8 Financial Career Options (Plus Top Jobs and Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 November 2022

Published 23 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Pursuing a career in finance can be a great way to find a stable job that offers competitive pay. This is because most careers in finance are typically in high demand and offer generous compensation due to the skilled nature of the work they perform. If you have excellent interpersonal skills, attention to detail, and strong abilities in mathematics, a career in finance might be ideal for you. In this article, we consider what a career in finance can involve and explore a list of eight financial career options that you can pursue.

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What is a career in finance?

A career in finance typically involves working with money and helping people manage their financial decisions and behaviour. Finance careers can also offer many opportunities to engage in customer service, as most finance jobs require professionals to meet with clients and discuss their financial goals. Many finance careers have job duties like preparing financial documents, analysing financial data, and making recommendations to clients about financial decisions, like investments or large-scale business transactions. There are three categories that finance careers usually fall under, which are public, corporate, and personal finance. Here's some information about the three categories of careers in finance:

  • Public finance: This refers to overseeing the revenue, expenditures, and debt a country or government experiences and handles through government institutions.

  • Corporate finance: Corporate finance involves helping corporations with their financial activities, like securing funding, making investments, and structuring capital.

  • Personal finance: Professionals in personal finance help individual clients with saving, budgeting, and expenditure and assist with tasks like filing taxes.

8 financial career options

Here are eight financial career options you can pursue in the finance industry:

1. Financial planning

Financial planning refers to the area of the finance industry that focuses on helping clients achieve financial stability. Professionals who work in financial planning often have responsibilities like meeting with clients to discuss their financial behaviour, creating plans that can help their clients budget and save money, and finding potential investment opportunities that can be profitable for their clients. Some careers in financial planning might focus on a particular area of finances, such as preparing tax reports and submitting taxes during tax season.

Local companies or firms offer jobs in financial planning and there are typically a few options for work in this area.

Related: Q&A: What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

2. Insurance

Insurance is a sector of the finance industry that provides ways for clients to prepare for potential risks by paying for coverage of certain circumstances. There are many types of insurance that an insurance company can offer, such as automobile insurance, health insurance, and pet insurance. Professionals in insurance careers can have responsibilities like selling insurance policies to businesses and individual customers, evaluating risks for candidates who apply for insurance coverage, and processing claims by giving reimbursements to customers who pay for services that an insurance policy covers.

Because there are several types of insurance, resulting in a high volume of insurance companies, most professionals in the insurance industry work at large insurance companies that offer wide arrays of policies.

Related: How To Become an Insurance Agent

3. Public accounting

Public accounting is one of the largest sectors of finance and primarily exists to help clients organise and maintain their finances. Because accounting professionals can be beneficial to so many types of clients and businesses, there's typically a high volume of job opportunities available for finance professionals who want to work in public accounting. For example, you can find careers in public accounting that involve preparing documents for tax season like income tax returns, auditing financial records, and offering general advice about how to manage finances.

The most common place for professionals in public accounting to work is in a partnership, but you can also find public accounting careers in smaller accounting firms.

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  • How to Become a Bookkeeper (With Role, Duties and Salary)

4. Commercial banking

Commercial banking careers usually involve working for a financial institution and offering financial services to individual customers in a community. There are many options for jobs in commercial banking, as banks can provide a wide array of financial services to their customers, such as opening current and savings accounts, conducting cash deposits and withdrawals, and processing applications for lines of credit. While many jobs in commercial banking involve working in banks or other financial institutions, there can also be opportunities for employment in commercial banking at a bank's corporate headquarters or as an executive.

Although you can find jobs in commercial banking at large national corporations, there are countless opportunities at smaller institutions, like private or local banks.

5. Investment banking

Investment banking is an area of financial management that helps facilitate investments between companies and shareholders. For example, many careers in investment banking have responsibilities like issuing new corporate securities, processing the purchase of shares by new shareholders, and meeting with executives at businesses to provide them with recommendations for new investment opportunities. The main goal of a professional in investment banking is usually to find investment opportunities that can benefit both the company and the shareholder in each transaction. Investment banking careers can take place at corporations, the stock market, and firms dedicated specifically to investment banking.

Related: 8 Wealth Management Specialist Certification Options to Explore

6. Corporate finance

Corporate finance refers to the area of the finance industry that focuses on managing capital for a particular company in order to maintain its operations. Many careers in corporate finance involve having responsibilities like organising a strategy for improving a company's financial behaviour, performing forecasts to predict potential profits and losses, and preparing documents that report on a company's financial standing, like financial statements or balance sheets. Some corporate finance jobs also help with large-scale business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions.

Because corporate finance careers typically exist to serve a particular company or business, you can often pursue a career in corporate finance with almost any company that hires professionals to help with its finances.

Related: What Is a Financial Controller? And How To Be One

7. Private equity and venture capital

Careers in private equity and venture capital can have very similar responsibilities, as both areas of finance exist to help businesses secure funding. For professionals who work in private equity, much of their jobs typically involve helping established companies find capital that they can use to fund their operations or expand their business into new markets. These professionals usually find jobs as interim executives at a particular company, where they can use their expertise to focus on helping only their employer.

In contrast, careers in venture capital often focus on evaluating pitches that aim to secure funding for startup companies or small companies that intend to experience rapid growth. Because of this, venture capitalists typically work for large firms that invest in other businesses to promote growth and increase the number of competitors in a given market. When negotiating deals, venture capitalists often prioritise the needs and goals of shareholders in their employer's company rather than the companies they might provide funding for.

8. Hedge funds

A hedge fund is a private investment fund that companies can use to purchase and sell assets. Because the investors and managers in charge of hedge funds typically maintain complete control over them, hedge funds are often unregulated, which allows organisations to decide how to use them to best benefit their businesses freely. Hedge funds can operate by using leverage in the domestic market as well as international markets, which can create numerous jobs for hedge fund managers.

When working for a hedge fund, you might have job duties like raising capital for investments and reviewing investment data to ensure a company remains profitable.

Best jobs in finance

While most jobs in finance offer highly competitive employment opportunities, there are some career paths that can be exceptionally beneficial by providing excellent job security and generous pay. Here are a few finance jobs that can offer stable job security and high salaries:

  • Financial consultant: $63,921 per year

  • Budget analyst: $64,785 per year

  • Financial analyst: $68,314 per year

  • Certified public accountant (CPA): $69,472 per year

  • Financial advisor: $70,249 per year

  • Risk analyst: $76,368 per year

  • Compliance officer: $84,588 per year

  • Finance manager: $85,494 per year

  • Financial risk manager: $87,924 per year

  • Hedge fund analyst: $94,188 per year

  • Actuary: $95,945 per year

  • Investment banker: $101,229 per year

  • Economist: $101,301 per year

  • Quantitative analyst: $113,678 per year

  • Trader: $118,975 per year

  • Portfolio manager: $150,485 per year

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing.

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