Is Finance for you?

By Nicholas Teitler

What is Finance? Finance is the management of money and includes activities like investing, borrowing, lending, budgeting, saving, etc. There are various amounts of professions involved in the finance field, such as being a Chief Financial Officer, Financial Analysts, Loan Officers, Personal Financial Advisors, and many more. Jobs in the finance field are continuing to grow at a steady rate and are projected to continue, with the number of financial analyst jobs expected to increase 12% by 2024. Because of all of the possible careers with a finance major, the unemployment rate is lowest among graduates with a degree in finance.

Entry Level Position

A common entry-level position for people with a degree in Finance is a Personal financial advisor. Personal financial advisors advise clients when it comes to managing their finances and plan for their future financially. A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a similar major would be helpful to get this position. It is a full-time job, and the median salary for it is $88,890 a year, or $42.73 per hour. However, the highest 10 percent in this profession have earned more than $208,000 a year. It seems like some good money can be made from an entry-level position as such. Strong analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and math skills are typically required for this profession.

Job Advertisements

Looking at a job advertisement is a great way to gain more information about the requirements of jobs within your career path. I found a job posting for a Finance Vice President for JP Morgan Chase & Co. The role of this position is to provide recommendations to senior sales managers, oversee a team, review generated reports, and report to the President or CEO of the company. The applicant must have good teamwork skills and leadership skills, as well as the skills mentioned in the personal financial advisor profession. Also, proficiency with Excel, PowerPoint, and Essbase is preferred for this position, but not required. Since this isn’t an entry-level position, 6+ years of experience in a profession in the finance field is required.

Interview

A more advanced career in the finance field is becoming a chief financial officer, or CFO. I interviewed David Teitler, the CFO of guideposts, to learn more about what being a CFO entails. Dave is responsible for the financials, operations, and technology of the company. He manages  an investment portfolio, a pension portfolio, annuity contracts, and trusts. He is involved in every major purchasing decision, including healthcare benefits, real estate (moving buildings, rent), and internal & external infrastructure. He also has direct responsibility for customer service, database management, business intelligence tools, and purchasing. Dave mentioned, “I didn’t become the CFO of guideposts until 15 years after finishing graduate school. Before being a CFO, I was the VP of Finance for Thomas Reuters, and the business manager of a smaller company before that.” Besides needing to have experience in finance before becoming a CFO, it has similar requirements to being a personal financial advisor and finance vice president, with addition to having Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint skills. CFOs possess a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, and most of them have a master’s degree in finance. The salary range of a CFO can range from anywhere between $250,000 to $700,000 a year.

After researching these 3 careers, I learned that achieving a CFO is possible as long as you gain experience in entry-level positions and build your way up to the highest position. I want to be a CFO in the future, but I know I will have to start at an entry-level position to gain this position.

Is there Writing involved in Finance?

Working in the finance field involves some writing, which is why companies typically require applicants to have written communication and excel skills. The most popular genre of writing involved in a finance profession is sending emails. Sending emails back and forth to both clients and employees is done daily. 70% of people from the Elon University Poll also said that emails are used on a weekly basis for writing after college for any kind of career path. Slack is also becoming very popular to send messages through. It is a messaging app that is used among many businesses due to its ability to form group conversations and private messages. PowerPoint presentations and writing notes on financial statements are also genres of writing that are popular in the finance field.

Are there Writing Challenges in Finance?

There are not that many writing challenges that the CFO of a company faces, but Dave did mention a few to help me gain a better understanding. His greatest writing challenges are adapting to his reader’s expectations and needs, and writing concisely and directly. When writing financial statements, the notes need to be very descriptive to the reader, especially if they’re a non-financial person. Dave has to be very careful and thoughtful in how he describes the financial reports to someone who may not be as familiar with the field as he is, relating to the Elon poll where 16% of people experienced this after college. Also, being the CFO of the company, he has to be very clear and concise in his writing when sending internal emails to employees to avoid intimidating them. This relates to the Elon poll where 12.8% of people found this to be a challenge after college.

What did we Learn?

Finance is a very popular field for people to go into since it has room for advancement within the career field. If you want to make a good amount of money and help people manage their money at the same time, you should consider going into finance. I found this research to be very valuable because I learned that there will be writing in any career path I choose to follow and will experience similar writing challenges as other people.

 

This post is part of a series on writing in the professions. Posts were written by students in Dr. Jessie L. Moore’s fall 2019 Writing: Argument & Inquiry class and include research from the June 2019 Center for Engaged Learning/Elon Poll survey of college graduates, age 18-34, High Impact Undergraduate Experiences and How They Matter Now.

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