Job Opportunities With Finance Course Education

A career in the field of finance can be challenging while at the same time very interesting and rewarding. There are many job options and opportunities for individuals who have taken and completed finance courses. In order to obtain a job in the financial industry, the minimal level of education required is a bachelor’s degree. Or, for those who are interested in a career in financial management, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is typically required.

Job and career opportunities for individuals with finance degrees from accredited schools or other finance courses of study encompass many fields. They range from personal financial planning, investment, and management to corporate and international financial management. Finance professionals work in commercial and investment banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, real estate companies, or independently in their own businesses. Some of the jobs they hold include financial or credit analyst, accountant and tax consultant, or financial planner.

The insurance and real estate industries also have a need for finance graduates. As our population ages, in addition to helping individuals and businesses select appropriate insurance policies, there will be an increased need for insurance professionals who can also help them manage their financial risks should catastrophic losses occur. Career opportunities for finance graduates in the real estate field include mortgage banking, real estate appraisal, title insurance, and real estate development. Individuals with finance degrees stand a better chance at obtaining a job in real estate than those with no finance background.

Additional career opportunities present themselves to finance professionals who have taken the additional course work and examinations to become certified. A finance certification is an additional credential that demonstrates the finance professional’s dedication to learning about new areas in the industry and adhering to a strict code of ethics.

A degree in finance prepares individuals to understand financial markets, their functions, and their applications. In addition, you will learn how to acquire and allocate funds in both the public and private sectors and in domestic and international environments. Financial information will be available for your use throughout your profession. These skills and tools equip finance graduates with what they need to embark on successful careers in finance.

Tax Consultant

Tax consultants, also known as tax preparers, are finance professionals who have received specific training to prepare and file tax forms and returns. Across the nation, individual and business taxpayers alike seek assistance from professional tax consultants in the preparation and filing of their annual income tax returns. A well-qualified tax preparer is knowledgeable in local, state, and federal tax regulations and puts that expertise to use during tax season each year to help clients obtain the maximum tax benefit to which they are entitled under the law. Tax consultants must determine the proper forms to use for filing income tax returns as well as all of the substantiating documentation clients should provide in support of their returns.

While tax consultants work in the accounting, finance, or insurance industries, many work for specialized tax preparation services or law firms. Other tax consultants work independently, perhaps from a home office where they put their tax preparation expertise to work only during the busy tax season, typically in addition to another job they perform during the rest of the year. Tax season runs from January to mid-April; during this time, tax preparers can expect to work extended hours, including evenings and weekends. While most work is performed in an office setting, oftentimes tax preparers travel to a client’s home or business to meet off-site.

The minimum education requirement for a tax consultant is a high school diploma or equivalent as well as training in income tax preparation. Many employers do, however, require their tax consultants to have some postsecondary training, for example, in a finance course. Prospective tax preparers should take courses in accounting, business math, and income tax law. They should also have good computer skills as most tax preparation work is now done online, including researching tax laws and filing returns. Tax consultants, whether independent or employed by a company, also need good communication skills in order to effectively discuss a client’s tax issues. Some states require tax consultants to be licensed and certified. Licensing entails a certain number of hours of qualifying, relevant education with continuing education classes required as well.

Job Opportunities With Finance Course Education

In general, there is no prior tax experience necessary to enroll in a tax preparation course. Classes can be offered in either a traditional classroom setting or online. A basic tax preparation course prepares the student in the fundamentals of tax preparation by covering topics such as: (1) taxpayer’s filing status and information; (2) exemptions, dependents, wages, and salaries; (3) interest and dividends, standard and itemized deductions; (4) earned income and child tax credits, child and dependent care expenses; (5) capital gains and basis of property; (6) Schedule E, business profit and loss, depreciation; and (7) adjustments for student loan interest, moving expenses, IRA deductions.

There are also intermediate and advanced tax courses available to students who have completed a basic-level course. Intermediate and advanced courses go into greater depth in their coverage of tax schedules and include other topics such as basic partnerships, foreign earned income exclusion, and basic S corporations. Because there are changes to the federal and state tax codes nearly every year, tax consultants must receive ongoing training and education to familiarize themselves with the new filing requirements so they can properly apply the new tax regulations as needed for their clients.

The average annual salary for tax consultants is approximately $36,000, with average hourly rates ranging from $17.00 to more than $30.00, depending on the level of skill and training of the tax consultant as well as the complexity of the tax return involved.

Accountant

An accountant is a finance professional who applies the principles of accounting in order to analyze the financial information of an individual or business. Using appropriate accounting controls and procedures, accountants compile information for preparing financial reports and also for preparing profit and loss statements. Accountants work in large corporations or for accounting firms, or they can work independently in their own businesses.

While accountants have many different job responsibilities, their primary ones include:

  1. documenting business transactions and compiling and analyzing financial information to prepare entries into general ledger accounts
  2. reviewing and analyzing budgets and expenses
  3. monitoring accounting systems
  4. preparing payroll and invoices
  5. resolving discrepancies
  6. interacting with auditors during audits.

Accountants must take more than one finance course in order to be fully prepared to perform their expected duties. Accountants must have knowledge of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and others such as budgeting and cost control. Accountants must understand state and federal financial regulations and be able to analyze financial data and prepare financial reports, including statements and projections. In addition, accountants must be able to work with financial and accounting software.

Qualified accountants, minimally, have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field such as business administration, although job opportunities may be improved for accountants who possess a master’s degree or who become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). In some cases, an individual with a two-year associate’s degree and accounting or bookkeeping experience may obtain a junior accounting position. These individuals can receive additional on-the-job training and advance to the position of full accountant.

CPAs are the only accountants who, by law, are permitted to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). CPAs obtain their licenses from the State Board of Accountancy. In order to become a CPA, the accountant must first pass a national examination and also meet all the other state requirements. Nearly every state requires CPA candidates to complete at least 150 semester hours of additional course work. Many schools now offer master’s degrees that include the requisite 150 hours of work. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) administers the four-part CPA examination, which due to its level of difficulty, is not passed by many students on their first attempts. Candidates do not need to pass all four parts at the same time, but most are able to successfully pass the entire examination within 18 months of when they passed the first part.

In general, public accountants and CPAs need to take a certain number of hours of continuing education in order to be able to maintain their licensure. There are many professional associations that offer courses, seminars, and other programs to assist accountants in meeting their continuing education requirements.

Aspiring accountants should do well in mathematics as they need to analyze and interpret facts and figures as part of the job. They should be detail-oriented and have good written and verbal communication skills in order to effectively communicate the results of their work to both managers and clients. Many accountants obtain certification to demonstrate competency and proficiency to the public and to their employers. Professional certifications are credentials that enhance an accountant’s résumé, opening the door to greater job opportunities and higher salaries. The median annual salary for accountants is approximately $56,000, although salaries vary depending on the accountant’s geographic area, education and skills, work experience, and if the employer is the government, a nonprofit agency, or a private firm.

Financial Institutions

Financial institutions are companies that offer people and businesses financial services and advice. Financial laws and regulations direct their business practices, which are generally governed by some regulating authority. The different types of financial institutions include: commercial banks, credit unions, insurance companies, finance companies, stock brokerage firms, asset management firms, savings and loan associations, and retailers. It can generally be said that these institutions have control over the flow of money within the United States economy.

The services a financial institution provides depend on its type. Commercial banks offer loans, mortgages, credit cards, and insurance.

Brokerage firms offer loans, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and check writing. Insurance companies offer insurance services, mortgages, loans, securities, and real estate services. Credit unions are similar to banks, but they are controlled and owned by the members who have accounts in it. Stock brokerage companies offer services for individuals and corporations to invest in the stock market. Working to meet the financial goals of investors, asset management firms manage securities and assets. Savings and loan associations specialize in mortgages and in the savings accounts of their members.

Individuals who have taken finance courses have many job opportunities available to them in the different financial institutions in corporate or international environments. Job titles include credit manager, cash manager, controller, treasurer or finance officer, manager of international banking, and risk and insurance manager. While the job responsibilities of the finance professionals who work in financial institutions vary according to their job titles, some general duties include identifying new clients and maintaining ongoing communication with existing clients, including top executives; working as part of a team to develop banking products that are both beneficial and essential to clients; working to minimize risk to both the client and the financial institution while ensuring steady and consistent results; and preparing and maintaining financial and legal documentation and adhering to bank standards.

Commercial banks provide financial solutions to enterprises and industries. They employ professionals with expertise in savings, lending, investing, and asset management. Managers at commercial banks have experience in commercial banking service delivery, while senior-level executives work in business development and relationship management.

Job opportunities in the insurance industry aim at helping both individuals and businesses protect themselves from loss by identifying and managing potential risk. These professionals educate clients on their insurance needs and help them select policies that will provide them with an appropriate level of coverage. Job options include those of underwriter, sales or customer service representative, and asset manager.

A career in a savings and loan association can range from a mortgage loan administrator to an asset liability analyst to a branch manager or chief credit officer. As with jobs in other financial institutions, these professionals manage customer inquiries and loan applications with the end objective of minimizing risk to the institution while providing satisfactory customer service—in this case for mortgages and loans to refinance an existing mortgage.

Individuals interested in working in a financial institution should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, economics, business administration, or finance. Many employers require prospective employees to possess a master’s degree so that they enter jobs having the necessary analytical skills and understanding financial analysis methodology. Many finance professionals also obtain professional certifications and licensures that enhance their qualifications and make them more employable. They must have a minimum number of years of relevant work experience, as well as pass examinations and take continuing education courses, in order to obtain and maintain a professional certification. Average annual salaries vary widely according to job title and location, and many include annual bonuses and stock options.

Investments

Many individuals rely on smart investing at a young age to produce a nest egg at retirement time that will let them live comfortably and in the manner to which they were accustomed during their working years. Not all of these individuals, however, have the skills and expertise required to ensure sufficient, steady growth of their money; many people rely on the guidance of an investment counselor to direct their investments in safe manners that produce growth while simultaneously minimizing risk. Investment consultants use their financial insights and investment skills and know-how to:

  1. Review a client’s personal financial data
  2. Help the client reach their short- and long-term financial and investment goals

Investments on a larger scale are typically handled by investment bankers who work with companies and governments to help their investors purchase and trade securities. Investment bankers also manage financial assets and provide financial advice. Entry-level investment bankers are called analysts, and those who are hired with master’s degrees in business administration are called associates. Investment bankers can work in different areas, for example, industry-focused investment banking, corporate finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, project or structured finance, trading, and more.

Investment counselors are responsible for meeting with their clients one-on-one upfront before they invest. These counselors work directly with their clients to understand their needs, their financial objectives, and their levels of risk tolerance. They understand, too, that a client’s financial objectives should change over the course of life and develop the investor’s portfolio in alignment with changing requirements. Using a client’s risk portfolio, investment counselors guide the client and make recommendations for investments in stocks, bonds, and U.S. Treasury notes.

Some of the specific job responsibilities investment counselors perform include: speaking with retirement plan participants regarding financial planning and investments, providing financial education relating to varying retirement plan topics, delivering financial workshops, explaining employer retirement plan requirements and IRS regulation as they relate to 401(k) transactions, interfacing with employer benefits customer service personnel, responding to client inquiries about their accounts, keeping account information updated, and recording transactions.

Most investment counselor jobs require a finance course with a bachelor’s degree in finance, investment analysis, or accounting. Those counselors who advise clients and families with high net worth, or who acts in managerial roles, typically have master’s degrees in finance or taxation. Designations such as Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor are indicators that an investment counselor has earned additional credentials through examinations, work experience, and continuing education.

Investment counselors should have good interpersonal skills in order to build rapport with potential and new clients and presentation skills to effectively portray investment information. They should also have good communication skills, as they will need to ask relevant questions in order to assess customer needs and successfully educate clients (both in person and on the phone) about complex retirement plans and investment options. In addition, they will need to have active listening skills to accurately comprehend their clients’ needs. An investment consultant generally works a standard 9-to-5 workday; however, their work schedules can vary depending on the needs of their clients.

The salary of a personal investment counselor is influenced by several factors, such as the size and location of the company where the counselor works and the counselor’s levels of education and experience. Job performance and seniority can also impact an investment counselor’s earnings. The average annual salary for investment counselors is approximately $74,000. Earnings potential grows as the counselor advances into roles of increasing responsibility.

Auditing

Accountants who perform auditing functions are known as auditors. The primary job of an auditor is to verify the financial records of a corporation, nonprofit organization, or local government. Auditors can be internal or external and include areas such as revenue auditing, staff auditing, and bank auditing, among others. External auditors generally work for consulting or Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms, while internal auditors work for the company that employs them directly. There are several differences in the job duties of internal and external auditors.

In general, external auditors examine a company’s financial statements to ensure their financial reporting process is clear and unambiguous. External auditors also review retirement funds, 401K savings plans, and nonprofit and municipal government financial records. External auditors must coordinate and request all the financial records and documents of the company it is auditing, reviewing what is received for accuracy. The auditor drafts a list of those company employees who need to be interviewed at some point during the audit process. These auditors typically examine a company’s accounts receivable files and account reconciliation records. External auditors conduct their audits in accordance with the Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), complying with GAAS and GAAP guidelines. At the conclusion of the audit period, the auditor provides the company with a report outlining its findings.

Internal auditors assess the financial health of the company that employs them, ensuring the effectiveness of the financial controls that are in place and that they align with company policy, industry standards, and guiding regulatory principles. Controls are put in place to help the company avoid operational losses resulting from error, theft, or breakdowns in technology used by the company. Internal audits comply with GAAS when testing or reviewing controls. These auditors also ensure the company keeps accurate public records and pays its taxes properly as they come due. In general, auditors look to ensure the client is not experiencing any fraud or mismanagement in its finances.

Auditors should have at least bachelor’s degrees in accounting or other finance field, although some have master’s degrees in accounting or business administration. Other valuable skills and qualifications for auditors are computer skills, an aptitude for mathematics, and an ability to interpret audit findings such as facts and figures. Auditors should have good interpersonal and communication skills, as they will need to work closely with people in the companies or departments that are being audited and to explain audit requests and results so that there is no misunderstanding. Like accountants, auditors should adhere to high standards of integrity.

In order for an auditor to be able to file a financial report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the auditor must be a CPA and have state licensure. Auditors can also receive a designation of Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), which is conferred by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). To obtain this certification, the auditor must have graduated from an accredited college or university, have worked for at least two years as an internal auditor, and also have passed an examination. The IIA offers three additional certifications: (1) Certified in Control Self-Assessment, (2) Certified Government Auditing Professional, and (3) Certified Financial Services Auditor. The average annual salary for an auditor is approximately $60,000, although the auditor’s level of education and location of the job are factors in determining the rate of pay. There are professional associations auditors can join that provide continuing education courses and seminars.

Personal Finance

Personal financial advisors use their finance course education to provide advice to clients regarding their financial plans. Individuals and groups rely on these financial professionals to put their knowledge of tax and investment strategies, pension plans, securities, insurance, and real estate to work. In general, personal financial advisors assess client assets and liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and overall financial objectives in order to establish appropriate investment strategies.

These finance professionals work with clients by gathering information from them, analyzing the data, and making recommendations, usually offering a wide range of options based on both short- and long-term goals. The advice given by a personal finance advisor can range from retirement and risk management to estate planning or funding a college education to reviewing general options for investing. In addition to the client’s financial goals, an advisor’s recommendation takes into consideration two other factors regarding the client:

  1. Concerns and attitudes toward risk and
  2. The need or expectation for a certain level of return on investment.

Meetings between personal financial advisors and their established clients usually occur annually. The advisor uses the opportunity to update a client on the status of the financial portfolio and update him or her on potential new investments. Together, they discuss any life changes that may have occurred over the previous year that could impact the client’s financial goals and strategies; for example, did the client get married or divorced? Did the client retire? Oftentimes, personal financial advisors review benefits plans with clients and discuss the impact of a job or career change on the part of the client to financial objectives. Personal financial advisors can only be successful if they are fully informed of their clients’ lives and work situations in order to properly and appropriately educate them on different financial scenarios and risks; these advisors need to set realistic expectations with their clients.

When the financial advisor does well with one customer, that customer is more inclined to make referrals to others and send the advisor new clients. Referrals from satisfied customers generate a good source of new business for an advisor. Another way advisors are able to bring in new clients is by holding seminars, lectures, or evening classes on general financial topics of interest that new contacts are likely to attend.

Individuals who aspire to become a personal financial advisor should minimally obtain a bachelor’s degree in a relevant area, such as finance, economics, accounting, mathematics, or business. Courses in taxes, estate planning, investments, and risk management are also important areas of study. Other qualifications employers look for include problem-solving and communication skills, as well as computer know-how. Many financial advisors work in firms, although some work independently, but they must work harder to initially build a client base. Some personal financial advisors obtain the professional certification of Chartered Financial Consultant. This enhances their professional standing, making them more employable. To earn a certification, in addition to having a bachelor’s degree, the individual must have at least three years of work experience in a related field, pass several examinations, and complete continuing education courses.

A personal financial advisor who works for a financial services company typically earns a salary plus a bonus. The annual salary of a personal financial advisor can range from approximately $44,000 to over $119,000, excluding bonuses. These advisors can earn money by charging their clients a percentage of the assets that are under management or by earning commissions on the financial products they sell.


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