if you want to venture into the finance sector.
Apart from earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, to have a successful finance career, you must develop some essential skills to shoot the roof and make a flourishing career in a financial institution.
What are these skills? Take a look at them.
1. Numeracy ability
For you to be good at finance, you cannot take away the importance of having numeracy skills.
This is because you will be handling lots of financial calculations related to statistics and data, financial modeling, budgets, financial statements, and the like.
So, you must know how to use mathematical theories like algebra, calculus, and probability to help you in your job.
2. Analytical skills
Thinking analytically and making sound judgments is essential because you will handle complex financial data.
So, you must be able to solve complex problems, make logical and sound decisions, and interpret data correctly.
If you are not an analytical thinker, you can take a course on improving your analytical skills and practice with your finances, too, and you are good to go.
Paying attention to details will help you in your finance career. As you know, you will be analyzing cash flow statements and calculating the company’s financial data, so you must know when the account is not balanced and be observant enough to know when a mistake is made in the accounting calculations.
This is important because a company will appreciate a meticulous staff with data so the company does not run into some financial deficit.
4. Communication skills
Remember that you will not be working alone. There are other professionals also working in the same field as you.
You must communicate well and transparently with other team members to properly analyze financial data, plan budgets, identify any discrepancies in the account, and work together to create a solution.
5. Risk estimation skills
You must be able to look at the company’s financial statements and records, identify the risk factors posing a threat, and plan how to mitigate these risk factors.
Suppose you are in the executive finance department or risk management department. In that case, this will be a handy skill for you.
6. Income management skills
You will need this portfolio management skill to oversee the company’s cash flow of financial assets. Income management skills will help you scrutinize the company’s income and expenditure properly, keep a track record of how much the company has, and give a prognosis of the company’s revenue.
You will need this skill if you work in accounting firms or loan companies.
Top 10 Career Paths in the Finance Industry
The good thing about the financial world is that it’s versatile, with different areas where you can specialize.
If you want to get a finance degree, you can fix yourself in many places. Let’s look at the nine finance careers or finance positions available after graduation.
1. Financial Analyst
As a certified financial planner and analyst, you are tasked with critical financial decisions that involve researching and making financial investment recommendations for the company.
This recommendation analyzes the potential of the portfolio manager, the investments and market trends to ensure maximum profit.
Make a market survey for the best business opportunities
Oversee buying and selling of stocks for a company
- Financial analysts review market trends and make proper deductions
2. Equity Research Analyst
Your equity research analyst career will allow you to study and analyze financial information and trends for an organization or an industry.
As an ER analyst, you will review stocks, bonds, and other instruments, write an unbiased, honest equity research report, and help your clients make good investment decisions based on your reports.
Studying public records of companies to forecast the organization’s impending financial needs
Writing reports on the organization’s finances and defining the business’s investment potential by giving ratings, like buy, sell, or hold
Accountable for analyzing the budget and making a strategy to get out of debt if the organization is in a poor financial state
Using technical analysis or fundamental analysis to report which securities or stocks are expected to be profitable and which are not
3. Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors are financial advisors primarily seen in public. They help individuals in personal finance by directing their financial planning and guiding them to proportion their investments to suit their lives. For instance, assisting clients with retirement plans, managing their properties, or personal business investment plans.
So, to achieve this, you must develop good communication and interpersonal skills so you can relate to everyone, no matter their background or level of understanding of personal financial advisors.
Client pitching and prospecting to introduce your job to them
Discussing business and investment opportunities with clients
Make surveys and intimate clients of the possible risks of these opportunities
Finally, making recommendations and advice to help mitigate the said risks
4. Investment Banker
As an investment banker, your prime function includes giving expert financial advice to your clients and supporting institutional clients in capital raising, mergers, and acquisitions. Being an investment banker is highly challenging, though investment banking is the most rewarding and prestigious finance career.
Investment bankers work a difficult finance career path. Besides finance skills, you need college degrees, extracurricular activities, and determination to make the best out of a demanding job for investment bankers.
- Front office duties include investment banking and market functions like sales, trading, and structuring
Middle office roles include risk management duties like analysis and evaluating the risk taken by front office employees
The back office work includes mostly operational roles
5. Management Professionals
These expert financial planners in the business help people revive their dying businesses by proffering practical solutions to help improve the profitability and productivity of the company. They use their experience in the field of business to identify the origin of the problem and give professional advice on how things should be done differently.
Examine the cash flow and the business financial data to figure out the best way to manage the business
Research the company’s low-point areas and proffer solutions to improve productivity
Give professional advice on cash management to reduce wastage
6. Financial Manager
This position is one of the top positions in the financial industry. It goes further from managing personal investments to managing hedge funds, large companies, private equity firms or being a part of an extended organization. The financial managers evaluate the financial reports of these companies and make some projections that can be applied to take the companies’ investments to another level and remove every unnecessary addition that reduces productivity.
Oversee the finances of a company or organization
Research market trends and make propositions, including how to take advantage of opportunities
Write the financial reports and statements to help the administrative body’s decision-making plans
The job of a bookkeeper is to record and keep tabs on all the day-to-day business financial transactions. They record the income and expenditures and give the financial analysts an up-to-date financial report on the business so the chief financial officer can work with the information to make better financial decisions.
Responsible for managing the ledger of the company
Monitor any discrepancies in the account and make a report
Ensures accurate data entry
Record all business financial dealings
8. Tax Examiners/Collectors and Revenue Agents
These are entry-level business and finance jobs in the private equity and sector. These people work for the federal, state, or local government. The people working under this department must calculate the taxes owed by individuals, collect them, and report back to the governments they work for. They monitor the underpayment of taxes, including unpaid taxes, and manage them.
Liaise with the taxpayers to address any underlying issues with their payment
Make sure citizens comply with the tax payment methods
Monitor underpayment and overpayment and make a refund where necessary
9. Loan Official
These people work with loan houses and companies to oversee the loans collected by people and make sure they can pay back before approving any loan, so a loan official must vet the borrower to make sure they can repay the loan. They analyze the history of the loan applicants and know if the loan should be given or not.
Have a one-on-one meeting with the loan applicants for further inquiries.
Educate the borrowers on the different types of loans, application requirements, and terms and conditions.
Analyze the loan applicants’ eligibility, including past credit scores and income history.
10. Chief Financial Officer
A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is crucial in financial management and strategic decision-making. Your responsibilities as a CEO go beyond standard financial oversight, and you often have special duties integral to your role.
Develop and implement financial strategies to align with organizational goals.
Manage financial risks, allocate capital, and oversee fundraising efforts.
Play a pivotal role in mergers and acquisitions, ensuring due diligence.
Communicate with investors, maintain compliance, and optimize cash flow.
Collaborate with executives to align financial planning with strategic objectives.
3 Downsides of Corporate Finance Career
No career doesn’t have certain drawbacks associated with it matter how beautiful or promising it seems. The same applies to the finance sector, so before you go into it, you should have this thing in your mind.
1. Demanding and stressful
Yes, working as a financial analyst or personnel comes with lots of demands. Now, assuming you are a financial analyst or a portfolio manager, you are saddled with the responsibility of making important financial decisions for the company. Such requires a lot of brain work and can be quite tough.
Another thing you need to consider is that you must be ready to make adjustments because the world’s business and financial occupations keep changing by the day. A new event in the economy might cause a serious issue, so you must be flexible and prepared to handle future changes at all times so it doesn’t affect the company and the staff as well.
Working in finance requires you to spend lots of time in your finance job and that at the end of the day, you might not have much time left for your personal life because the finance job itself is so demanding that you have to put in long hours of work to make sure you are punching in the right figures and writing reports, so make sure you make deliberate efforts to have a balanced life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is investment banking the best finance career?
Investment banking is often considered one of the most prestigious, potentially lucrative careers and the highest paying career in finance for jobs, but whether it’s the “best” finance career depends on individual preferences and goals.
Benefits and Challenges of Investment Banking Career
|1.||High earnings potential: Investment bankers are among the highest-paid professionals in finance, with substantial bonuses and salaries.||Long hours: Investment bankers often work grueling, including weekends, leading to challenges to work-life balance.|
|2.||Learning opportunities: It offers exposure to complex financial transactions, mergers, acquisitions, and capital raising, providing a steep learning curve.||Stressful environment: The high-pressure nature of the job can lead to burnout and health issues.|
|3.||Network building: It allows professionals to build extensive networks with clients, colleagues, and industry experts, which can be valuable for future career opportunities.||Limited work-life balance: The demanding workload can make maintaining a balanced personal life difficult.|
|4.||Prestige: Investment banking is highly regarded in finance, and working at a top investment bank can open doors in other sectors.||Job security: The industry is cyclical, and economic downturns can lead to layoffs.|
Ultimately, the “best” finance career depends on your interests, skills, and priorities. Investment banking can be great for those seeking financial rewards and fast-paced challenges.
Still, it may only suit some people due to the demanding nature of the work. Other finance careers like asset management, corporate finance, or financial planning offer different opportunities and work-life balance considerations, making them better choices for some individuals.
Which job is better in finance?
The “better” job in finance depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. Some popular finance roles include investment banking, which can offer high salaries and opportunities for deal-making but often involves long hours and high-pressure environments.
On the other hand, asset management or financial analysis roles may offer a better work-life balance and still provide competitive compensation. Ultimately, the best job in finance for you will align with your Inner GPS, individual preferences key skills and aspirations.
My Exclusive Insights for You- Should I Choose Finance As a Career Path?
Pursuing a finance career can be both a noble venture and a rewarding one. The lucrative industry has enough space to gain expertise and earn huge salaries.
However, also note that with your financial career comes its demands.
Because we are talking finance here, you will deal with an ever-changing economy, unstable market trends, and clients with different characters. You must possess all the skills mentioned in this article if you want to succeed at what you do.
Having explored all the finance career options above before deciding- to explore your Inner GPS.
Your internal guidance system, your Inner GPS, will guide you accurately in your career in finance or any other profession. You can sign up for our Inner GPS Career Coaching to help you discover your true calling.
Suppose you are a finance enthusiast or one who loves to deal with numbers. In that case, the finance industry is where you can build an amazing career. What are you waiting for? Go get it!