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Finance and Accounting Careers

Accounting or financial managers are the people responsible for overseeing and maintaining the financial strategy and history of a company. The accounting manager is focused more on financial reporting, while the financial manager is focused on strategy and money management. Finance has been one of the more popular choices for MBA focus or concentration. A finance MBA can offer numerous possibilities and can be an effective tool to help with promotions in the professions discussed below. Most prospective jobs for finance MBAs fall within investment banks, corporations, and securities firms. Many finance MBA graduates also follow careers in the consulting industry.

Financial Managers or Financial Analysts

Financial analysts and managers use historical (accounting) data in their decision making, however the number one role of the financial manager is to oversee the production of financial analysis and reports to help the company with decision making, business development, strategic planning, and alliance management. Through the use of these reports, the financial analyst helps to shape the company’s investment and business growth. Cash management strategies developed and implemented by the financial analyst help the company to grow efficiently and allow for maximum profitability in its investments. Financial analysts and mangers play an important part in mergers and global financing and expansion. Highly specialized knowledge in these areas is an important asset to the financial manager and his or her employer to maximize potential profit and reduce risk. Many companies utilize globally active consulting firms exclusively for these purposes.

Accounting Managers

Accounting managers working in a corporate setting perform responsibilities relating to tax reporting and management, and creating income statements inside of controller and audit groups. This career path may bring one to the positions of corporate treasurer, corporate controller, or CFO (chief finance officer). Professional accountants working for a public accounting company will perform functions similar to those performed by independent audit or tax consultants. An educational history or background based in accounting, either as a Masters degree or as a finance MBA, will give you some of the coursework you need to have in order to take the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam.

Corporate Controllers

A controller is someone who is in charge of preparing a company’s financial reports to forecast and sum-up the company’s financial situation. The statements a controller would get together consist of balance sheets, income statements, earnings analyses, and expense analyses. Regulatory agencies may also require special reports from companies. Controllers prepare these reports. In addition, a controller will frequently be over the budget, auditing, and accounting departments of a company.

Chief Financial Officers

The top financial executive of an organization is the CFO. The CFO supervises all accounting and financial operations, as well as administering the company’s general financial policies and strategies. While the CFO in a small company will often be responsible for all of the financial management duties, a CFO in a large company may delegate some or all of the responsibilities to other managers or vice presidents within the company.

Treasurers and Finance Officers

Finance officers other than the CFO and treasurers oversee and guide a company’s financial objectives and budgets. The financial officer may formulate and implement strategies to raise capital, oversee cash management, or manage the company’s capital investment activity. Financial officers also play a significant role in a company’s merger and/or acquisition activities. The treasurer, while he or she may share some of the financial officer’s duties, will usually have some banking experience.

Cash Managers

The Cash Manager is responsible for overseeing and controlling cash flow, both accounts receivable and accounts payable. He or she is also responsible for ensuring that the cash position of the company is sufficient to meet current and forecasted needs, or whether adjustments in investment quantity and type are necessary.

Risk and Insurance Managers

Business operation and transactions involve a certain amount of risk. Risk managers and insurance managers work to minimize the amount of loss a company incurs and the amount of risk it is exposed to.

Management Consultants

Management consultants work to help companies with a wide variety of problems and issues. Everything from profitability improvement to corporate restructuring to financial strategy. The MBA going into this field should have either an expert understanding of a wide base of knowledge, or be highly skilled in two or more sub groups. The management consultant will also help companies with cash management and emerging market analysis.

Investment Bankers

An investment banker will work together with corporations needing capital to grow and institutions or investors who have money available to invest. An MBA is an enormous asset in this field as the investment banker will be giving investment advice to his or her clients regarding raising capital. Most investment banks have a corporate finance division that assists clients in structuring financial instruments such as stocks or bonds to raise capital.

Investment Banking Associates

People graduating with an MBA in finance often begin their career as an associate with an investment bank firm or investment firm. This is usually at least one level above the entry-level position as an analyst typically obtained by persons with only an undergraduate degree. Most analysts end up pursuing an MBA degree after a couple of years in the industry in order to obtain promotions. Many people in the corporate finance side of investment banking will obtain a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation as a supplement to their MBA. The Association for Investment Management Research (AIMR) is the governing body for the CFA exam and designation.

The mergers and acquisitions departments of investment banks provide consulting services to companies in the process of merging or acquiring other companies or organizations. Organizations wishing to acquire, dispose of, or invest in real estate will deal with the real estate division of an investment bank. Equities research and consulting for private clients are also frequently chosen as career paths for MBAs with focus in investment banking.

Investment Sales Associates and Traders

While MBA skills and knowledge are not explicitly required in this field, they do come in as very valuable in enabling a person to understand the economic principles that drive the financial markets. Investment traders and sales associates assist corporate or institutional investors in the purchase and sale of securities such as stocks and bonds. The sales associate makes recommendations and helps with the analysis, while the trader actually executes the orders for the client.

Credit Managers and Specialists

The Credit manager is in charge of managing the credit a company may issue to its clients or others. Credit managers formulate criteria for rating risk and credit, determine the maximum amount of credit to offer, and supervise past-due account collections.

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