Business And Financial

Accountants, assessors, and analysts, oh my! Employees in these and other positions analyze, project, and manage business operations and finances in virtually every industry. Workers with degrees and real-world experience can find employment opportunities everywhere from mom-and-pop businesses to global corporations and everything in-between.

Getting a job in the Business World may seem like a vague or slightly intimidating undertaking (inspiring capitalization!). The reality is that you don’t have to be a budding entrepreneur to work and do well in this field. As with many categories, business and finance are what the jobs are about and not necessarily what you do. Familiarity and knowledge of business and industry practices and principles is required, and a bachelor’s or graduate degree will help you get there. But no one wakes up one morning completely prepared for a career in, say, market research analysis. That takes time, experience, and training for excellence.

Tasks in these jobs may include:

  • Keeping extensive records about meetings, decisions, contacts, and client interactions
  • Preparing reports and presentations of completed work for clients and managers
  • Evaluating suppliers, distributors, or other contractors for reputation, efficacy, quality, and cost and making corresponding choices
  • Analyzing financial data and reporting trends or concerns
  • Explaining complicated financial and statistical information in a clear way to people not directly involved (e.g. clients, potential customers, team-members, managers)
  • Determining action that will have a positive affect financially on the project and recommending that action to relevant parties
  • Negotiating payments, settlements, contracts, and claims   

The day-to-day operations of a finance or insurance company are not as dramatic as cable television finance shows would have you believe. Believe it or now, there is room to breathe between cutthroat and bankrupt (but maybe not for the sales department). Many people dream of starting their own business and others want to be a part of success. People with solid math and communication skills can go far in the industry and find many potential ways to apply their knowledge. The best part of the business world is what it offers: opportunity.

CAREERS IN BUSINESS AND FINANCE

As many self-made men and women will testify, a business degree is not mandatory for success. For specific positions requiring extensive training, however, it can definitely help. Some professions in this category, like buyers and claims adjusters, may only require a high school diploma to get started; advancement comes with work experience. Others, like accounting, auditing, or property appraisal, require additional licenses and certifications in addition to a degree. These demands may differ depending on the state of residence, so be sure to do a little local research before getting started. For the majority, though, a bachelor's degree will certainly get you started.

Choosing a field and honing your skills are the first steps. Consider what aspects of business and finance you are best suited for, in terms of training and temperament. Strong math, communication, and computer skills are highly valuable, as is the ability to analyze and compare data. If you prefer people over numbers, there are a variety of options in human resources and client services.

Getting an education and training in a specific career niche or field may be worth the time and money otherwise spent on a bachelor's or graduate degree. Career advancement depends on your degrees, training, and work experience, but having a proven record and solid references can be just as valuable. Slapping an M.B.A. on a resume doesn't guarantee success, let alone a job interview. Responsibilities and salaries increase with time and promotions to supervisor and managing positions is often possible; Keep in mind that entry-level positions at major companies are incredibly competitive, much less the fight up the career ladder.

Not all careers in this category are cutthroat, though. Insurance claim adjusters, accountants, loan officers, and tax collectors are a few of the most common professions, and employees with solid understanding of business principles can find work in a variety of fields.

IMPORTANT QUALITIES

  • Analytical skills Workers must efficiently research, analyze, and evaluate data. In fact, any decision or determination requires thorough consideration and cost-benefit analyses before advancing. This may be required purely on a numerical level (such as the evaluation of tax returns) or for broader concerns (choosing stable, long-term financial investments).
  • Communication skills. If business and financial services were easy, everyone would do it for themselves. Instead, advisers and analysts must be able to interpret and explain the data behind new decisions and strategies. It takes real skill to convey highly technical information to managers, team members, and clients; such skills is well-worth developing in these fields.
  • Detail oriented. When it comes to money, the details matter. What may seem insignificant to others can be crucial here, where the placement of decimal or percentage point can greatly alter a financial action or transaction. Accuracy and precision are paramount.
  • Math and computer skills. Taxes, transactions, bookkeeping, data analyses...if you go into the world of finance you better love numbers. Luckily, applicants don't need a PhD in mathematics to get a job! (They may need a calculator, though.) The exact duties and requirements will vary depending on the field, but workers use their skills in math and computer technology to manage, analyze, and evaluate data for their company.
  • Organizational skills. Work in the world of business and finance can quickly get complicated. Each project may have clients, accounts, funds, investments, and files; it is crucial for employees to thoroughly understand their material and organize it with clarity and ease of access in mind.

JOB OUTLOOK

Jobs in these sectors are often tied to other industries; for better or worse, success for business and finance may partly—or even largely—depend upon the state of those industries. Moreover, the overall state of the economy also determines business (and, therefore job) growth. Loan officers, for example, may do more business under a booming economy than a recession. Yet even in areas of significant job growth, the rate of competition for those jobs may be stronger than for others, making it still difficult to be hired. Advanced degrees, certifications, and relevant work experience can certainly improve an applicant’s prospects

  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Accountants and auditors Accountants and auditors

A bachelor's degree in accounting or a relevant discipline is the usual path toward becoming an accountant or auditor. Some schools offer degree programs and training for a specific kind of accounting or auditing. Master's degrees are also an option for those looking to advance their careers, make themselves more attractive in the job market, or to hone their skills. Accountants and auditors may have to obtain continuing education over their career in order to qualify for licenses and certifications.

Bachelor's degree $63,550
Appraisers and assessors of real estate Appraisers and assessors of real estate

Appraisers and assessors of real estate estimate the value of real property—land and the buildings on that land— before it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. '

Bachelor's degree $49,540
Budget analysts Budget analysts

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending.'

Bachelor's degree $69,280
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators evaluate insurance claims. They decide whether an insurance company must pay a claim, and if so, how much. '

High school diploma or equivalent $59,850
Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists

Compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists help conduct an organization’s compensation and benefits programs. They also evaluate job positions to determine details such as classification and salary.'

Bachelor's degree $59,090
Cost estimators Cost estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular industry or type of product.'

Bachelor's degree $58,860
Financial analysts Financial analysts Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.' Bachelor's degree $76,950
Financial examiners Financial examiners Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws governing financial institutions and transactions. They review balance sheets, evaluate the risk level of loans, and assess bank management.' Bachelor's degree $75,800
Fundraisers Fundraisers Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other donations for an organization. They may design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization’s work, goals, and financial needs.' Bachelor's degree $50,680
Human resources specialists and labor relations specialists Human resources specialists and labor relations specialists

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, payroll and benefits, and training. Labor relations specialists interpret and administer labor contracts regarding issues such as wages and salaries, employee welfare, healthcare, pensions, and union and management practices.'

Bachelor's degree $55,640
Insurance underwriters Insurance underwriters

Insurance underwriters decide whether to provide insurance and under what terms. They evaluate insurance applications and determine coverage amounts and premiums.'

Bachelor's degree $62,870
Loan officers Loan officers

Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.'

Bachelor's degree $59,820
Logisticians Logisticians

Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain—the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, distributed, allocated, and delivered.'

Bachelor's degree $72,780
Management analysts Management analysts

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.'

Bachelor's degree $78,600
Market research analysts Market research analysts

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.'

Bachelor's degree $60,300
Meeting, convention, and event planners Meeting, convention, and event planners

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of professional meetings and events. They choose meeting locations, arrange transportation, and coordinate other details.'

Bachelor's degree $45,810
Personal financial advisors Personal financial advisors Personal financial advisors give financial advice to people. They help with investments, taxes, and insurance decisions.' Bachelor's degree $67,520
Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents

Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents buy products for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review product quality.'

Bachelor's degree $60,550
Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents ensure that federal, state, and local governments get their tax money from businesses and citizens. They review tax returns, conduct audits, identify taxes owed, and collect overdue tax payments.'

Bachelor's degree $50,440
Training and development specialists Training and development specialists

Training and development specialists help plan, conduct, and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.'

Bachelor's degree $55,930
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