The accounting industry is an evolving one. Recent years have seen finance and technology merge, yielding another branch of finance called fintech. But traditional finance and accounting jobs will always have an important place in the world. If you’re great with numbers or enjoy working with them, an accounting or finance job just might be the right career for you.
Accounting and Finance Job Descriptions
Accounting and finance are similar, but there are some differences. Accounting is typically the act of preparing comprehensive financial statements. In business, it involves extensive paperwork that helps manage a company’s cash flow, public reporting, and pay its taxes. To do so, the accountant must collect and maintain data.
Careers in finance are much broader in scope. A finance career might involve analyzing and evaluating the company’s financial statements to help make wise decisions about how to manage its finances. Some examples of a career in finance are a financial analyst, controller, financial advisor, among others.
The financial analyst evaluates a company’s financial information and estimates the organization’s future expenses and revenue, helping to guide the business to make sound financial decisions.
A controller prepares summarized reports and financial statements while forecasting the business’s future financial position and activities. The controller may develop policies and procedures regarding the business’s budget, accounting activities, and cash and credit management.
A financial advisor works with individual clients to help them understand their finances well enough to make wise investment decisions. The advisor also monitors their clients’ finances and investments to offer advice on a broad scope of financial decisions such as insurance, college savings accounts, taxes, estate planning, and retirement funds.
One advantage of choosing finance as a career is that you can work in just about any industry that interests you because nearly every organization and business hires financial professionals.
Accountant and Finance Careers Salaries & Job Growth
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the average salary for accountants as $35.37 per hour, or $73,560 a year. The accounting field is expected to grow at a rate of 7% through 2030.
The BLS points out that financial analysts earn slightly more than accountants at $40.22 per hour, or $83,660 annually. Financial analysts’ jobs are set to grow by 6% over the next nine years.
According to the BLS, controllers are also known as financial managers and fare much better financially than accountants and analysts. Controllers can potentially earn a median wage of $134,180 a year or $64.51 an hour. The field is also growing faster than most careers at a rate of 17% through 2030.
A career as a financial advisor is typically more subjective to personal performance, but the BLS shows that most advisors earn around $89,330 a year on average, or $42.95 an hour. The field is expected to grow slower than average at 5% through 2030.
- The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy says that Boston is the top city for working as an accountant. The corporate investment banking company, BNY Mellon, has numerous accounting jobs open in the Boston area.
- Teknor Apex offers accounting and finance jobs for individuals interested in financial and strategic planning, execution and analysis across a variety of sectors.
- With Wall Street sitting in its midst, New York is another top spot to find employment in finance. But trading-related careers isn’t the only sector looking for qualified finance professionals. Nearly any industry you can think of, from the medical profession to even plastics manufacturing companies like Formosa Plastics, has finance positions open and are ready to hire. Formosa Plastics has jobs open in Livingston, New Jersey, which is just an hour’s commute from NYC.
Training and Requirements
Accounting and professional finance jobs will almost always require a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, business, or related fields. Some positions may also require a master’s degree.
In addition, you may need credentials such as FINRA licensing for some job positions, which are typically sponsored by your employer. There may be other credentials required, depending on your state or employment.
Soft skills such as good organizational skills, accuracy with numbers and mathematical reasoning, attention to detail, strong oral and written communication, good problem-solving skills, and extensive clerical knowledge are also a must.