Along with dedicated employees and a viable product or service, every business requires the expertise of someone trained in the nuances of finance.

Having the best product or service in the world won’t guarantee the success of a company if its finances are in shambles. Balancing the books, establishing and maintaining a budget, filing taxes, overseeing payroll and making recommendations on all financial decisions are important components to the overall health and financial well being of a business. Hiring someone with specialized knowledge in finances provides that layer of protection.

Those who work in financial careers enjoy researching and analyzing statistical data and performing both basic and complicated math formulations in order to complete their work.

There are several job classifications in the finance industry, including (but not limited to) financial analyst, financial advisor, accountant and treasurer.

Financial analysts spend the majority of their time analyzing the stock market and providing investment advice to clients based on the market’s performance. Financial advisors perform a similar task but differ in that they spend most of their time assisting with investments, taxes, mortgages, retirement savings or other financial decisions.

Accountants work the most number of hours during the annual tax season, running from January through April. During this time, they are tasked with preparing and filing taxes for individuals and businesses. In the off season, they spend time analyzing, planning and advising clients on personal or business financial decisions.

Treasurers provide financial goals and objectives to clients, and can offer advice and assistance on planning an annual budget. Issuing payment to persons or companies that have provided services to their clients also is a job duty assigned to most treasurers.

Education Requirements

There are a variety of degree options available for those seeking an education in finance. Most degree programs in finance are narrow in their focus, so candidates who wish to have a general understanding of business practices may also wish to take a few business courses to supplement their overall education.

An associate degree in finance will take two years to complete and will prepare students to work in entry-level positions within the industry.

Bachelor degree programs are the preferred education level for most employers who seek guidance from a financial professional. These four-year programs provide a comprehensive education in finance and focus on the areas of business finance, financial planning and investments and financial analysis.

Master degree programs and doctorate-level degrees are offered through a number of online and traditional programs. Master’s degrees allow candidates to hold management positions within the financial sector, while a doctorate degree can qualify its holder to teach finance at a collegiate level.

Licensing and certification also may be required in addition to a college degree in order to work in the field. Financial advisors who will be engaged in the process of buying or selling stocks, bonds or insurance will require licensure. Licensing requirements vary by state.

Future Outlook

Demand for those trained in finance is expected to grow by 32 percent over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth rate is nearly double that of other business and industry being tracked during the same time period.

The average annual salary for those working in the financial field is $64,000.

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