Trending Business Careers in Times of Financial Uncertainty

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In times of financial uncertainty, there are only a few business functions or aspects that will provide a solid opportunity for sustainable careers in business. Finance is arguably one of these, and the reasons for this are explained and discussed in this article. 

Finance is a broad area of expertise, and, as such, there will be a number of options for all, whether starting, changing, or simply embellishing an existing career. The current and arguably, prevailing business context is one of increased uncertainty for all businesses of all sizes, shapes, and forms. Finding a career option in the sector may indeed be challenging, yet it is indeed possible, especially where finance is concerned.

Below are the finance-related jobs and career choices that are currently hot topics and areas of burgeoning interest. This should be the first step in a process to determine how you too could develop a career in finance that will be somewhat futureproofed.

Investment finance

Knowing where and how to realize the best returns on an investment is a great skill to have but being able to do this in lean economic times is a vital skill to have. Whether it is as an investment consultant for a large multinational, a financial manager of a startup tasked with investing profits, or a trader/broker on a large stock exchange, there are numerous opportunities being seen for investment analysts. The stock market is an investment platform that does well in lean times as investors buy when prices are low in anticipation of a rebound and realizing better profits when prices rise.  It has indeed been a bumpy investment ride through Covid, but things look set for an economic recovery, and now will be a good time to buy.

No business owner wants to know, or hear that they are losing money from savings or be unable to secure the best investment into an entrepreneurial venture on the best terms possible. Investment finance will cover both of these business eventualities. Both investing on the stock markets or in other businesses for returns and then also being able to find funding for ventures and startups are sometimes known as venture finance.

Ideas on training

Do some of the free starter investment courses that you can find online before you actually sign up and pay for a course. Read more articles like this one and get a clear sense of which area in finance you are most interested in or that your business or company needs most. There are a host of articles and stories available as to how easy it is to teach yourself. Be realistic and develop your skills in a steady but sure fashion. 

Keep in mind the licensing requirements, based on which aspect of investment finance that you would like to do, as investing on or through various platforms may require state licensing and conformation with national guidelines, whereas sourcing financial investment for others will be somewhat less strictly governed.

Accountancy

Regardless of the context and the financial climate, there are still books to settle and accounts to be presented. Being able to cogently report on finances is key when funds are low. Yes, there are numerous programs and applications that can now do all of the accounting processes as long as you are able to input the required data. However, for complex businesses or startups that require cash flow and a constant finger on the pulse in relation to finance and the availability thereof having a trained accountant, conversant with the principles of accounting and actually able to use QuickBooks, produce the relevant management accounts and report on the right figures to keep the business concerned financially informed and up to date.

The need for companies to cut back and reduce overheads and possibly people necessitates good accounting. As firms look to determine what their new normal is, analytical accounting is being seen as a means to develop cogent recovery strategies, and as such, the demand for skilled and experienced accountants has grown and is expected to continue to grow by up to 4% until 2029.

The training advice here would be twofold, a formal course online or face to face is a great start if time allows, or the alternative to consider is to train on one of the professional accounting apps that is in use in your specific sector such as QuickBooks or Sage. It is a two-pronged approach to accountancy, and the decision as to which avenue to take will be based on business need and complexity.

Tax advisors and managers

Just as accountancy above, all businesses will need to pay taxes. You may not see it as specifically one of the finance subjects, but being able to manage your business’s tax submissions, all communications with the revenue services, and completion of annual tax returns, will serve to make your business financially healthy.

Similarly, being able to advise businesses as to which taxes are mandatory and for which there are exceptions based on circumstance or business-specific reasons is an extremely useful skill and thus always a top career choice.

It is generally accepted that tax can be split into the compliance of tax laws and consulting and advising on what these laws are. The historical or traditional view has been that tax advisors or tax managers find the best way to pay as little tax as is possible, but in recent times that main gist has been fairness rather than tax avoidance.

Compliance: This is the actual process of completing and submitting the tax return for the business on time and as accurately and true as is possible. It will involve a great deal of accounting, calculations, and regimented paperwork.

Consultancy: This is essentially the problem-solving aspect of tax advice. Simply put, this is the process in which the professional tax advisor looks for ways that the firm can pay the least amount of tax in as fair a manner as possible.

The main educational route is a course in US federal taxation or tax preparation courses. Both of these should be certified and accredited. Tax can also be a component of wider financial studies. In the US, although these longer courses may be more varied and provide a clear understanding of US tax law and the process, these longer degree-type courses will also have tax preparation and the Federal tax certificate as a necessary component. There are also a number of free online taxation courses available, be sure from the outset that these courses are certified by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT), who will provide the two main certifications that of an accredited tax advisor (ATA), or an accredited tax preparer (ATP). Choose according to the career you have in mind and remember you can always do both and build the qualification with subsequent courses and degrees.

Once trained, it is also essential to update and upgrade the tax qualification on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the latest laws and legislation through an available system of continuing professional development.

Corporate finance

Corporate finance is about the financial processes, systems, and methodologies required to run the entire business. It is a subset of finance that will include the analysis and balance of risk and profitability, researching and understanding economic and sector specific trends and being able to forecast, review company financial reports and be able to suggest improvements and changes.

Why corporate finance

The reason that this business sector is trending as one of the most secure careers in modern times is simply based on the level of uncertainty and business risk that now permeates our society.

Online education is now mainstream; the MBA was one of the most logical courses to structure and provide online, as it was required by professionals who had not the time to attend full time, or for that matter, attend at all. If it is a synopsis of all the skills and financial aspects as aforementioned, then an Online MBA Degree Finance Concentration is the course you should be looking at.

The modernized or reworked MBA has indeed gained popularity in recent times and has, for many, become the moniker for a general manager. Being able to specialize or have a concentrated area of expertise, as in the aforementioned example, is one of the ways to focus on financial management and analysis as part of the overall qualification.

A finance specialization could thus very well include all of the aforementioned aspects of business finance and yet will also include the generic management skills as required. 

All of the suggested courses and areas of further study as suggested herein are available online and further accentuate the fact that professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners are all able to engage in such study. If time is an issue as it is for so many out there, find a course that you can do while in your current role in anticipation of a move across into finance or as the first step into a sector that is proving more sustainable than most had given it credit for.

How to then convert the knowledge gained into a sustainable career

Having the base knowledge is one thing; being able to then use this in the actual world of work will be the next step. If you are moving sideways in your career or starting afresh the  aim will be the same and that is to get as much work experience as possible linked to the courses, you have undertaken to study.

The idea of a sustainable career has become somewhat of a buzz term, and it’s important to unpick this somewhat. A career in finance can and should be able to endure for the duration of your career. It must also be aligned with your professional strengths and personal values for you to be able to sustain your career. For your dream job in finance, you will need to:

Be flexible: To create sustainability in a career, the myth has been that you need to be in a green or renewable energy/environmental career. Finance jobs and careers have served to debunk this in the sense that as long as you are flexible and are able to adjust the parameters or scope of work, based on the aforementioned learning, you will be able to mold a sustainable career that is renewable and versatile for the duration of your work/career lifespan. Corporate finance and the systems, processes, functions, and concepts dominate modern life and finance. The understanding thereof links the dots, oils the cogs, and allows society to work.

Register with the relevant boards and bodies: Based on the finance role you wish to play or are already involved in, it is advisable to register and participate if possible with the relevant board. So in terms of accountancy, you will have to be registered with the board in the state that you intend to practice in and could be liable to fines should you provide advice without these registrations being in place.

Keep your learned skills as up-to-date as possible: Prior to any new training or before undertaking a long course such as those advocated above, you must realize that the real value in the skills gained is to keep them as current and as relevant to your specific company as possible. This will entail ongoing learning and refreshing. Lifelong learning is a great concept, and specifically with finance, it is advised to be as up-to-date as possible.

Choose the location carefully

Most cities in the world have the aforementioned jobs available. However, there are specific cities where these jobs will be available in higher numbers based on the fact that these cities are financial hubs. Places such as Boston, New York, and Chicago in the US, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, and Zurich are but a few of these cities that are renowned as finance hubs in their specific geographic regions. Choosing to work in any of these top-ranked finance cities will go a long way to helping you build a sustainable career.

Concluding comments

This article has clearly described the careers in finance that are trending and seem to be defying the odds in a time of huge financial and economic uncertainty. The jobs mentioned herein will only become sustainable careers with the right training and then by ensuring you keep these qualifications updated. Be sure to have done your due diligence when choosing a service provider. Lastly, you will be able to work in these careers anywhere in the world. Finance is universal; the only thing will be to have area-specific updates and certifications.

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