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Possible career paths when studying finance

The best things in life may be free but you still need money to survive. A career in finance isn’t always about money, although finance professionals work with money. For a student, obtaining a finance degree is just the beginning. You have to decide what exactly you want to major in and take a closer look at the career opportunities. Check which industries have the greatest need for finance professionals.

The finance industry has many sides, offering a lot of positions for people with different skills and interests. If you want to achieve success, you should research, locate and land the financial job. The same counts for non-financial individuals. Work hard if you want to be successful in your career.

Many finance jobs require people with a finance qualification, however, there are also opportunities for people with other qualifications in the finance industry. This industry offers great training and development opportunities. It can even offer finance for non-financial managers courses. Believe it or not but the finance industry is one of the best working environments you’ll come across.

Here are five of the many possible career paths you can follow when studying finance.


These are the people who keep a company or organisation’s financial planning, debt financing and budget in order. They set the financial rules and choose the accounting methods and principles of the company. Controllers usually work for banks, corporates and governments. They can work themselves up to a team leader position where motivating their team to ensure they produce quality work will be one of their tasks. However, there’s a catch with this one: most employers require candidates to have a vast amount of experience (approximately eight or more years) in the financial industry. You can’t go straight out of university to being a controller, you’ll have to work your way up. This position is difficult to attain because of the experience requirement.

Tax Manager

As a tax manager, you’ll be overseeing tax reporting and planning. Tax managers are known as the “taxman”. In this role, you’ll make sure tax returns are completed and correct in order to reduce the tax responsibility of a company. As the tax manager, you must also ensure your company sticks to the tax rules or laws of the country. To be considered as a tax manager, you need at least five years’ experience in the field. Tax managers are usually hard to recruit because most people who work in this field tend to change to another position in the finance industry.


If you want to be successful in this career, you’ll have to be good with numbers, reconciling conflict reports and paying close attention to detail. There’ll come times when you must have the ability to multitask. Accountants keep a close eye on the state of the company’s assets, liabilities, profits, losses and any other financial activities. Managers usually look for candidates with a degree in accounting and a minimum of two or three years’ experience. It’s always wise to apply for an accounting or bookkeeping internship after graduating. That’ll count towards you landing a job as an accountant. The most competitive positions in accounting include account managers, senior accountants and fund account managers.

Valuation Analysis

These individuals evaluate potential merits of an investment. It’s important that the analyst has a good understanding of accounting, taxes, economics and finance. You must also have a strong mathematical background. It’s expected that a valuation analysis should be able to answer the essential question, “What’s something worth?” The analysis is then based on either current projections or a forecast of the future. You get different types of valuation: business, rich, asset and the list goes on.

Investments and Financial Advisor

Most people want their money to work hard for them, that’s why they make the decision to invest. The job of the investment manager is to use their special skills, knowledge and expertise to invest money on behalf of their clients. They also advise their clients on how to best use their money. Investment managers can work individually or as a team. While a financial advisor on the other hand gives financial advice to their clients on how to best manage their financial affairs. As a financial advisor, you need to have a good knowledge and understanding of financial products, like stocks and taxation.

In order to succeed and land that dream job, you should have strategic thinking, communication and industry-specific skills. Decide whether a career in finance is right for you and try to narrow down your options in the finance field. Get enough background and research on the financial industry. The key to success is specialisation in the field.

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