Introduction to Finance

21_investment_banking_money_treeThe financial services encompass a broad range of careers and positions. These include commercial banks and business societies which deal with the transmission of money, loans, foreign currency, stocks and shares, and insurance; broking firms, which buy and sell stocks and shares; and investment banks, which deal with corporate finance and are experts in mergers and acquisitions, stock market analysis, and derivatives.

The banking and financial sectors offer the highest basic salaries as well as the potential for very high bonuses. These perks are also, however, matched by long working hours and high-pressure working conditions.

Investment Banking

If you work in investment banking, you will be providing advice primarily to commercial clients and the government. You will typically be employed by banks and other financial institutions. On a given day, you might be gathering and analysing complicated numerical details, preparing legal documents, assessing financial risks and returns, and liaising with accountants, lawyers and financial experts.

You will need a 2.1 in your university degree (or higher) in order to be come an investment banker. Studying subjects like economics, law, business studies, mathematics, and management can be helpful, and some candidates decide to do an MBA, though this is of course not essential.

In order to make a successful application, work experience is the key. Don’t forget that Pure Potential works with several investment banks and professional bodies, including the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, and UBS.

Accountancy

Generally speaking, accountants are responsible for providing trustworthy information about financial records. They give professional advice to clients, aiming above all to boost profitability. Accountants work in many different settings, including public practice firms, industry and commerce, and the not-for-profit sectors.

There is no fixed way to become an accountant, at least in the early stages. You can either decide to do a School Leaver programme at an accountancy firm having finished your A-Levels, or embark on a finance-related or other degree at university. Whichever option you choose, you will then need to select one out of the three main accountancy bodies to study with: the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). They all offer slightly different programmes, and there are differences in the type of work you can carry out after you qualify, so you will need to do your research to see which course suits you best.

Some large firms such as Grant Thornton will sponsor a student through their studies with these accountancy bodies whilst you work with them, giving you time off for revision. This is a very popular route to choose, though of course it is not the only one. You can decide to fund the accountancy qualifications on your own, but this is expensive.

It would be a good idea to try to get some work experience or speak to someone in the profession before committing yourself to a career in accountancy.

To offer you a greater insight into careers in the finance industry, we suggest having a look at Career Player’s video below. CareerPlayer.com is a multi-award winning website designed to make choosing and breaking into graduate jobs easier.