From Graduate to CFO - How to Build a Career in Finance & Accounting
Twenty years in recruitment – our best practice recruiting advice, tips and trends to help you get ahead in your career. This week “from Graduate to CFO”.
Finance, tax services, auditing and compliance professionals are some of the most business-critical roles. CFOs sit alongside CEOs at decision making level; they drive operational demand, control corporate structure, command the flow of money, investments, savings, and pension pots; and are instrumental in recruitment, payroll and fiduciary diligence.
Across multiple industries, those professionals who have chosen to take on the mantle and responsibility of monetary control must be educated to a certain level and cognisant of contemporary business and financial issues.
Graduating as an accountant or becoming a financial analyst presents a great opportunity in the world of finance, accountancy, and tax: from becoming a treasurer in the public domain to a CFO in private finance, to fund management and trading analysis at one of the Big 4.
Your professional entry into the world of accountancy begins with a Chartered Accountancy qualification – that is passing the 3-year course and exams. More information on choosing the right UK-based accounting qualification is available here and in our step-by-step guide to accounting here.
Your first job as an ACA/ACCA qualified accountant
Although you will have made some connections whilst on your training agreement, your first accountancy role will more than likely be at a firm in one of the following positions:
- Forensic Accounting,
- Corporate Finance,
- Audit and Assurance,
You could also start in the profession by building a career as a financial analyst: these work very closely with business leaders managing financial risk, economic conditions and financial alignment with a company’s mission.
What next for your career?
The plethora of opportunities that will become available once you’re an established accountant or financial analyst include the following positions:
- External Auditor,
- Business Analyst,
- Business Development Manager,
- Licenced Surveyor,
- Mortgage Advisor,
- Retail Banker,
- Tax Advisor,
- Procurement Manager.
What senior roles are there in the world of finance and accounting?
Those who make the jump to CFO, Finance Lawyer, Finance Manager, Procurement Manager in the public or private sphere will command a competitive salary and will undoubtedly be working for a major investment vehicle, public fund, one of the Big 4 or a major retail or investment vehicle.
What characteristics do you need to become a CFO?
Above all else you must be logically minded and possess an incredible attention to detail. You will be a collaborator and leader, and a strategically-minded executive, able to step into a boardroom or onto the shop floor with authority. You will have to have an-in depth understanding of budgeting, analysis, compliance, financial law, and be able to make shrewd judgements. You should also be market-led, able to competitively analyse market trends and make critical-business decisions alongside your CEO or COO.
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