With a degree in finance, you have a strong understanding of budgeting, forecasting, risk management, financial reporting, investment evaluation, tax laws, financial analysis, and more. Those who have completed a finance degree program like the one at Berry College also have in-depth knowledge of corporate finance. These skills have prepared you to be a valuable asset in the finance industry.
Whether you want to help individuals prepare for the future or help college students make wise financial decisions, your finance degree can help.
1. Financial Analyst
As a financial analyst, you can help individuals or businesses increase their wealth. In this role, you’ll explore your client’s current and past financial statements to gauge their net worth. This also allows you and your client to better understand their financial health, spending habits and potential for profitability.
In this role, you’ll examine past and present economic conditions for a specific geographic area or industry to create financial forecasts. You’ll work with your client to determine their risk tolerance, then form investment strategies based on predicted conditions and the client’s comfort with risk.
Financial analysts can work in more specialized roles based on their interests. Some titles they can hold include:
- Financial risk specialists. These analysts primarily focus on gauging potential threats to the financial health of a business. In this role, you’ll suggest and implement contingency plans to minimize financial risks in case of an emergency as well as examine market trends.
- Fund managers. These analysts are experts in mutual funds, trust funds, pension funds, or hedge funds. In this position, you’ll oversee investment portfolios, research stock or bond options, and make investment decisions.
- Investment analysts. These analysts study financial statements, economic trends, industry trends, and market data to identify investment opportunities. As an investment analyst, you’ll focus primarily on providing recommendations and insights that support proposed investment strategies.
- Portfolio managers. These analysts oversee and manage investment portfolios for individuals or businesses. In this role, you’ll help your clients maximize their returns, reach a desired savings goal, safely allocate assets, and more.
2. Personal Financial Advisor
As a personal finance advisor, you’ll help individuals manage their personal finances to ensure they can prepare for their long- and short-term goals. These goals may include helping clients:
- Build a college fund
- Prepare for retirement
- Increase their wealth through investments
- File tax returns and more
In this role, you’ll educate clients on their investment options and their associated risks. Each investment recommendation should align with the client’s current goals and comfort with risk. These goals can change based on major life events in your client’s life such as earning a higher-paying promotion, getting married, or having a child.
You’ll monitor the performance of your client’s account and make recommendations to improve this performance. Depending on your specialty, you may also help your clients complete their tax returns and sell insurance policies.
3. Budget Analysts
As a budget analyst, you can oversee financial planning for public and private organizations. You’ll primarily focus on developing, managing, and allocating an organization’s finances. You’ll analyze the costs and benefits of various programs, and then propose budget recommendations based on your findings.
If a proposed plan is rejected or needs to be improved, you’ll be responsible for finding viable alternatives. You’ll work with program and project managers to closely monitor spending and make adjustments as necessary. These adjustments could entail cutting back on spending or redistributing funds.
You’ll also be expected to prepare thorough reports to provide comprehensive overviews of the organization’s financial health. This allows you to keep program managers updated on the status of their funds, analyze existing financial processes, and propose improvements as needed. You’ll share your findings and recommendations to help your clients make informed decisions to improve the organization’s financial success.
4 & 5. Accountants or Auditors
As an accountant, you’ll be responsible for preparing and examining financial records. This includes preparing and filing tax forms as well as tracking daily expenses. You’ll be responsible for preparing balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements.
Accountants can work as:
- Government accountants. These accountants are employed by federal, state, and local governments. They oversee public funds and ensure compliance with funding policies and laws.
- Management accountants. These accountants can work for public companies, private businesses, and government agencies. They manage a company’s investments, minimize risk, make future projects, and explain the rationale behind their proposed budget.
As an auditor, you’ll be responsible for checking the accuracy of the organization’s financial records and internal control systems. You’ll examine the efficacy of the company’s current financial practices and identify ways to streamline the current process. They aim to improve current practices for fraud prevention and detection to minimize financial risk to their client.
Auditors can work as:
- External Auditors. These auditors are independent of their clients, which allows them to provide their clients with impartial evaluations.
- Internal Auditors. These auditors work for their clients as employees.
6. Financial Aid Advisors
As a financial aid advisor, you’ll help students in higher education explore and select funding options to cover their education. You can guide students through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, and explain the different funding options and their eligibility status. This allows students to make sound decisions regarding their financial aid packages and loan options.
In this role, you’ll closely monitor federal, state, and institutional regulations and policies to ensure loan programs being offered to students are compliant. Additionally, you’ll monitor a student’s academic process to determine their eligibility for additional scholarship options. You’ll also serve as a liaison for students aiming to appeal their financial aid awards.
Having a degree in finance prepares you for a variety of career opportunities. Combining your technical skills with softer skills prepares you to help individuals reach their savings goals or help businesses improve their current practices. By understanding market trends, risk management techniques, and current regulations, you’ll develop solutions that help your clients achieve their financial goals. With continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies, you can establish yourself as a valuable asset in this ever-evolving field.