by Sellick Partnership | 20 April 2015
Having studied the 'Financial and related professional services - a national asset' which was released last month, I realised how lucrative a career in finance can be. The report focuses on how financial and related professional services are making a significant contribution to prosperity and sustained economic growth across the UK.
Key facts of the study:
- The UK has the fourth largest banking sector, the third largest insurance sector and the second largest fund management industry
- Overall, 23 towns and cities in the UK each have over 10,000 people employed in the sector, so it is open to anyone living in more remote areas of the country
- Foreign companies have invested around £100bn into UK financial companies since the start of 2007 to 2014 which is more than in any other sector
- It is sustainable and growing - the industry can add 0.2% to GDP growth over the next five years
- Over 2.1 million people work across the UK in financial and related professional services. This represents over 7% of the working population.
Still not convinced? Read below for more reasons why finance is a sensible career choice…
Flexible Entry Requirements
Financial and related professional services on average employ a younger workforce than other sectors (approximately 50% of industry workers are under 40 years old, compared to 47% in other sectors). This means that fresh talent can enter the sector, inevitably meaning more experienced people gain promotions. This also keeps standards high as younger people have less personal commitments and are willing to work longer hours to make a good impression. Predictably, older staff members will continue to work as hard and keep standards high as to not lose credibility. Being a young person myself, I think the really important thing about this is that you can enter at any level in finance meaning there is more diversity and opportunity in the sector.
After studying GCSE or NVQ for example there is a growing trend to employ people through finance or business apprenticeships meaning people can begin to earn a wage as young as 16. There is the argument that studying in this way prepares people for the working world more than academic study. Finance and Accountancy degrees often require a year's work in industry which is another good way to ensure graduates are aware of the challenges and have practical problem solving abilities.
Entry requirements for AAT are also flexible, so school leavers or adults seeking a career change can study it. The AAT also recommends that students with extensive workplace experience or prior knowledge of Level Three can begin their studies at Level Four.
One major benefit of training for an accountancy qualification as a graduate is that you are paid a competitive graduate salary while training. Various firms also pay for your exams, with flexible repayment schemes or loyalty deals where if you stay long enough after completing your qualification you don't have to pay anything back.
Chartered accountants usually work in senior or management positons within business, meaning salaries are competitive and opportunities may lead to management, board level appointments, Directorships, CEO status and Chief Executives positions.
The accountancy industry is resilient, even in a difficult economic climate (in fact often this is when they can make the most difference). Businesses recognise that if headcount needs to be cut, finance is not usually to first place they will consider.
As all businesses require accountants, people can work in public or private sector meaning that you can choose a role which fits your lifestyle as it changes. For example, the NHS often is popular choice for parents as it offers above average holiday assignment and flexible working hours. Throughout a career in finance you could work for a number of different sectors and environments helping to shape your career portfolio and prove your flexibility. There are also numerous opportunities for self-employment such as setting up a firm of accountants with savings or investments or simply offering bookkeeping services to grow your personal portfolio and fit in with your work-life balance.
Reward, Respect and Choice
Professional accounting body ACCA, state Reward, Respect and Choice are the reasons to choose a career in finance if you choose their route. Finance often has a precedence, internally people see the finance team as respected business professional. The ACCA body also reiterate that because finance professionals work in every industry, there is more choice as people are in demand with employers everywhere. Another advantage of studying ACCA is that it is international qualification so accountants can work on a global scale without having to carry out study conversions.
Think finance is the perfect career choice for you? Why not contact one of our consultants on 0191 261 8585 to find the best finance job for you…