Career Focus: Work as a Financial Consultant
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Managing your own finances can be a struggle – now imagine looking after those of an entire business!
Chief financial officers (CFOs) are the ones tasked with the hefty job of slashing company running costs while boosting revenues and profitability.
Not an easy task – especially when budget cuts, greater regulation and stakeholder pressure often combine to create the perfect storm.
Call in the consultants
It’s because of this pressure to perform that CFOs and companies often turn to professional services organisations to lend a hand.
Financial consultants help businesses identify new opportunities for growth, tackle inefficiency and develop new plans of action for the future.
When companies need a push in the right direction from a professional services company – the largest being PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Deloitte (known as the ‘Big Four’) – a team of consultants will be sent to work alongside the client.
These consultants are likely to have varied experience levels and may have previously worked client-side, giving them enough expertise to take on even the meatiest of business tasks.
Why financial consultants are important
Consultants who dole out wealth management and financial advice to businesses play a key role in helping them turn their fortunes around and survive or thrive in the marketplace.
This has a knock-on effect on the economy, because strong companies are more likely to hire new employees and expand; the role of consultants in helping to spot areas of improvement is crucial to society on a local and national level.
This is echoed by the fact that the ‘Big Four’ alone employ more than 700,000 people between them, while it’s clearly a sector that’s continuing to expand as shown by the fact that between 2007 and 2014 the number of graduate vacancies available in consultancy jumped by more than ten percent.
Can you make your ideas count?
Financial consultants need to be extremely able communicators, because they need to convey complex business ideas clearly and concisely with colleagues and clients. Basically if you enjoy talking to lots of different people, you’ll probably do well as a consultant!
It’s one thing having an idea, but the key to success is being able to implement it effectively.
You’ll also have to be willing to learn, because you’ll need to know about changes in regulation and delve into different industries, in order to work with a wider range of businesses.
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Become a business expert
Working as part of a consultancy company will let you soak up many of the skills required to go far in consultancy jobs and the wider business world.
If you prove your worth by performing well for clients on various projects, you’ll have a good chance of being promoted to more senior positions with greater responsibility and bigger pay packets.
Of course, if you achieve results for companies and impress them, you’ll make a name for yourself and have the chance of being snapped-up in a client-side role.
As a financial consultant you’ll learn about leadership, project and financial management, organisation and communication, as well as economic, technical and regulatory information, giving you a huge bank of experience to propel you forward.
Financial consultancy degrees and work experience
There are many courses you study that are relevant to a career in consultancy, primarily business-based degrees. These include:
- Business Management
- Business Administration
- Business economics
- Business analytics and consultancy
If you’re hungry for a career in consultancy but aren’t doing a business course, you’ll be pleased to know that you can still work your way into this industry with degrees in other subjects.
Many consultancy companies run graduate schemes that provide a route into the advice sector for qualified candidates.
At the same time a large number of major professional services companies run work experience schemes to sharpen up the next generation of talented undergraduates.
The mammoth size of the consultancy sector means it requires talented people to help it grow, so if you’re interested you could become involved in placement years, internships and insight days at top companies like Accenture, EY, Grant Thornton and Mazars.
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