Career Advice Career Basics

Is finance a good career path?

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Is finance a good career path has been a recurrent question that we’ve been asked constantly in our groups and we decided to answer those questions and other relating ones using this article.

Finance is a vast career path that includes both how money is managed and the process of how funds are acquired. Finance is commonly broken into three aspects which are, personal, corporate, and public finance.

Each of these aspects requires a different skillset and mindset; although the principles remain similar and each role requires familiarity and comfort with a certain aspect of accounting. The management of money requires its sourcing, which usually is done either personally, through a bank, or through corporate funds, which is also dependent on the financing being handled.

So, a career in finance would require not only understanding accounting principles, but also a clear understanding of the best tactics for raising and investing capital.

With high salaries, bonuses, and opportunities for progression, high-paying finance jobs are some of the most sought-after for business school grads.

SEE ALSO: How to Successfully Build a Career in Banking And Finance

But is finance a good career path?

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), as many as 39% of prospective business school students seem to think so, with interests in a career in finance when they graduate. 

list of financial career options
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial planning
  • Commercial banking
  • Investment banking
  • Public accounting
  • Hedge funds
  • Private entity, venture capital
  • Insurance
  • Financial service industry

Pros and cons of a career in finance

Pros

Flexibility

There are many jobs that offer an excellent work/life balance. for example, most Accountants may find that they are busiest around tax season but experience less stress at other times. Other careers within finance such as that of a financial advisor may have few independent clients, which allows them flexible work hours. So If you’re one that enjoys more consistency and stability, a private accountant job may be the best fit for you because you will work during the typical business hours of 9-5.

Diverse Opportunities

When a lot of people think of a career in finance, accounting is usually their first. Additional careers include banking, financial analysis, insurance, hedge funds, and becoming an enrolled agent. Each offers its own niche of education and benefits for you to enjoy. Keep in mind that each job has different requirements and skillsets to enter the field. For example, an accountant is required to pass the CPA to become certified as opposed to a CFA certification to becoming a certified financial analyst.

Excellent Salary

It is a widely known fact that those building careers in finance make a lot of money. A quick google search would place a financial manager at number 16 of the highest paying jobs in the United States. So it’s little wonder that after acquiring more experience, you find yourself with an even higher salary. Most financial advisers work on commission, which is a system where the amount of clients that are brought in and kept by the analyst determines the income. This has helped lots of financial analysts gain six digits in revenue over time!

Utilize your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is essential to any job in the finance industry. However, if you have this innate skill, you will find this incredibly rewarding. This job requires that you be able to think ahead and think quickly after analyzing financial information. Some people have the personality that thrives on this high-pressure work environment. If this sounds like you, you will likely enjoy a financial analyst position.

Cons

Continuous Education

As in most careers, you are not finished once you obtain your CFA, CPA or ACCA. You will have to continuously learn, evolve and implement new knowledge in the ever-changing market. This may be regarded as positive for some while others see view it as a negative. You would be required to take annual courses that will update you with new information. This is very important both for your integrity and for the protection of the client, as in finance little mistakes can have very grievous consequences.

High Stress

A career in finance demands tight deadlines, analytic skill, high pressure all while paying attention to details. Most people find it difficult to initially adjust to this lifestyle of non-ending pressures. If you can get past the initial adjustment, you might find that you can keep up with your chosen career job choice within finance. I must add that other careers that deal with money, such as accounting have it’s pressure is relating to both the local and global economy. With clients dropping in and out depending on the market, similarly with stocks as clients can be highly emotionally reactive to the ups and downs of the market. Often, you will find yourself trying to monitor and even in some cases manage the emotions of the client so that they do not make rash decisions.

Meeting Quotas

Some of the jobs within finance are required to meet certain quotas within a certain period and this is part of what leads to stress. Most jobs as we’ve established in finance are highly demanding and some people find it hard to adjust. when you include the multiple sleepless nights and the quotas some firms require to be met by a certain deadline. It is easy to see how stress can really creep in.

Cyclical Industry

Another con about building a career in finance is job security for certain jobs. Financial services is a cyclical industry. Banks and brokerages would tend to go on hiring sprees when there’s an economic boom and markets are rising and then end up laying off a significant percentage of their employees during economic down cycles. Although senior financial analysts and product sales agents are rarely involved in mass layoffs, few jobs in the financial services industry are really secure in a severe economic contraction. The COVID-19 pandemic is one of such severe economic contraction.

There are numerous benefits to having a career in finance, but it’s not always an easy road as the finance industry isn’t for the faint-hearted. Consider the critical skill sets needed, basics, qualifications, pros, cons of such a career and determine whether it’s a good fit for you.

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