Is a Career in Corporate Finance for You?

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

If you love working with numbers, are mathematically gifted and possess strong quantitative and analytical skills, corporate finance may be the right career for you. A career in corporate finance is also ideal for you if you enjoy and are exceptionally good at problem-solving, and you also possess possess strong attention to detail. Working in corporate finance requires that you crunch the numbers right every time. A rare oversight or error may be forgiven once, but recurrent mistakes may necessitate considering a new career path.

Corporate finance professionals are primarily tasked with managing an organization’s money. They give advice regarding project costs, analyze company revenues and expenses, make investments and structure deals that will promote a company’s growth. They also identify ways to increase a company’s profitability, reduce expenditures and free up capital. Anytime a company wishes to make a major expenditure, it usually has to be approved by its corporate finance department, and approval is granted only after a thorough review of  the companies’ finances to make sure it can afford the expenditure.

The size, industry, complexity and stage of the company (i.e., established or new company) determines the specific responsibilities of a financial or accounting professional. While all companies need to maintain balanced books, some companies need financial professionals experienced with valuating potential acquisitions, while other companies want investment experts.

A corporate finance career is also ideal for the financial enthusiasts who voraciously read financial publications and periodicals and for whom watching the stock market is a favorite hobby. You must possess a strong interest and understanding of the industry. You have to stay on top of ever-changing marking conditions, financial trends and economic forecasts. You have to be able to identify external factors that could positively or negatively impact a company’s profitability.

You will probably have to become certified as a MBA, CPA or CFA depending on the type of job you’re interested in. If there are opportunities within your company, and your company offers tuition reimbursement, you could look into going back to school to get certified. If there are not opportunities within your company, start looking outside the company for a position that will expose you to the type of finance or accounting experience you wish to gain.

A few of the perks of working in corporate finance are that you get the chance to develop good teamwork skills, since finance professionals generally work in teams.  You also get to travel and meet people, and the pay is pretty good. A financial analyst can make $44,000 to $72,000 a year. A controller can earn $110,000 to $237,000 a year. A treasurer can earn $133,000 to $208,000.

Read more in How to Choose a Career

Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.