Financial services tend to be lumped together with banking and accountancy as all these areas deal with money. There is some overlap, however, there are differences that are very important to understand if you are going to pursue a career in any of these sectors.
Accountants will generally deal with the internal financial operations of company while bankers are concerned with the operational management of financial accounts and facilitating inter-company financial dealings. Finance careers are more concerned with the big picture, often working as consultants for large firms, brought on by various companies to provide advice and assess risk. Many large companies will also have in house finance teams and offer graduate programmes in the field.
Actuarial Services: actuaries are business professionals who assess risk in areas such as insurance and pensions. It is there job to ensure that the policies being written are appropriate and the company will be able to pay out if necessary. To become an actuary you will have to train towards your professional qualifications while working - often you will have study days for this. It usually takes 4-6 years to qualify, although you may be granted some exemptions due to modules you have taken during your degree.
Internal Finance: if you apply to a place on a Finance Graduate Programme, chances are you will do several rotations through departments such as:
- Commercial finance – delivers against financial and operational targets
- Audit – a team of qualified accountants will carry out the audit but there are many other members of the team employed to ensure important lessons are learned from the process and analyse the results.
- Tax – working in tax it will be your job to ensure the company is paying the correct amount and finding exemptions that could save the company money.
- Control – analyses and reports on financial status
Whichever area you decide to focus on, you will play a vital role in the structure and growth of the organisation.
What are employers looking for?
For the most part, employers will be looking for people who have completed STEM or business degrees to a high level. They may also require you to supply your A level and even GCSE results, but don’t be scared off!
Key Skills: Problem solving, numeracy, teamwork, organisation/time management