If you are good with number crunching and have a knack for making money, then a career in finance may be your calling. Careers in finance are exciting and very lucrative. It attracts young people who are hugely ambitious but who also have an aptitude for economics, accounting and the ability to quickly and intuitively grasp and process complex financial concepts and data.
Finance is all about managing money. Jobs in finance can be broadly broken down into three categories – financial management, financial services and financial technology.
Financial management is about how to most efficiently use organisational funds. Financial managers devise and implement strategies to increase profitability within an organisation.
The financial services industry, on the other hand, is all about managing investment accounts, raising capital for businesses and governments, offering investment advice and minimizing the risks of financial loss. Professionals in this sector deal with the debt market, capital market, futures and commodities, hedge funds, mergers & acquisitions, banking and insurance sectors and corporate finance.
Financial technology is the latest area of finance related careers where technology is used to create new financial products and services, track and account for financial transactions and build algorithms for various finance related purposes.
Careers in Finance
Some of the careers that you can opt for in Financial Management are:
A financial analyst gathers, crunches and analyses all sorts of financial data to help clients make the best possible investment decisions. An analyst also recommends action, such as buying or selling stocks, looks into a company’s financial health, helps in arriving at a valuation of a company for mergers & acquisitions and devises financial models to predict economic conditions. They also advise their clients on the financial status of their business, spot lucrative investment opportunities, draw up financial strategies and sometimes suggest a restructuring of the business towards a more profitable end.
Financial controllers keep the company’s financial planning, debt financing and budget management organized. They set financial rules, including choosing accounting methods and making sure that generally accepted accounting principles are followed. Controllers work for banks, corporations and governments. They motivate their teams from time to time and make sure they produce quality work within set time periods.
An auditor is a professional who is qualified to conduct audits of organizations. Audits are a form of checking and providing assurance to the management and outsiders that the financial statements of a business can be relied upon. A Chartered Accountant typically functions as an Auditor for a company. There are many different types of audits – two of them being Internal audits & Statutory audits. Internal auditors are part of the company and periodically verify the functioning of the organization. Statutory auditors are outside experts brought in to verify the financial statements and the financial health of companies.
Careers in Finance in the Financial Services Industry include –
Investment Banker :
An investment banker is an individual who works in a financial institution that is in the business of raising money for companies, governments and other entities, or who works in a large bank’s division that is involved with these activities. Investment bankers may also provide other services to their clients such as mergers and acquisition advice, or advice on specific transactions.
Related read: Learn about other Careers in Banking
Asset management is the business of using money to make more of it. As an Asset Manager, you will assess your client’s financial needs, wealth-generation potential, risk-and-return profile and future goals. You must be able to draw up short-term and long-term investment plans, understand asset allocation and distribute your clients’ wealth into suitable asset classes like mutual fund, hedge fund, retirement or pension fund, or other institutional fund and investment vehicles like equities, fixed-income securities, and derivative products such as options and futures.
As an insurance manager, your top priority is the sale of insurance policies. Though you play a supervisory role, which means you are responsible for your company’s branch office and discharge administrative, operational, consulting, mentoring and personnel related duties, as well as meeting the targets set for your branch, all these should eventually lead to the sale of insurance policies. It is also critical that a manager be very well-versed in insurance laws and regulations, to protect the company against ethical issues or lawsuits.
Related read: Learn about other Careers in Commerce
Financial Technology or Fin-tech as it is called involves careers in the field of technology as applied to finance. The roles here are new and evolving quickly depending on the technology being developed & used. The top careers in fin-tech include –
Most people think the term “blockchain” and “bitcoin” are the same. However, Bitcoin is just a use case of the blockchain technology. Blockchain is essentially a ledger of recorded financial transactions. This ledger is distributed, published, and stored in multiple locations. When a transaction occurs, it is added to each copy of the ledger. This helps ensure an accurate record of transactions. Some use cases of blockchain technology in the field of finance include Cross-Border transactions, trade finance platforms, supply chain management, Clearing & settlement, Digital identity verification and Credit reporting.
Quantitative analysts & data scientists :
The demand for quantitative analysts and data scientists is on the rise, especially in start-ups, investment banks and hedge funds due to the rise of Big Data, Machine Learning and Deep Learning. These professionals write and execute complex financial models that can sift through and make sense of vast amounts of digital information. They may also design data-driven trading programmes, develop innovative algorithms and automate financial processes. Automation, especially, is a game changer in the financial industry, eliminating human intervention in routine, mundane and repetitive tasks.
Governance, Compliance & Risk Managers :
Regulatory guidelines and rules have become a lot more complex as hackers and other fraudsters become more and more tech savvy over time. Governance, Compliance and Risk Managers work to simplify the process of compliance and monitoring using advanced tech tools. We are talking about everything from machine learning/ cognitive intelligence to super-fast algorithms that can monitor millions of transactions in real time and detect the signs of fraud in milli-seconds. Banks & Financial Institutions are spending vast amounts of money to make sure they comply with the regulatory requirements laid down by different countries & regulators.
The recommended education pathway for a career in finance:
- Plus Two Stream: Commerce with Math
- Graduation: B.Com or Economics (Hons.)
- Post Graduation: MBA (Finance)
Some jobs may require additional qualifications like CFA or equivalent. The certifications offered by NISM (National Institute of Securities Market) – the education wing of NSE – are very well recognised by the industry.
While the fin-tech industry preferred Computer science graduates until now, the preference towards candidates passing out of interdisciplinary courses like the ones offered by Plaksha University and Atria University is on the rise. With the NEP also emphasizing a well rounded education, we are likely to see more colleges introducing interdisciplinary courses.
If you want to know more about Finance Careers, talk to our Career Guidance Expert today.