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Progressing Your Career In Finance

Starting a career in the finance sector can be incredibly rewarding. There are near endless opportunities for growth and specialisation, you just need to know what they are. If you’re looking to progress your career in finance, read on for some of the key steps you can take.

Get qualifications

In the UK, getting a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, or even maths is usually a minimum requirement for entry-level finance roles. However, getting a more advanced degree, such as an MBA, can help you stand out even more.

Getting further professional certifications, such as one from the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), or Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), is a great way of proving your commitment to ongoing professional development. These courses can be taken in a variety of formats – for example, studying ACCA courses online might suit those who don’t live near a physical training centre.

Gain appropriate experience

In addition to qualifications, experience is absolutely essential for career progression in the finance niche. Employers always prefer candidates with experience, so it’s important to seek opportunities that help you to develop practical experience in the field. 

At first, pursuing internships or more entry-level roles in finance can be a great way of gaining invaluable experience and building a network of peers.

Develop your professional network

In finance, as in most industries, networking is critical for successful career progression. Attending industry-specific events, joining professional associations, and engaging with others in the finance sector on social media platforms such as LinkedIn can help you to build those relationships over time. If you’re looking for an extra leg up, you can consider seeking out mentors (or even career coaches) who can offer specific guidance as you navigate the industry.

Specialise in a niche

As you gain experience in finance, you’ll definitely want to consider specialising in a particular area of the finance sector. Specialisation is a great way of standing out from the crowd, allowing you to focus on developing solutions for common issues that you notice need addressing. 

Some common areas of specialisation in finance include corporate finance, investment banking, financial planning and, increasingly, risk management.

Demonstrate leadership skills

If you want to make it past the lower levels, then demonstrating leadership skills will be a critical part of that process. Organisations want employees who are able to take control of situations, rather than needing to be led through each stage of the process by management. Those who excel in this area may eventually rise to management positions themselves.

These are just a few ideas, albeit important ones, on how to progress your career in the finance sector. By getting the right qualifications, seeking relevant industry experience, and networking, you’ll be able to get a headstart in a lifelong career. 

Remember – specialisation can be an amazing way of breaking your way into the upper echelons of the industry, especially if you manage to provide a unique, invaluable service that people need. By following these basic tips, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the long run, avoiding stagnation in your career.

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