Globalization, a complex economic environment, and ever-changing tax laws and regulations are expected to increase demand for those with a degree in finance. Over the next 10 years, more than 700,000 new finance jobs are expected to be added. Because no business or non-profit is exempt from the need to strategically leverage its capital, graduates can explore a variety of careers across many industry sectors when earning a finance degree. Ottawa University's online finance degree prepares students for several career paths in finance.
What Can You Do with a Finance Degree?
While there are myriad roles and job titles associated with finance, here are some of the most well-known and in-demand jobs.
Accountants prepare and work with a department’s or organization’s financial documents to ensure they are accurately and efficiently completed and that they are compliant with the latest laws and business practices. Accountants often advise upper management on important financial decisions. They can specialize in a specific area of the profession, such as auditing, information and technology accounting, managerial accounting, forensic accounting, or comptroller. Keep in mind that some accounting roles may require sitting for and passing the CPA exam.
Budget analysts use their critical thinking and analytical skills to advise organizations on the best strategies for meeting their financial goals, staying competitive in the market, minimizing financial loss, and achieving long-term growth. They create annual and special reports, evaluate budget proposals, and analyze data to identify the viability and profitability of expenditures, acquisitions, and new programs.
Loan or mortgage loan officers help clients research loans and traverse the complex application, approval, and closing process. They collect and prepare all materials needed to secure the loan, such as a client’s assets, salaries, debts, and employment status; verify the client’s financial information and credit history; review and verify applications for accuracy; and communicate with clients regarding timelines, outcomes, and selection of the best mortgage loan.
Cost estimators conduct required research and develop an estimate for how much money, time, materials, and labor it will take to complete a construction project, make a product, or provide a service. It is their role to provide accurate estimates so that jobs are completed on time and within budget.
Top Finance Management Jobs
What else can you do with a finance degree? Upon completion of your finance program, you will be qualified for these and several other finance management jobs. When considering how to get a job in finance, keep in mind some positions may require special certifications, licenses, or additional education.
Financial analysts help companies make informed investment and business decisions by analyzing current macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions, as well as the company’s current financial situation. The analyst helps them recommend financial actions, such as buying or selling a company’s stock, making an acquisition, or expanding into a new market.
Personal Financial Advisor
A personal financial advisor manages the financial assets of individuals whose worth is generally more than $5 million. These private wealth managers help their clients with such things as tax planning, setting up trust funds, and making stock investments.
A management analyst prepares operations and procedures manuals to help businesses function more efficiently and effectively. By conducting varied organizational studies and analyzing the results, they design systems and procedures and implement measures that improve the overall management and operations of a company. Management analysts may work for the organization itself, a consulting agency, or be self-employed.
Key Skills for Finance Majors
How to get a job in finance is not the only question you should be pondering. Whether you are starting an entry-level job or you’re ready to jump into management, there are also certain skills that the finance major will need for maximum success as a professional in the industry. The good news is that Ottawa University’s finance degree helps build many of these skills within their online programs.
Being able to take data and look at it from all angles to find patterns, problem areas, cost savings, opportunities, process improvements, and inaccuracies is imperative in finance.
Financial careers are data-driven, so it follows that the finance major must stay abreast of the latest technological advances, whether software, tools, or platforms that are relevant to the industry. This includes the technology needed for doing specialized financial reporting.
In addition to solving the immediate problem or task in front of them, those in finance should be observant, collect and analyze data, and review overarching information and systems that will lead them to offer holistic, data-driven, innovative solutions to an organization’s operational and financial challenges.
Few in finance simply sit behind a desk without interaction with others. Writing and presenting reports, interacting personably with peers and clients, persuading others to consider your idea, educating customers, asking good questions, and building relationships to grow the company (or your career) are all ways that honing your communication skills will pay off.
The world of finance is constantly changing, and different jobs require different qualifications. Your finance degree will open many doors, but don’t stop there. You will want to constantly be learning and improving your knowledge and skills to better serve your employer or clients. For example, the accountant may want to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam; to sell securities, financial advisors must pass and obtain the General Securities Representative license or become certified as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP); insurance agents may need to be licensed to sell life, health and other types of insurance.
Best Tips for Finance Students
Once you’ve determined to enroll in OU’s online finance program and begin the search for finance management jobs, there are some tips to keep in mind to ensure you reach your career goals.
- Identify the role you’re shooting for and what it will take to get there. Is it personal wealth management? Becoming a CPA? Investment banking? Financial director? Knowing where you want to end up in your career will help you map out the education requirements, mile markers, and timeline for accomplishing your goals.
- Internships provide valuable pre-career experience. Any first-hand exposure you can get to the field of finance will give you an edge when looking for your first job, so take advantage of as many internship opportunities as you can.
- Go beyond classroom learning. Don’t rely solely on your coursework for educating yourself on the world of finance. Be proactive to learn the industry lingo and acronyms; subscribe to business and financial publications; follow finance leaders on social media; research the successes and failures in the industry; read financial literature; stay abreast of what’s happening in global finance.
- Start earning credentials now. For example, you can study for and take the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam or the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam, which can be taken without sponsorship or association with a company, before graduation.
- Utilize any diversity advantages you qualify for. The financial industry has instigated an initiative to provide internships, entry-level training programs, and symposia specifically for women, ethnic minorities, and other protected classes (as identified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]), at the undergraduate or even high school level.
It’s Time to Invest in Your Finance Career
Crunching the numbers will show that an investment in your education today can yield high returns tomorrow, with up to 6-figure salary potential! Exercise your decisiveness and goal-oriented traits today by enrolling in OU’s online Bachelor of Science in Finance program. We’re here to help you get started!
Career Paths in the World of Finance
Lucrative Jobs in Finance
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