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Want a career in finance? Here's how to get started

02 April 2017 Candidate Blogs

Are you the ultimate number cruncher -the king of the spreadsheet? Want a career where money isn’t just the reward but the focus?

If you’re often the one left deconstructing the bill after dinner, have a sharp eye for detail and a mathematical mind then working in finance could be the perfect career for you. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Here are some careers to consider in the finance industry and some of our top tips to help you get ahead:

Finance assistant

What they do
Support the finance team by taking responsibility for numerous administrative duties. This includes managing purchase ledgers, keeping an eye on financial policies, setting up direct debits and standing orders to make sure the department runs smoothly.

What you need 
An organised and methodical approach to your work is essential, as is a strong aptitude for numbers. You won’t need previous experience for many entry-level roles, but being able to use excel would be preferential.

Earning potential
Starting salary will be around the £16,000 mark, rising to around £20,000 and above with additional experience. 

Perfect for
People who like to keep everything organised.


What they do
Manage organisations’ accounts, ensuring their financial position is constantly updated and reported on. Oversee all incoming & outgoing costs of the company ensuring these are in line with the company budget as well as providing reports on improvement.

What you need
Numerical ability is a must, not to mention a passion for arithmetic and rigorous attention to detail. Qualifications are preferred but not always essential although a familiarity with financial accounting customs is favoured for most entry level positions.

Earning potential 
Entry-level salaries start at around £22,000 rising to £30,000+ with the right level of experience and qualifications.  

Perfect for
People who like deconstructing analysis.



What they do
Support the finance department by reviewing risk, identifying opportunities and keeping up to date with any legislative changes ensuring the organisation is fully compliant with industry best practice.

What you need 
Excellent industry awareness and a duty of care to provide the business with the best possible advice.

Earning potential 
Initial salary may start at around the £22,000 mark, but successful auditors can be paid up to £40,000+

Perfect for
People who are great with advice.  


Finance manager

What they do 
Leading the finance department in the direction of the business objectives, ensuring team duties are delegated efficiently, working with the team to provide a strategic vision for the future. Control over analysis, reviews and forecasts of the business strategy.

What you need 
Excellent analytical skills, confidence and the ability to make decisions under pressure. Leadership will also be of paramount importance to your team. A degree is preferred, but experience in a similar financial capacity could work in some cases.

Earning potential 
Anything between £40 – £50,000 is typical for a finance manager depending on the size of the company.

Top tips

  1. Set your Goals
    The first step is the hardest step. Visualise the job you want. If the end goal is a stretch too far at this point, break it down into realistic and achievable steps.
  2. Know your abilities
    It’s time to look in the mirror and get to grips with your own strengths and weaknesses. Be brutally honest, know where you are in relation to your goal, but don’t let this put you off. You’re on a journey and that journey may take you onto some ‘B’ roads before you hit the motorway.
  3. Get a Personal Development Plan
    Craft a Personal Development Plan and decide what actions you need to take to reach your goals. Be specific, make your actions measurable and write a date in which you are going to hit the mile-stones and stick to them!
  4. Take advantage of the many opportunities 
    Maximise the in-house training that working in the finance sector offers. Talk to your line-manager about doing external courses or gain additional experience by shadowing others. If you’re working with suppliers they often offer free events to join that will add to your knowledge base. Take advantage of any free learning that is going on offer.
  5. Talk to someone who is where you want to be
    Find someone doing what you want to do. Now that you have a role model ask yourself what is it about them that has made them successful. Maybe sit and have a coffee with them and talk about their career journey. Find out their secrets-of-success. You will find that people are often more than happy to talk about themselves and offer this key information quite freely.
  6. Connect with others
    Build connections with people who can help you. Join communities and professional networks – these may be specific functional groups or skill specific associations. Build a LinkedIn profile. Be relevant to their conversations and be prepared to hold your own opinions. It’s important to share your passion but stay on piste and develop an antenna to tamper down when necessary.
  7. Be prepared for change
    Change is constant – get on board or get left behind. Keep your eyes-open to new deployments in your sector and do not be afraid to offer your services and get stuck in to any new project.
  8. Brush-up on your knowledge
    Keep abreast of your profession, read sector related magazines and journals attend events and talk to people in commerce to get a fresh and up-to-date perspective.
  9. Adopt a commercial mind-set
    Providing value-for-money in the finance is not good enough. The whole sector wants to see a measurable cost benefit and accountability for service delivery. Demonstrate that you can not only achieve targets but know how you can make these relevant to your audience.
  10. Finally...
    Passion and ambition is infectious. Your drive and energy will elevate you to stand out in the crowd. Be generous with your ideas and treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.

Morgan Hunt is a leading finance recruiter with a wealth of finance & accounting recruitment experience. We appreciate the essential function of finance and the importance of finding the right finance & accounting professionals – not only in terms of skills and experience, but also in terms of cultural fit and long-term development. 

Contact us or call the team on 0207 419 8900 to find out more.


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