Tips to Advance Your Career in Corporate Finance

Success in a market as crowded as corporate finance needs more than educational qualification.

It requires resilience, patience, willingness to learn, and a proper understanding of technological advancements in the industry. Unfortunately, not many people are willing to make this sacrifice, so only a few manage to make it to the very top of the corporate finance ladder. You can use the following tips to your advantage and get a step up on your peers.

1. Get an MBA

Educational qualification is the first thing potential employers look at when recruiting new employees. Regardless of your talent and industry knowledge, competitors with papers will most likely get the nod ahead of you. A bachelor’s degree in finance coupled with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or doctoral degree can level the playing field for you and allow you to showcase your aptitude. There are many affordable online MBA programs to consider if you already have a bachelor’s degree. Most of these programs have been tailored to suit busy people and will most certainly fit into your tight work or school schedule.

2. Grow your network

The idea of growing a network may seem drawn-out, draining, and time-consuming, with only a few people having the time and zeal to attend industry conferences or meet up with strangers for coffee. The good news is that building a professional network is a lot quicker these days, as you can do it almost entirely online. Renowned corporate finance experts and industry influencers are on LinkedIn and other social networking platforms waiting to connect with like-minded people. You just need to set up a professional profile yourself and request to connect with them. You might also want to join online communities where you can engage in forums and learn from potentially more experienced individuals.

Renowned corporate finance experts and industry influencers are on LinkedIn and other social networking platforms waiting to connect with like-minded people.

3. Use digital tools

The work of a finance expert is mostly analytical, and although traditional analysis techniques work just fine, you can take some workload off your shoulders by incorporating software into your operations. Common systems include financial planning and analysis tools, expense management tools, cash-flow and balance sheet management tools, CRM software, and revenue and profitability tools. Some systems offer several functions in one, so make sure to check online reviews before installing one on your work computer. Consider factors such as user interface, scalability, and reliability as well to ensure the software you choose is easy to use and will serve you for the longest time possible.

4. Hone your communication skills

Finance is a tough field that even people in related subjects may not understand. It deals with data and heavy jargon that needs to be broken down and interpreted before being given to a non-expert. This is where communication comes in. You need to know how to explain the patterns, trends, and forecasts in a simple and understandable manner. Good communication skills will also come in handy when handling projects in groups as miscommunications can lead to mistakes and undercut the power of teamwork.

5. Go freelance

There is nothing wrong with working in an organisation as an employee, but if you feel you are being restricted by your job description or simply aspire to set up your own financial consulting firm, then going independent might prove to be more rewarding. Some of the benefits of freelance financial consulting include schedule flexibility, control of workload, exposure, freedom of choosing clients, and better pay. It also allows you time to enroll in higher-education programs and take other career enhancement steps.

6. Earn your promotion

Promotions are not given; they are earned, and to merit promotion, you must be willing to do more than you are charged with. Start by doing what the company wants and expects from you before deciding on where else you can be helpful. Expose yourself to more company activities within and outside your department to bolster your knowledge and skills and become more valuable to your company. Pay attention to senior executives and people who have been promoted recently and take note of their standout personal traits. Check if there are things you can learn from them and try to emulate.

Endnote

The road to the top is long and arduous. You will bump into all sorts of obstacles and be forced to stay up to date with market trends and technologies. However, with a well-thought-out strategy, the journey should have fewer hurdles. The above tips are a great place to start for any corporate finance professional whose career is still in its infancy. You might want to consult a career expert if you want to make a big move, such as leaving your job for a freelance career or switching careers to corporate finance.

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