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Ultimate Guide to Careers in Finance

Finance Careers in 2017

FP&A jobs, finance manager jobs and careers in the business sector offer big paychecks, but most of these high profile financial positions carry a big responsibility. Finance professionals help steer the company with the right plans and forecasts. They serve as the captains of the corporate ship that drive the American economy. Because of their importance, employers will pay top dollar for the best and brightest minds in finance.

If you’re in the hunt for entry level finance jobs or you’re interested in making a career switch to finance, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Although a career in accounting and a career in finance can be similar, the functions and expectations are still different.

This article covers an overview of the qualifications, requirements and the various roles you can look for in finance. Once you are equipped with necessary knowledge about the various types of careers in finance, you can then confidently submit your resume and credentials to:


Hundreds of recruiters from various companies are constantly looking for highly qualified financial professionals to fill full-time roles in their finance teams.

Requirements and Qualifications

To excel in the finance career path, it helps to have the many professional certifications and to pass the finance-centric exams. You can secure an entry-level job in the finance sector with an undergraduate for the post of an advisor or consultant.

But the basic qualification for advancement is a graduate degree or a Master in Business Administration (MBA).

It helps to pursue a bachelor’s degree or an MBA concentration in finance that will let you learn financial theory, and participate in projects or case studies.

The main components of any finance related course includes the basics:

  • Economics
  • Taxation
  • Corporate Finance
  • Public Accounting
  • Statistics
  • Business Law
  • Financial Modeling
  • Marketing ROI Analysis
  • Budgeting & Forecasting Variance Analysis
  • Investment analysis

The most in-demand professionals have Master’s degree in finance or an MBA. The course contents can consist of:

  • International Financial Markets
  • Advanced Financial Management
  • Applied Portfolio Theory
  • Options Theory
  • Small Business Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Macroeconomics & the Global Economy
  • Financial Derivatives
  • Corporate Valuation
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Financial Buyouts & Acquisitions
  • Private Equity & Venture Capital

Typically, a master’s course builds upon your undergraduate studies. Hence, schools often label them as “advanced.” For further info on finance courses at a graduate level, take a look at Wharton‘s course catalog.

Furthermore, many financial organizations prefer candidates with professional certifications in finance. To add value to your resume you can pursue a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFP (Certified Financial Planner). The certification will enhance your financial skills needed at various levels of employment.

Many financial services like selling stocks or bonds require you to obtain the license from authorized agencies like Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The most common of the financial licenses are series 7 and series 63. You can go for these licenses while doing the job since these are not pre-requisites to get a job but rather these licenses are legally required to provide certain client services.

Job Market

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the financial sector is bound to increase by 8% by 2024. In the last year, the mean salary of the financial specialist was $66,530 whereas the median annual wage of other occupations was only $37,040.

The major hubs for financial jobs in the world are the cities which are regarded as financial cities. Some of the global financial hubs are New York, Dubai, Shanghai, Mumbai, London and much more. There has been a trend of better job opportunities in developing countries and this trend will not move down in the future too. You can find jobs in the financial sector in a branch office or corporate offices in any city of the world.

finance careers path nyc

Best Job Sources

If you are still in your college pursuing your studies, campus placement is the best option to enter into finance sector since many companies prefer to pick their candidates from the college whom they can train to fit their organizational structure. If you have passed out of school or college, you can post your resume on one of the best job search sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and much more. You can also find job openings on financial institution sites like CFA, Bloomberg or EFinancial.

Other trending job-finding resources are the social media platforms. LinkedIn is the best platform for professionals to find the jobs of their interest and stature. You have to create your profile just like a resume and post your qualification and experience. Once you finish that, you can expand your network by sending requests to other LinkedIn users in financial fields. Many companies post their job openings on their LinkedIn business pages, such as the Vested Linkedin page. So creating a LinkedIn profile is one of the best steps to take for a good job offer.

Finally, Recruiting 2.0 has arrived! In the “old” days, you would go online and submit your resumes to the job boards. Then you wait. But in today’s world, recruiting platforms, like Vested, allow you to post your resume and credentials in a private database. Using a proprietary algorithm, Vested’s platform will then match you to accounting and finance jobs from a slew of companies in the United States. Vested does all the work for you!

All you have to do is polish up on your interviewing skills by reading up on our career and interview guides.

Finance Firms that Offer Job Opportunities

The types of careers in finance are not limited if you meet the qualifications and skills required. The job aspirants looking for careers in finance can find jobs in various types of financial institutions:

Commercial Banks

Commercial banks provide one of the largest opportunities for banking aspirants. These banks provide banking services like loans to individuals, small and large scale corporates and enterprises. If you are interested in a career as a teller, credit card banking, leasing or international finance, then the commercial banking sector can offer you exciting roles. You can work as credit Analyst, loan officer, branch manager, trust officer or as a mortgage banker.

Investment banking

This is a specialized division of many commercial banks. The Investment banks deal with corporates and government bodies and help them in the sale of securities, raising money, mergers and acquisitions and all the assistance for any kind of large financial transaction.

Some of the leading names of investment banks are JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

These are the typical finance roles in investment banking:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Associate
  • Sr. Associate
  • Vice President
  • Managing Director
  • Partner

Hedge funds

Some money management firms operate with little limitations and higher risks. Hedge funds are open to only accredited investors who are ready to invest huge amounts for a minimum lockup-period. Clients can withdraw the funds after fixed period at certain intervals.

To amplify the ROI, hedge funds are invested in stocks, real estate, derivatives, mutual funds or land on the long term. As a Hedge funds manager, you can earn a minimum of 2% on assets value and twenty percent of the profit each year. Other financial roles in hedge funds can be as a security analyst or a trader.

Private Equity Firms

Unlike Hedge funds which deal in public securities, the private equity firms invest the funds of investors in private companies. In the case of a buyout of a public company, it de-lists the public equity and make it private.

The private equity firms then improve the operations and profitability of the newly private company. After a few years, the private equity firm then does an IPO of the private company to sell their shares to the public at a higher price.

Private equity also includes venture capital. In venture capital, firms invest money in early stage companies who have the potential to make it big. Venture Capital firms, like Accel, Greylock Partners and Meritech, invested in a then obscure company called Facebook back 2006. They cashed out with a huge return when Facebook went public in 2012.

Jobs at private equity firms are highly competitive. Often, former investment bankers with advanced degrees in finance and business can secure a job at these firms. Without these pre-requisite qualifications, one would have a difficult time breaking into the private equity industry.

S&P 500 Companies

All the S&P 500 companies, whether they are in the telecom business, consumer electronics or any other business type, require an army of FP&A Analysts to join their FP&A teams at corporate levels.

Because of their size and the breadth and nature of their business, S&P 500 firms need finance analysts at all levels in every part of the world. These companies need FP&A analysts to prepare annual budgets, periodic budget forecasts, financial modelling and internal reporting of vital business metrics.

Finance job titles at these firms can include:

  • Financial Analysts
  • Finance Managers
  • Directors of Finance
  • Chief Financial Officer

Lists of Careers in Finance

Trading jobs

If you feel excited about sale and purchase of shares, commodities, bonds or currencies, and help the investors to earn money due to market surge, go for a career in financial trading. The trading jobs are at the same time challenging considering the regular government regulatory changes. You can apply for the trading job in financial institutions like hedge funds and commercial banks.

You can apply as an assistant trader after doing graduation but the best way to enter trading is to clear the series 7 and 63 exams. MBA’s are also preferred in trading line. Any certification or degree in mathematics or statistics is also seen as a plus in trading sector. As a fresh graduate you may land a junior post but with experience, you will get an allocation of higher capital as you gain the confidence of your seniors.

Trading jobs at hedge funds are the top choice in the financial sector. You can work under a portfolio manager to buy or sell the securities. If you have the discretion to deal with the securities, then you have a good chance of making a good money. If you think you are one of the best hedge funds traders, you can start your own hedge fund as well.

In trading finance careers, salary is on higher side but at the same time, the jobs are stressful. You need to on your toes and sense rightly the future market movements. Before you apply for a trading job you must be aware that you will manage the huge sum of money on daily basis and should be ready to face the wrath of employers in case of failure.

For a successful career path in trading, you should have mathematics background since you need to do calculations based upon the market conditions. You have to make quick decisions since the trading market is a volatile industry. It is not just a 9 to 5 job since you will need to follow the market trends even during off hours.

Investment Banking

If you see yourself serving a big company, institution or government then option for Investment banking and enrolling in a suitable graduation and post-graduation course is the best decision. Well, to begin with, Investment banking is all about helping your hiring company in managing their capital with the suitable strategies and plans. Depending on the size of your company you may be serving for the whole company as an expert or specialize in one area to provide expert advice.

Investment banking professionals are offered jobs in multinational commercial or investment banks. The job scenario is quite bright if you have studied this professional degree as you have the option to apply in big global banks as well as national, regional or local banks. Other avenues are asset management corporate, equity firms or business enterprise dealing with capital management. Some big organizations with the in-house department for evaluation of strategic opportunities like corporate mergers and expansion.

Being an Investment Banker you will be responsible for providing strategic opinion and guidance to your employer company for a merger or taking over another company. The strong financial modeling acumen will come in handy along with the extreme confidence of communication with senior level management professionals and business owners.

The second primary role you will play in your company will be to guide and strategize to raise the capital for your company or your client. For this, you need to hone skills like underwrite debt and equity by analyzing the industry you are working for. This responsibility will also be an important aspect if you are providing consultation to a government organization.

Another area of expertise for an investment banker is in private equity which more or less is a specialization of medium to small firms. These people identify and strategize to invest in large and reputed firms with an aim of huge profits. This is the most stressful but most well-paying job in the field of investment banking. As you grow in this profession you will be wealthier than ever. If your profession is your life, then you may end up in owning a private equity firm of your own.

Another area is Venture capital wherein the responsibility on you lies to look for some small, new but promising companies. If you have an inkling to follow the latest and innovative technologies and know how to take calculated risks, then this is the job for you. It can be a very challenging profession but like private equity, if your homework is perfect no one can stop you from getting listed in the wealthiest of people.

Financial Analysis

Here you can be master of your own job since this is the job where you and only you can be communicating the financial analysis as per your perspective. The analysis can be on national financial prospects, business opportunity for companies and other similar areas where your expertise and experience is the driving factor.

A financial analyst usually is an individual who may work as a consultant, writer, academician, educator or reviewer who has acumen to study, analyze and comment on the economical or financial aspects of a company, institute, government or country. A financial analyst enjoys studying financial data, understanding the trends and presenting his views while observing the financial markets closely.

If you dream to be a financial analyst then you have to play the roles of an economist, a strategist or a predictor. As an economist, your employer, readers or students may look forward to your shrewdness in analyzing the financial market data and the underlying trends in predicting the future financial conditions. You can land up in a lucrative job in government’s planning department, commercial banks, investment banks, asset managing companies and academic organization.

An economist employed at banks or corporate earn very well whereas those in educational institutes or government sector may not get good compensation for their efforts. Those in academia definitely get huge satisfaction with the respect and reputation they earn with their knowledge and experience. Freedom of working as freelancers and consultants gives you much better prospects.

The strategists study the economy and financial markets to offer strategic consultation and guidance to the companies and institutes. Banks and finance management companies are the most probable employers for strategists. Chief Investment Strategist is one of the highest paying titles for successful strategists becoming the public persona of a corporate. The strategists do get better pay-packs than the economist.

The predictors are the best pals for government organizations and large corporations. They are meant to predict the future financial status with the help of mathematical models that means that the focus is in research and development rather than purely financial analysis of the stock market. Finance management companies, equity firms or banks look for predictors with mathematical or statistical experience in the field of economics and finance. You have to be a person who loves to work with number crunching with the help of models using computing software.

Portfolio Management

Everyone in today’s world wishes to earn more by investing least. It is all about what you have included in your investment portfolio. As a portfolio managing professional you will look into the need of your clients and guide them to invest into different shares and schemes. All this is possible if you have a keen knowledge of stock market and understanding of the trends. Along with that, your clients will entrust you with the responsibility of achieving their desired investment targets in the specified duration.

The trick of the trade is to know your client well and convince him about the certainty with which you have researched. The best part or you can also say that the worst part is that for you as a consultant, each client is different. One portfolio will not suit multiple clients. You have to focus on each one’s needs and limitations.

To get a job as portfolio manager you will be looking ahead for finance management companies and hedge fund institutions. Other options could be such as sovereign wealth planners, pension funds consultant firms or insurance business. For this lucrative job, you must own a four-year college degree and then an experience of working as an investment analyst. With sufficient years of employment as a portfolio manager, you can have a firm of your own to get a well-paying clientele.

Responsibilities of a portfolio manager include creation and management of client portfolios. Depending upon the firm you will be employed with, you have to either manage separate accounts for client’s account type and investments or pooled accounts catering to the investment needs of multiple clients in aggregation. The second type of arrangement is easier to manage but it may not be suitable for some clients who need special treatment of their money.

One of the desirable characteristics of a portfolio manager in addition to expert market analysis is the ability to strike a good relationship with the clients through different kind of contact options. You can opt for growing as a portfolio manager specializing in a single asset category or multi-asset category. In both cases, you have to be a good researcher. This job like many other finance careers can be very stressful with a need to spend long hours with clients. Competition is extremely high in this career, but once you establish yourself, it can bring you satisfying returns.

Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Jobs

Unlike other jobs discussed till now, the Financial Planning & Analysis is strictly in-house job. By hiring you as a Financial Planning and Analysis manager or professional, a company will be relying on you to help their senior management to get analytical information of company’s finance. With this information, operational, financial, and strategic decisions are taken with an eye on maximizing profits and minimizing the expenses.

Your responsibilities will primarily include budgeting, defining and monitoring cash flow and implementing other analytical tools to measure the financial performance of the company. A qualified financial professional must display traits like analytical, focused, inquiring, thorough understanding of internal financial status of the company and comprehensive knowledge of his job.

To reach up to the stage of an FP&A manager or director, usually a beginner has to spend a good amount of years on some organizational accounting position at medium ranks. It will help him in understanding the nuances of financial planning, budgeting and cash flow. A basic graduate degree in commerce or finance is required but a master’s degree can help in starting off at a higher grade. The experience and learning while on job is the most important aspect to grow as a FP&A professional. This job is considered to be good in terms of salary considering the manageable work pressure and a relatively secure job than others discussed earlier.

Final Words on Careers in Finance

No doubt, FP&A jobs, finance manager jobs and careers in finance offer lucrative perks but there is stiff competition to get a job. Besides the required qualifications, you should also have a passion to keep pace with volatile financial markets and financial regulations.

Whether you’re a seasoned finance professional or a recent graduate looking for entry level finance jobs, make sure to read career and interview guides to stay up-to-date with the financial industry, as well as getting your daily dose of the Financial Times and Economist.

Finally sign up HERE to be considered for the very best career opportunities in finance.

Career Change

10 Signs It’s Time for a Career Change

Work is an important part of our lives. It’s where we spend most of our time during the week to earn a decent salary to pay for a house, the car, and food to feed the family. In fact, it’s estimated a worker will spend 14% of their life at work. So it’s truly a big deal when we’re considering a career change at any point in our livers. 

Because we spend so much time at work, it’s ideal we care about what we’re doing. If not, we’ll spend a lot of time in an unhappy situation, and that’s untenable in the long run. So if you notice your enthusiasm for your job is dropping and you spend most of your time at the office daydreaming of escape, it is time to think about a lateral move or switching into a totally different industry.

Ask yourself if this job is really right for you. Because the wrong job will make you feel depressed and negatively affect your career and personal life.

If you’ve reached this moment in your working career, it’s time to assess the situation and polish up your interviewing skills.

We compiled a list of signs that it is time to quit your job and consider a new path:

Poor workplace environment

In the most extreme scenario, you could be in a situation where you have a terrible boss or your co-workers wouldn’t hesitate to steal your ideas. Perhaps, you’re in a frat like an environment where the people openly talk about “banging” their secretaries in their office. If any of these extreme conditions exist, hopefully, you haven’t spent a lot of time at the company.

On the flip side, perhaps you work in a perfect cubicle environment in a perfectly hierarchical organization. Everyone knows their roles. Everyone buries their head in their cubicles. Everyone submits their TPS reports every 10 AM on a Monday.

A perfect bureaucracy is the perfect breeding ground for someone’s “shadow.” According to Jungian psychology, people develop personas to function in this world. We all wear different faces which suit the current social scenario. Hence, people act differently at work or at home or at a concert. We all adapt to the social setting. In a bureaucratic organization, a lot of people wear their corporate “masks” and bury who they really are.

When suppressed enough for a long time, the “shadow” or the opposite persona begins to develop and fester. If left buried for a long time, a shadow can be destructive. Hence, it’s important to eliminate cognitive dissonance. In other words, it’s best to find work that is consistent with who you really are.

Not using your skills

If you find yourself stuck in a job that does not allow you to utilize the advantages of your own skills, it is time to consider other options. When you find all of those years of training, experience, and skill-building are untapped in your business, you find yourself feeling frustrated.

Your skillset is extremely important as it provides you with confidence and the ability to succeed in your career. So, if you do not use any of your skills or you are not capable of improving your business, this is the moment of truth to think about moving to another job that would maximize your ability to use your core skills.

The salary is too low

When you constantly worry about money, this is a sign you need to rethink your job situation. It is true that most of us often worry about money, but if that worry dominates your mind, it’s probably because you do not earn a high enough salary. It’s expensive raising a family in this day and age.

Also, it’s a matter of getting paid fairly. At a minimum, your salary should be close to the national average by geographical location and job function. With the Internet, it’s easy enough to check the salaries of other people working in your profession. It’s also free to research. Go to LinkedIn or sign up at Vested to see what companies are offering finance and accounting professionals.

So if you feel you’re being underpaid, it’s time to have a review with your manager to discuss fair compensation. If the answer is a “no” then it’s time to consider a career change.

Undervaluation of the human effort drops its determination. You’ll find yourself moping in your cubicle. Perhaps, you’ll even be vocal with your cubicle mates about poor pay. You’ll find it hard to be productive if you feel you’re being underpaid.

You expect that your skills and efforts to be rewarded with the right and suitable value. You may have to reassess yourself and your value if you see that you do not have the right means to fund your dreams.

You can’t climb the corporate ladder

career change

If you are one of the people who do not mind being monotonous and routine, continue with your current job. But if the idea of moving without progress frightens you, the time may come when you must consider a change. We all want the fancy title.

We all want a new challenge. We all want a bigger role in the company and the compensation and prestige that comes along with it. We expect natural progression through the ranks after many long hours spent at the workplace. If you feel, there is a “glass ceiling” in place or you’re being passed over by the company vice president’s younger nephew, then it’s time to assess your place in that company and seek a career change.

Your manager at work is the devil

Your boss not only affects your work but also affects your life completely. Working under the direction of someone who doesn’t cheer you on and reduces your importance will frustrate you. You are more valuable than allowing yourself to stay in a job that offends you.

If you find that your life is no longer unbearable and your dealings with others wane because your boss is so bad, you need to get yourself out of this place and look for other options.

If you can’t trust the leaders around you, it will result in a loss of your confidence in work. If you no longer trust your boss or company for any reason, it is best to resign and go another way.

If work starts to affect your personal life

If your work life begins to affect your emotional and social life, it could lead to a chronic state of stress, insomnia, and exhaustion. This is definitely not a tenable situation.

This could be due to a poor work environment. It could be too much stress from competing with your co-workers. Or perhaps you’re working only to get that promotion and forgot why you joined this company in the first place.

If you find yourself under constant work-related stress including at times when you are off the clock like weekends and evenings, then you might not be in the right situation and should consider a job change.

Loss of motivation in your work

Although boredom at work is typical, if you constantly feel this way at the office it is a warning sign that you are not enjoying what you do. Signs of this mindset include spending all your time on social media, online shopping, playing games, etc. instead of doing your assigned work tasks.

If your conversations with friends, family, and co-workers about work become non-stop complaint sessions, it’s time to polish up that resume.

Always feeling lost

You should not ignore the feeling that you no longer win at work. Your job should be a source of inspiration, delight, and challenge, not a constant losing battle where you accomplish nothing.

If your job does not give you opportunities to advance and develop your skills or requires you to travel more than you are comfortable with, don’t spend another moment in thinking about staying or resigning.

If your company no longer values your opinions or contributions, or your role in the company is redundant and no longer necessary, you should seize the opportunity to look for another company that values you. If you are returning from your vacation just to countdown the days to your next trip, it may be time to change.

Your company is not doing well

All businesses want to be the next Google or General Electric, but there’s a reason why there’s only one Google and one General Electric. Business is cutthroat and not every company can succeed in the long run. If you find that your company or your widget division is not profitable, then that will limit your opportunities within the company. There will be fewer promotion opportunities and at worst, the company could start a round of layoffs.

This is why it’s good to check the financial health of your company every now and then. It’s also useful to call into investor calls when the company announces its quarterly earnings and gets grilled by Wall Street analysts. This is a perfect time to assess the company’s health and your future in it.

If your company is not doing well, then it’s time to polish up that LinkedIn profile and resume in preparation for a new job search. There’s no point in dwelling in a company with no future when there are dozens of companies (with brighter prospects) willing to offer more for your experience and expertise.

You’ve had a Jungian Break

We’ve already discussed what happens when you’ve worn a fake mask to work. You develop a fake persona to fit into a work culture that is not consistent with who you are or who you want to be. This leads to a “subconscious revolution” and your suppressed side overwhelms your forced conscious mask. This is a Jungian Break.

The character of Lester Burnham in the film American Beauty experiences such a break. Burnham gets fed up with his suburban life and his cubicle world. He quits his job and starts working at a fast-food restaurant. He buys a 20-year-old car that he’s always wanted as a teenager. He fantasizes about having a relationship with a teenager. It’s a classic mid-life crisis at the most extreme.

This Jungian break at work can also be seen in the movies Office Space and Fight Club. In-Office Space, the main character gets fed up with his TPS reports and stops caring about work. It leads to a lot of comical scenes like the one with the printer.

In Fight Club, the main character gets fed up with corporate life and American consumerism. The psychological revolution manifests itself in the physical world literally. Without giving away the plot twist, the main character starts a fight club in response to living a fake life for so long.

These are extreme situations and most people won’t get to that point. However, there will be a time when you’ve “had it.” You might find yourself taking more vacations, or buying a Harley Davidson. You’re playing the guitar again in your forties when you’ve given it up as a teenager. These are signs that your shadow is starting to emerge from years of conscious suppression. If left untreated or ignored, the shadow will gain strength and could lead to harmful behaviour – the most extreme scenarios can be seen in Fight Club or American Beauty.

If you’ve had a Jungian break, then it’s definitely time to assess your career. Perhaps, you’ve worked too long crunching Excel at a boring corporate job for the past ten years. You want to explore a place where it’s less “stuffy” and less “formal”. Then take a look at working at a startup.

Whatever it is your yearning, it’s important to identify the root of this “shadow.” Explore what’s causing it – what you’re yearning. Then take action.

Summary – Career Change is normal

Gone are the days when workers are expected to work forty years at one particular place. Back in the day, a worker could work at IBM and expect a forty-year career and a pension at the end of it.

In today’s world, there is no such thing as a pension. In fact, most millennials can’t expect to survive on social security. Hence, changing careers is a natural progression for all workers in today’s age. It’s important to know when and how to do it. The right career change can lead to better pay and more satisfying work.

Career Change

Don’t Get Married to Your First Job Out of College

Even before your final year of college, you need to start preparing yourself for life after graduation. This includes working on your CV, researching your options, and gaining potential network connections. Although getting your first job may seem like a scary process, with preparation it will become easier.

By being efficient in your job search and following a few basic steps, it will increase your chances of landing a job, even if it isn’t a job you stay in. The important thing to remember is that not many people get hired for their dream job immediately—and it is okay not to know which career path you want to take—your experiences and life skills will help you to map out your future. You never know, your dream job may not be what you thought it was either.

Today, there are numerous sites such as LinkedIn and Vested which can be beneficial to those looking for a job. These sites are dedicated to professionals and can help connect you to endless networking opportunities. They can also be used as a digital CV or portfolio tool, which is accessed by potential employers.

However, be mindful that social media can also have its downfalls. Do not assume that your online presence is private because it is not. So when posting those drunken party pictures to Facebook, keep in mind who may be able to access them. Your new boss may not appreciate it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Be proactive and ask for any recommendations that you can put on your CV. Your college tutors or sporting coaches can provide potential employers with valuable insights into the way you work and think.

Although it may be tempting to apply for lots of jobs in different fields, this can have a negative effect and make you look uncommitted and unfocused. This is especially true if you are unsure about where you want to be in life. Be mindful of conveying such uncertainty in your application or interview.

It is important to remember not to  compare yourself to others. Everyone has different strengths, weakness, and goals in life. Don’t worry what your friends are doing; what job they are doing or path they are following may not be right for you.

Have courage and confidence to do what you feel is right, don’t settle for an average job in an industry you don’t want to be in, and don’t allow others to make you feel guilty about your choices. You have your whole life ahead of you and lots of wonderful experiences to have and interesting people to meet. Some that will shape your future; you never know which of these opportunities may be the right fit for you.

Following your heart and being happy in what you are doing is important, no-one wants to look back in later life and regret the choices they made. If you want to take off and travel the world, or flipping burgers makes you happy, it is your life to live the way you want to.

Career Change

How to Change Careers at 30

You are in your thirties and asking yourself: How to change careers at 30?

Professionally you have come a long way since you began your career. Gone are the days that you are the newbie with a supervisor looking over your shoulder and double checking your work. You now find yourself in a position of responsibility, perhaps with an impressive title and people reporting to you, or managing key accounts and clients. After years of study, training, sleepless nights, successes and failures, you have made it, or are at least on the path to making it.

But suddenly after all the hard work you put in to reach this point, you find that you no longer have the same hunger and passion for your career. Where has the love for the work, the ambition, your dreams, and plans gone? Is this the mythical midlife crisis? Just yesterday you thought that you were on the right path, but now the idea of your job leaves you empty on the inside.

Time has passed, and you might have discovered new talents, new interests, new hobbies, making you understand that you are not the person you wish to be. Everyone remembers that as kids they wanted to be veterinarians, astronauts, or the president. But as we grew up and experienced life, these dreams changed. Despite being an adult in your 30s, you are hopefully still growing, and just as you realized a career in space exploration was not right for you, so too might you realize you at age 36 your current career trajectory is not the right one.  

What should you do if you’re pondering a career change in your 30s?

First, answer this question: “is your life about your career or simply living the way you want?” Although you should follow the call of your heart, the cold reasoning of your mind is necessary for such responsible decision-making. If you know for sure that you need and want to start a new career, think about it very carefully. You need to be cautious, but overthinking is a not a good idea.

Suppose you are in a room, and you need to choose a door to move forward and maybe escape. Will thinking show you the right door? Of course not! You will never be able to account for every possible factor and every possible scenario. It is simply pointless to just stand there and think about the right choice. But you can act right there and then and choose a direction. You can return if you think your choice was wrong. The important thing is that you do not stay in one spot endlessly, and take steps towards your goal.

But do you know your desired career?

It is a very important thing to realize. You shouldn’t make hasty decisions, remember, just yesterday you thought everything was all good with your career. It doesn’t mean that you should stop acting altogether. The point is, you need to be flexible enough to realize your needs and capabilities at any point in time to be able to counter the tides you are swimming against.

You need to try new career opportunities and look for ones that suits your needs right here and now. If you are afraid for your financial stability, you should look for ways of doing trial and error without quitting your job. Alternatively, you can switch to a half-time job or look for other similar ways to create some free time for your search.

Be aware that you might not find your dream job on your first try. Try to utilize your passion for shaping your life to your advantage, let it push you forward. Learn about the profession that interests you, try to connect with people working in your dream job through friends, relatives, and networking. You need to gather as much data as possible to make the decision right for you.

While you should never abandon your dreams, be careful of setting unrealistic expectations and career goals. Such dreams are bound to fail, and the disappointment of such a failure might discourage you from making any changes. Be passionate, but cold-minded. There is no need to rush. Motivational quotes are a good thing, but overconfidence can be a serious weakness.

After gathering information, meeting people, conducting research, and studying, you need to act decisively. If you are sure about your decision, start slowly, but take active steps towards your dream job.

A very good way of confidently changing careers is working with people who, like you, are also looking for a new job. You will work together, share ideas, inspire and push each other, and move together towards your dream jobs. It doesn’t matter if their interests are different. Your combined spirit and desire to change is a strong stimulus to your activity.

Don’t think that your temporary uncertainty and desire to change your job is a shameful thing. Our whole life is about adaptation, and you don’t need to be afraid if you feel something is changing in you or around you. Meet the need to change with open arms. Be passionate about the future even if you don’t know how it will turn out to be tomorrow. Don’t let sudden variations put out the fire burning in your heart!

It’s never too late for a career change, especially as a thirty year old working professional. So instead of sitting around and asking yourself “how to change careers at 30,” take action and sign up with Vested.

Career Change

The Career Changing Options in Your 40’s

The big four-oh is not only a milestone personally but professionally. Around this age, people are usually well-established in their chosen field, with a title and salary commensurate with their experience.

However, many people reach this point in their career and aren’t where they want to be. Either they have reached a ceiling in their career they cannot crack, or the path they thought they wanted to be on as a 22 year old straight out of undergrad, is not the same one they want to be on as a forty something with a couple of kids at home.

Maybe the issue isn’t even about work, but general angst about getting older or regrets over past decisions. While we here at Vested cannot offer you much help dealing with your midlife crisiswe can offer you some practical advice if you are thinking of making a change mid-career.  

Develop the right mindset

First and foremost, you need to stop thinking about the desire to change as a bad thing. Life is not about staying still, and it is perfectly acceptable that you are changing and moving forward. You should never expect that things will remain unchanged over time.

Could you have known in your youth what would happen the next day? Not with certainty. How is it possible for you to foresee events decades in the future? So, don’t regret your past decisions. They might have been right back then, but now you have to take new steps in accordance with your current situation.

Experience is an asset

Changing careers, you may be anxious about competing with young employees that have skills you don’t and a willingness to work for less money and fewer benefits. But there is an attribute that young people are unlikely to have, but you do have in abundance: experience.

Your age might close some doors for you, but your experience is a powerful differentiator in the interview/hiring process. There are many jobs that a relatively inexperienced young people would struggle with while a seasoned professional could handle the responsibilities with relative ease.

For example, look at the job of teaching. In your forties, you have years of classroom experience and more life experience in general. You might be better suited for lecturing in a university or school than your younger colleagues. Your age is a trump card in such cases because you have simply had more time to experience the world than the newbies.

Consider other options

Perhaps after years of working 9 to 5, you have grown tired of the same routine and want a different, more flexible arrangement? One way to achieve this is to become a consultant in a field related to your specialization.

Consultancy is very much in demand as it is much easier to “buy” other people’s experience than invest money and create skills and knowledge among new workers.

Don’t think that your twenties are the only time to choose a career. It is never too late to develop new skills. You can gain go back to school or enroll in a training program.

Many online programs offer the flexibility of completing training at your own pace and schedule for little or no cost. Some employers are also willing to hire employees if they have a demonstrable skill (for instance, coding), without an actual degree or certification.

Rely on your network

Another advantage to mid-career switches is all the contacts you have made over the years. Ask them for advice, reference letters, introductions, and whatever other help they are willing to give. Go on LinkedIn.

Research, try to understand what you want to do. Maybe your contacts will give you a hand in your searches for a dream job. You might even discover people who want to switch jobs like you. They might be uncomfortable about their ideas at first, but your cooperation may boost the confidence of everyone.

Stay Motivated

Look for success stories of people who became successful after age 40. Stan Lee, the former executive vice president and publisher of Marvel Comics, created his first comic when he was 39. Actor Samuel L. Jackson’s career had a true rise at age 43 after taking an award-winning role in the film Jungle Fever. Henry Ford created the Model T car when he was 45. Barack Obama, the former president of the United States, became a millionaire after republishing his book Dreams from My Father at age 43. These and numerous other stories are about people discovering themselves not in their 20s or 30s. They just felt that their life needed to change.

Discover your desires, concentrate on them, meet new people and be connected with your friends, be decisive. Do not think about a possible failure. Will it be better if you do nothing out of anxiety? Certainly, you should be careful and realistic, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend months thinking about changes without acting. In your forties, you should know that achieving anything is not easy. Just let your dreams drive you forward and reach for your new goals!

Sign up for Vested if you are ready to make a career move.

Career Change

It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Dream Job

Getting older can make you feel like life is slowly passing you by and you’re living day-to-day in the same old job. We start adapting to lifestyle changes and this can have an impact on our working lives too. However this doesn’t have to mean that your career is over, there are still plenty of options and different career choices, which reduce the amount of physical labor, or number of working hours.

This can feel a little scary as society focuses more on the younger generation. Those who are older think that they are now past it and that their dreams and goals no longer matter. Thinking this way is outdated and it is never too late to follow your heart and find your dream job.

The older you get the more experience you gain and this is valuable to employers. With experience brings skill and knowledge, which is something that the younger generation has yet to gain. Your age is a plus point because it means they can leave you to get on with the job, you don’t require as much training as someone who is younger, and you can train others too.

An average person has approximately 10 jobs by the time they are 40 years old. This could be due to being fired, personal circumstances change, or you quit. So in the near future, you may be looking for a new job. If this happens, it will be scary, nerve racking, and in some cases devastating. But this is a chance to start fresh and do something new and exciting, these challenges should be embraced.

It may also be the opportunity to consider going back to college and gaining some new qualifications; you might amaze yourself and be able to turn that hobby into something profitable. As well as boosting your CV, you have also now opened up a whole load of new opportunities and experiences.

More people now have to work until their seventies and beyond because they are living longer than before. Does the prospect of being stuck in the same job for the next 10 or 20 years, maybe longer fill you with dread? The answer should be no, but for many, this is the case and it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is take the risk.

No matter how old you get, you can still achieve your goals and get that dream job you have always wanted, especially as we are now living longer you have nothing to lose by giving your dreams a shot. It probably won’t be the last thing you do, so there is no need to worry about your retirement.

Whether you are in your twenties or early sixties, failure is still painful. But what is more painful is waking up one day and realizing you didn’t take that chance and it slipped away. Have the courage to look fear in the face, follow your heart and your dreams will follow.

Financial Education

The Only Startup Financial Metrics That Matter

Financial Metrics for Startups

If you’ve worked at both a large company and a startup, you know that the financial metrics measured are largely the same but are expressed differently.

Take, for example, revenue growth. At a large company, you’re likely focused on yearly revenue growth. At a startup, you measure sequential growth over a monthly or weekly time period. And for good reason – given the power of compounding, hitting 10% monthly growth targets will create a 3x larger business within 12 months!

How Finance Professionals Create Value

The start of our careers are marked with executing tactical tasks such as weekly or monthly management reporting. Over time, finance professionals set themselves apart by becoming leaders and informing business and product strategy. To do this you’ll need to understand the right financial metrics for your business. There are clear differences between how large companies measure financial metrics vs. the tools you need to grow a startup.

Large Co. vs. Startup Financial Metrics

The Two Metrics That Matter: CAC / LTV Ratio and Cash Burn

 1) The Fundamental Law of Growth

Most tech B2B or B2C startups (with some notable exceptions) must eventually obey the Fundamental Law of Growth which has generally been accepted as LTV/CAC > 3. The LTV/CAC ratio speaks to a startup’s revenue trajectory, capital needs, and in turn, how much “irrational exuberance” is demanded of its investors. The lower the LTV/CAC ratio, the less efficient a company is at deploying capital and the more capital it needs to sustain itself and its growth objectives; conversely, the higher the LTV/CAC ratio, the more value it creates for the same amount of capital. Empirically, there are reasons that 3x is roughly the minimum threshold needed to build big, sustainable businesses.

2) Cash Is King

“In some sense, the negative free cash flow will be an indicator of enormous success.”; Reed Hastings

Reed Hastings believes that Netflix’s negative free cash flow (-$2.5 billion expected for 2017), a result of investing in a tremendous library of content, will lead to the company’s success over the long-term. Most startups operate with the same philosophy but fail to realize that they are unlikely to duplicate Netflix’s track record for 20+ years (100 million subscribers!) and access to the debt and equity markets (for now). So what does that mean for a startup that’s currently burning through cash every month? Essentially, when you are in a cash burn (FCF negative) position, a company has to rely on investors (or in rare cases, banks) to fund the next few years of its life.

Both of these concepts are extremely important and over my next couple of posts, I’ll talk about how as a finance professional, you can tactically identify these two metrics as ways to improve your company’s value.

Check us out at Vested, when you’re ready to meet your next accounting and finance pro or drop us a line at [email protected].

Hiring Best Practices

What We Learned From Interviewing Over 1,000 Finance & Accounting Professionals

The Definitive Guide to Interviewing Finance and Accounting Pros

Interviewing for an open position can be a frustrating experience.  And yet – some of the most transformative changes happen to an organization when you hire the right person.  The interview process involves a lot of art mixed with science; in other words subjectivity.  As finance professionals, that’s something that isn’t natural to us.


We reached out to our network – C- and VP-level finance executives from the Fortune 500 and prominent startups and asked them what technique(s) they’ve used to identify the strongest candidates.  Here are the 5 most common lessons we heard.

LESSON #1:  Use a Test-First Approach

If you are looking to hire an entry-level accountant, you should look for someone who you can project as your next controller or CFO, not a highly paid bookkeeper.  

Let’s admit it, with automated systems, the mechanics of the job have gotten a lot simpler.  You’re looking for someone who can and wants to become a strategic partner to the org and not just input numbers into Netsuite.  

So practically speaking, that means you need to adopt a ‘test-first’ approach.

Don’t be shy about testing before you even bring the candidate on-site.  For example, provide a scenario where a business undergoes a business model shift and ask detailed questions about the financial or accounting implications

Our favourite technique came from a CFO of a well-known startup:

Hi Steve – I’ve always asked my candidates to go to a whiteboard and walk through our company’s  P&L.  The test shows me who’s done their research on our company and can ask the right questions to get to an acceptable answer.

LESSON #2:  Look for Candidates on a Journey

Most reasonable people understand that switching jobs every now and then is common for a variety of reasons, especially at startups.  In that sense, your role is never a destination nor do you want a candidate that thinks that way.  Pay attention to the clues that separate the high performers from the average ones.

Have you ever heard a candidate say “I’m thinking about getting my CFA”?  A person that is used to getting things done will use more productive language: “I’m studying for my CFA Level 1 which I’m taking in September.”  That’s the language of someone who has a plan.  Those types of candidates are the ones that will transform your team.

Here’s the thing, you’ll see clues in other places too:

  • Promotions or changes in job duties on their resume
  • Speaking about wearing multiple hats not particular to the role
  • A successful shift in a career path in the past
  • Genuine and specific accomplishments about current or previous jobs

We loved these questions:  “What did you accomplish in the past that you never thought about achieving” & “What do you consider yourself world-class at?”

LESSON #3: Make the Offer Competitive

Be upfront about the starting salary before you meet the candidate and make sure that it’s in-line with the market.  We’ve personally seen companies that view the finance role as a back-office function and really limit the budget for the role.  Put it this way, for a team that is responsible for the strategic deployment of resources, a high-performing candidate will pay for themselves many times over.  

Here’s an anecdote that really resonated with us:

“We hired this really ambitious AP/AR specialist.  One day he was auditing invoices and found that we were paying for 600 Google enterprise licences – 3x the number of licences than employees working at our company.  We were able to correct it the following month and he earned half his salary right there.”

LESSON #4:  Don’t Overemphasize Cultural Fit

This is literally the most overused term in all of recruiting.  It’s one of the hardest terms to define.  Just look at the various problems with interpretations we’ve encountered:

  • Does the potential hire need to attend “Happy Hours” to be a “fit”
  • Does the person crave instruction and require 9 to 5 working hours?  That’s not a lack of cultural fit, that’s a fundamental misunderstanding on how to drive value at an org.
  • Is your candidate a micromanager and you need them to scale a team?  Then that’s a person not suited to the requirements of your role.

The term “cultural fit” needs to be a more defined term.  The best companies are the ones that really emphasize the notion of a collective desire to succeed.  Hire the person who clearly understands the specifics of the job with the ability to work alongside various personality traits.

LESSON #5:  If All Else Fails, Play The Long Game

Some of your best candidates will not take your job offer for one reason or another.  Don’t take it personally; but if you really liked them, stay in touch.  Here’s what one startup CFO had to say:

“I’ll say, ‘Let’s grab breakfast or a cup of coffee and I’ll ask them what are you up to?  And we’ll cultivate that. I may continue to meet that person every couple of months for six months. And then I bump into them at some point and that’s the moment they’re ready to make a move.”

Check us out at Vested, when you’re ready to meet your next accounting and finance talent or drop us a line at [email protected].

Self Assessment

5 Questions to Answer Before Joining a Startup

Before making the jump, first assess where you are in your career. If you are just getting out of college, a startup would be a great place to begin your career. At the early stages of one’s career, it’s important to be open and explore different possibilities. Especially for anyone dubbed as the “millennials,” most young people these days will experience multiple career paths before settling on one. If you start at a startup, you’ll gain valuable exposure on how to run a business, and have multiple responsibilities. You’ll learn if you’re into marketing versus operations, or perhaps you will get excited about financial reporting. For people straight out of college, a startup is a great place to “startup” your career.

For others considering a jump into the startup world, they’ll likely have a few more years of experience. Some could be vice presidents in a major corporation and have been stricken by the “what-if bug.” What if I joined Facebook back in 2004? What if I took that plunge and taken on that lowly Operations role at a taxi company called Uber back in 2010? For experienced professionals, it’s not an easy decision, and it’s important to have the right framework before ditching your cushy corporate gig. Here are some things to consider:

Would you invest in this company?

For experienced personnel, a startup company will try to lure you with options or shares of their company. Often, this equity piece comes with a salary reduction. Even if you don’t get a salary reduction, you’ll likely take a hit in benefits. Most startups don’t have matching 401Ks. They don’t offer discounts at the local gyms. You won’t get a corporate card. Some startups don’t even have decent health insurance. So a chunk of your benefits will come from those options they’ll dangle in front of you.

How would you value this company? Is their target market big enough? If they were publicly traded, would you invest in this company? As an experienced professional, especially for finance executives, it’s key to think like an investor.

Do you see yourself playing ping pong at midnight with this group?

Startups often lack enough personnel to handle all the responsibilities. This means you’ll be asked to take on more responsibilities than you’re used to. So are you ready to work more hours with less pay?

You’ll have a lot of late nights with your team at a startup. It’s a stop and sprint culture, meaning you’ll work on long hours on an analysis. Then stop to have a break and regroup with your team, usually in a game of table tennis or a session of Monopoly. Then right back into whatever analysis you were performing. If you don’t like the people you’re with, it’s going to feel like a long day as you grind through those long hours.

What stage is the startup?

The stage of the startup influences the amount of reward you’ll get for your time. However, a late-stage startup can also provide a more stable environment as they’ll likely have the typical benefits found in established companies. They’ll also likely to have more personnel to help with day-to-day activities.

Depending on how much risk you’re willing to take, it’s important to know what stage the startup is in.

What about the family?

For experienced professionals, they often have a wife and kids to care for. At a cushy corporate gig, it’s easy to collect a fat paycheck to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, set aside money for the kids’ college education, and pay the monthly on the two cars parked in the driveway. Corporate gigs aren’t sexy and don’t have as much upside, but they are stable.

If you do decide to take that plunge into the startup world, you’ll likely have to sell your home and move to San Francisco or to New York. This means a return to the city (assuming you’re living in American suburbia), where it is more crowded and expensive to live. Are you comfortable uprooting your kids from their school? Are you comfortable letting go of those two Audi station wagons? Will your wife be okay with your late nights at work?

Even if you aren’t married, it’s still a big decision. Since you’ll likely live and breathe the startup, you won’t have time for living “La Vida Loca” on Tinder.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s a staple question that gets asked in an interview. It’s so simple yet so applicable for anyone, pondering a move to a startup. It’s even more important for experienced professionals to know what they want to get out of the experience. There’s a reason people are attracted to cushy corporate jobs. They pay well. They pay the bills. You get a corporate card and an army of support to churn your reports.

But there is a certain appeal to working in startups. You’ll get to work on edgy stuff that can potentially revolutionize society. Jeans on Fridays turns into “Jeans every day”. There’s beer in the fridge at most startups. Finally, the most appealing part of working in a startup is to understand what it takes to run your own business.  If being your boss is a dream of yours, then a startup is a good place to start.

Interview Tips

Twenty Common Interview Questions You’ll Hear At Your Next Interview

Business Insider compiled a list of the strangest interview questions that candidates received while interviewing for jobs at some of the nation’s top companies.  

While it’s fun to ponder your answers to these questions, your focus in preparing for your interview should be on developing responses to the following 20 common interview questions. These are standard questions asked at companies of all types and to employees at all levels.

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What are your weaknesses?
  3. Why are you interested in working for us?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
  5. What can you offer us that someone else can’t?
  6. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  7. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  8. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  9. What is your dream job?
  10. What would you accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days on the job?
  11. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  12. Why are you looking for a new job?
  13. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  14. Who are our competitors?
  15. What was your biggest failure?
  16. What motivates you?
  17. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  18. What are your career goals?
  19. What are some of your leadership experiences?
  20. What questions do you have for me?

We hope you have found this list of questions helpful. Remember the interview is not just an opportunity for an employer to learn about you, but for you to learn about the company and your co-workers.

So be prepared to answer any or all of these common interview questions, but not to the point that you sound overly rehearsed. The interview should be a conversation, that hopefully concludes with you being offered the job of your dreams.