My personal career goals are to work in the Finance sector as an investment manager, and to take on increasing responsibility for assessing and taking risks needed for the growth and maintenance of capital and wealth. Ideally I would work for a larger multinational corporation. There are many roles that I would prefer not to take, although they are in this field. Internal audit is an area that does not appeal to me, for example. My preferred companies would be those that specialize in new business development and expansion, such as KPMG or PwC and similar management consultancy firms.
The video which was the most useful for me was with regard to the Director of Internal Audit at the DMV for the state of Indiana. It was useful because I had a narrow idea about the kind of work that one does with a Finance and Accounting degree. Listening to Adam discuss internal audit, which is very past oriented, made me realize that my ideal job profile is forward looking. While Adam seems to enjoy his job very much, I found the idea of doing work like this very stifling. By determining what I do not want to do, I was able to focus better on what I do want to do. I think that while I need to be open to many possibilities, including those that I have not thought of or heard of yet, knowing what is not appealing helps to determine those areas in which I can pursue more specific understanding of the roles and positions.
Two key takeaways from the videos were that it is important to choose the right setting and the right position, and to consider options broadly. While it can be tempting to take the first job that is offered, it is important to remember that work requires all day, five days a week. By working in an environment that does not fit with interests and personality, it is likely that work will not fulfilling, and pressures will be felt as stress rather than challenges to be overcome. The video regarding the manager and consultant for KPMG, Sara, was very interesting to me. It also led me to realize that there are many similar multinational companies, and these companies have a great outlook going into the future. Another video which was interesting was David Holt, a financial specialist with the Department of Defense. What was interesting about this role was how David was able to shape the system to reflect the needs of the end users, providing an innovative solution to payroll systems which also helped with knowledge transfer, and that this was accomplished through the reshaping of an accounting system.
I became interested in this field because I am interested in wealth acquisition, and the technical aspects of how this happens. When I was younger I realized that just like gardening grows flowers and produce, the finance sector grows wealth. Wealth is of major importance in our culture, and it is a key tool for ensuring the security and contentment of your family or the growth and innovation of a company. Additionally, the people who are skilled in this area do not just grow wealth for others, they have the skills to help themselves and their families both due to good pay and good strategies to invest savings. Entrepreneurship is also very exciting to me, but I am not focused on being the entrepreneur, but rather doing the financial analysis that helps to catalyze new and innovative businesses. I have observed as friends and people in my family have started businesses, and I can see that understanding the financial implications, including the potential revenues and the startup capital which is needed, are very important and take considerable planning. This is often not the part the entrepreneur wants to focus on, so it is important to have an engaged financial consultant to complete this part and keep projects on track in order to achieve success.
The potential advantages for a position of finance are respect, authority and financial rewards. There is also the personal fulfillment which can occur with a job well done which leads to the success of the client. Other advantages can be the benefits and stability of working for a large company. Not all financial managers and planners work for large companies, but it is my intention to do so, and such companies seem to have plenty of need for finance professionals.
The disadvantages are the need to pay careful attention to ethics and internal finance processes because fraud and other criminal activities can occur in this sector. Unlike many positions, tasks relating to finance and accounting have standard approaches and methods which must be followed. There are also many rules and regulations around how money is accounted for and reported. It is important to master the regulatory side of finance in order to ensure that no laws are broken, and that intervention by authorities does not slow down, delay or stop a business from achieving its goals. There is therefore a lot of pressure on finance professionals, and this can be a disadvantage.
There are many opportunities for career advancement when one begins a career in finance. Every company and sector has a need for a finance unit to take in and account for revenues while ensuring the integrity and accounting of expenditures. Professionals who are adept with financial management can often advance into executive positions, taking over more than just the revenue and expenditure aspects of an operation. Over time it is my hope that I grow into such a leadership position. The opportunities for career advancement are therefore considerable, because the skills that are developed as a finance professional are applicable in many realms.
A day to day role for someone in this field might include long days, as new projects often have time and other pressures. Based on the interview with Sara, a manager and consultant at KPMG, about half of the time is spent in meetings and consulting with other professionals involved in the work, the client and the stakeholders that the client is serving. Other tasks can include delegating and overseeing technical work and documents that support these communication processes, analysis for the development of options, and work to maintain the systems that allow the other work to be done.
The skills required include math, bookkeeping, knowledge of investment and finance, federal and state laws relating to financial reporting, skills in using technology, and social skills to consult with people regarding uncertain or erroneous information and for planning purposes. I think that about half of the skills relate to non-technical aspects, since if a finance professional cannot communicate effectively and coordinate work, the technical aspects will not result in the needed quality. Technological aspects are also very important including knowing what business intelligence and automate reporting can and cannot tell a person. Being able to do one’s own financial analysis using Excel and other software tools can help to make determinations about ways forward, as well as options that do not fulfill objectives.
My interest is in being at the start of something big and helping it to grow through financial planning and sound investments, rather than strictly accounting for compliance or other similar positions. Hearing first-hand from a variety of professionals was helpful to me in imagining what my future might look like, as well as planning for a fit into my ideal position.