Career focus: work as a business advisor

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Picture your group of friends – are you the one who’s always dishing out advice? If so, you might be perfect for a career as a business advisor.

Business advisors dole out expert accounting and finance advice to companies and clients to help them avoid any pitfalls.

These could be inefficiencies that are costing money and business challenges that are holding them back, as well as capitalising on opportunities that could spark growth and profitability.

Helping companies save money

A key aspect of being a business advisor is spotting ways companies can save money. It’s thought that companies in the UK would save more than £6 billion a year by improving the way they use resources.

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For example, many businesses could save money by making use of digital resources and digitising their documents, while £200 million would be saved if ten percent of London’s vans went electric. Business advisors would be tasked with identifying such solutions.

Financial business advisors are turned to for help with anything from assurance and taxation to planning, insolvency and recovery.

Business advisors enjoy variety

If you make a name for yourself as a tiptop advisor, you’ll probably end up working for many clients on a whole range of different challenges; if you want a job with variety you’re in luck.

Unlike other financial roles – like actuaries and chartered accountants that can work for companies’ in-house departments – financial business advisors will typically work in a similar way to consultants, offering one-off guidance or advice over a period of time on particular projects.

Working as a business advisor will let you build a history of work and show off your value, leading to greater opportunities in future.

Once you’re established you’ll get to work on the top jobs, for bigger clients on important projects, potentially travelling the country or overseas to advise companies’ other offices.

How to become a business advisor

Solving problems for major clients and polishing up your skills along the way would allow you to work your way up to a senior adviser level and earn an amazing salary.

You can become a financial business advisor by joining a training scheme run by a bank, like those run by Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC and Barclays.

If there’s a particular area you’re keen on, like mortgage advice and financial planning, you may be able to specialise in it.

To make it as a business advisor you’ll need to be comfortable interpreting and analysing numbers, as well as reporting your findings to others concisely.

Skills you need to be successful as a business advisor

You should be willing to envelop yourself in projects and do your research. Effective advisors should know the client so communication skills are vital, because you’ll need to be able to speak to business owners and employees.

Other traits required include the ability to work under pressure, manage projects, self-evaluate and develop and of course, commercial understanding.

To gain experience that could one day help you make it as financial business advisor, a placement or internship in accounting and finance, auditing, insurance, banking or consultancy would come in handy.

If you fancy something a little lighter that will still offer exposure to the industry and give you an idea of what the job is like, it’s worth checking which companies are running insight schemes.

Undertaking work experience in this sector will help you develop your understanding of the financial industry and work alongside professionals, potentially giving you a taste of analysing data, compiling reports and presenting your findings to others.

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