To succeed, businesses must have a solid financial foundation. Hence, having a highly efficient finance department to plan and manage the finances will aid the company gain assets and funds sustainably. Having that said, is finance a good career path? What are some of the open jobs in corporate finance applicants can apply for? Before we dive into the list, let’s take a closer look into corporate finance.
Corporate Finance: An Overview
Corporate finance deals with a company’s financial needs from every aspect. It discusses how businesses deal with issues that include financial leverage, accountancy, and investment choices. Corporate financial activities include things like tax planning and capital investments.
Corporate finance jobs are steady, but the working culture is highly accountable since it involves managing cash resources, raising funds for business growth through acquisitions, and planning the company’s profitability through effective cash management. Thus, if you’re the type of person who thinks in numbers and is interested in money and how financial markets work, a job in corporate finance may be right for you.
Basics of Corporate Structure
Like in any other industry, there are entry-level, middle-level, and senior roles on the finance corporate ladder. Let’s go over these to get a better understanding of a company’s corporate finance structure.
Entry-Level Corporate Finance Job
Entry-level positions call for a bachelor’s degree in finance or economics. Critical thinking, good communication skills, and familiarity with basic accounting software will make you stand out from the competition. Financial analyst, cost analyst, and business analyst are typical entry-level professions.
Mid-level Corporate Finance Job
Career choices at this level include senior strategic planners, cash managers, and related roles like financial planners and acquisition specialists. Hence, having an MBA or a Certified Chartered Accountant designation is better. If you have excellent analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to step up when necessary, you will have a better chance of landing a mid-level position.
Senior-Level Corporate Finance Job
As you advance in the organization and gain more experience, it will expose you to more difficult situations. This can help you build strong managerial skills, a solid understanding of macroeconomic ideas, and exceptional leadership skills where you won’t hesitate to make risky, million-dollar financial decisions. The chief financial officer (CFO), chief executive officer (CEO), treasurer, controller, and business development managers are senior-level managers who possess these skills in corporate finance.
Jobs in Corporate Finance: Open Careers for You
There are many job paths you can take if you want to begin your career in the finance industry. If you’re unsure of where to start or what to aim for, below is a list of the top corporate finance jobs available. We’ve provided average base salary and total compensation estimates, including commissions and other incentives.
1. Real Estate Officer/Manager
A real estate officer deals with the property issues of a company, such as evaluating and securing commercial property for the business and negotiating lease terms and conditions with the opposite party. They work with other financial staff members at the company to ensure that the properties they secure are wise investments. A degree in real estate, business, or finance and prior professional experience in one of these areas can help you become a real estate manager. It involves both finance and in-depth commercial real estate understanding.
The average yearly salary for an entry-level property manager is $42,289, with a range of up to $61,000. Given the wide range of entry-level property manager salaries, there may be many prospects for advancement and higher income based on experience, location, and skill level.
2. Cost Analyst
A cost analyst aids their company in controlling costs through financial study and analysis. Their task includes generating reports for company leadership, developing budgets, monitoring financial transactions, reducing the company’s expenses, examining the discrepancy between company expenses and standard costs, and doing market research.
A bachelor’s degree in business administration or accounting, cost accounting experience, proficiency with accounting software, and strong analytical abilities are requirements for this career. Some employers might also require that you hold a certified public accountant (CPA) license. As for the salary, the yearly pay for an entry-level cost analyst is $55,089, or around $1,059 per week, or $4,591 per month. The expected total compensation, including bonuses and profit sharing, might reach $75,000–$85,000.
An auditor is a financial expert who audits accounts for businesses and organizations to verify the accuracy of their financial data. As part of their duties, auditors prepare tax returns, examine company account books and accounting systems to ensure efficiency and accuracy, and verify that financial statements are correct and compliant with the law.
Candidates for this position should at least hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Some companies prefer candidates who hold a master’s degree in accounting or an equivalent. The ideal applicant should be a certified internal auditor (CIA) or certified public accountant (CPA). Companies usually choose candidates with a minimum of one to three years of work experience to handle difficult auditory demands. Finally, the average entry-level auditor salary is $62,001/year, but the range typically falls between $56,201 and $68,101.
4. Benefits and Compensation Manager
The choice and management of an organization’s employee benefits package falls under the purview of a benefits manager. They get quotes from different suppliers and ensure that any benefits plans they carry out make financial sense for the business. They work closely with a company’s human resources department to review and update existing benefit and compensation-related policies, and ensure these follow current laws.
Whereas many benefit managers begin their careers in the human resources department, they nonetheless possess a background in finance. They must also have hands-on experience with payroll software. You can start down this career route with a bachelor’s degree in finance, organizational psychology, or human resources management. The entry-level benefit manager salary ranges from $67,00- $84,000 annually, plus extra pay of around $18,000.
5. Corporate Accountant
Corporate accountants oversee a company’s financial operations, making financial reports, and assisting management in formulating strategic decisions based on actual and projected financial data. Finance manager and financial controller are two possible corporate finance job progressions for this path. Businesses hire corporate accountants with a bachelor’s in accounting, finance, or any related field of study.
The starting pay for a corporate accountant is between $64,000 and $67,000 per year; but with the incentives and bonuses, it can go as high as $89,000.
6. Financial Analyst
Among the in-demand corporate finance jobs, financial analysts take charge of the organization’s financial projection. They search for patterns and any inconsistencies in the methods which help them make financial strategies they recommend to executives. For this position, a bachelor’s degree and previous experience as an analyst or controller are often needed.
The starting salary for a financial analyst is between $65,530 and $71,000, but with bonuses and other incentives, they could make between $91,223 and $96,693 annually.
7. Investor Relations Manager
An organization’s investor relations officer manages relationships with both institutional and individual investors; which involves meeting with investors, providing potential investors with financial information, releasing information, creating reports for stakeholders, and crisis management.
Companies often require a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, communications, economics, or a related field for this corporate finance job. Though not required, a master’s degree, such as an MBA, is a plus. In jobs where the applicant possesses experience in investor relations, public relations, financial investment, accounting, legal, and other similar fields, companies often require two to seven years of work experience. Thus, this job is not listed as an entry-level position.
The average annual salary of an IR ranges from $81,000- $89,000. The estimated total salary could reach up to $96,000-$104,000, including incentives.
8. Financial Planner
Financial planners help their clients make sound financial decisions, help them in saving money, create investment portfolios, and give financial guidance. Advisory or planning firms often hire them, but they can also work for themselves.
Most financial planner positions need a college degree at the least. Other qualifications sought by employers are advanced degrees, licenses, and other professional certifications. For instance, if a financial planner holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) accreditation, the chances are likely to be the highest. Although not required, a degree in finance or economics is helpful for those seeking to work in this field.
Entry-level positions start at $79,814 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $114,780-$134,356 annually.
Financial controllers supervise a company’s financial management, analyze reports, and make sure that the company’s finances are correctly accounted for and compliant with the law. In larger companies, they report directly to the chief financial officer, while they may be in charge of the finance team in smaller companies. They often help set financial objectives and budgetary funding allocation.
Controllers often hold a master’s degree in business administration apart from a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting. Before obtaining a position as an assistant controller, they also work in the accounting department. The average controller salary ranges from $101,895 to $104,000 annually. The annual starting salary for this occupation is $97,500, with most experienced individuals earning up to $140,000. This position is not often listed as entry-level.
10. Chief Finance Officer (CFO)
The Chief Finance Officer (CFO) position is one of the most senior jobs in corporate finance, and it takes years to develop the qualifications needed to hold this post. This job requires a wide set of skills, from office management to client relations. CFOs handle all aspects of a company’s finances, including planning, budgeting, negotiating supplier prices, and ensuring a steady cash flow. They assess the company’s financial performance and develop policies to protect the stability of its finances.
CFOs typically start off with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or business. Most of them continue on to earn an MBA from prestigious universities, establish themselves in the accounting or finance industries, become CPAs, which increases their marketability, and take on leadership positions in industries to gain exposure and experience. Before being named chief financial officer, CFOs typically have positions as controllers or treasurers.
As of June 2022, the annual pay for a CFO is between $138,000 and $175,000, plus an added $25,000-$67,000 based on the company’s profit share, for a total salary between $163,003 and $240,000 annually.
Credentials for Corporate Finance Jobs
An undergraduate degree is required by most businesses to be able to work in finance. Your academic record must show your skill in math and numbers. It involves knowledge in accounting, business, applied mathematics, and economics.
In addition, internships prove to be an ace up a job hopeful’s sleeve. In order to find summer interns, most companies host lectures, workshops, or job fairs on campuses. They not only give networks and experience, but they usually help steer candidates to a position at the top of the company’s training program following graduation. Moreover, it’s helpful to have a certification that gives you the practical skills you need to move up the ladder as a top performer if you’re looking to transition from other fields.
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