Jobs in finance follow the money. Finance employees track how organizations spend money, determine when to borrow money and negotiate financial contracts. Finance workers are involved in many different levels of most organizations.
Entry-level financial clerks maintain the company's financial records, bill customers, pay the organization's bills, and collect and record payments from clients.
In middle management, finance jobs most commonly involve analyzing data and finding ways to maximize profits. Financial managers'work includes setting budgets, preparing financial reports, deciding where to invest corporate funds, and creating and executing the company's financial strategies.
Sitting atop the finance career ladder, chief financial officers (CFOs) and controllers direct accounting, audit and budget employees and handle high-level negotiations with regulators, customers and employees.
Finance Job Market
The outlook for finance employment is good, especially if you have a master's degree or industry certification. Between 2010 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says:
Jobs for financial managers will grow 9 percent.
Jobs for self-employed financial managers will grow 20 percent.
Jobs for financial analysts will grow 23 percent.
Jobs for financial clerks will grow 11 percent.
Jobs for loan interviewers and clerks will drop 3 percent.
The median financial clerk salary was $33,710 in 2010, the BLS says. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,920, while the top 10 percent earned more than $49,500.
The median financial manager salary was $107,160 in 2011, according to the BLS. The lowest-paid 10 percent made less than $58,120 while the best-paid 10 percent took in more than $187,000.
In 2012, controller salaries are expected to range from a low of $69,000 at the smallest firms to $183,250 for controllers working at firms with $500 million or more in annual sales, according to staffing firm Robert Half International (RHI).
CFO careers can lead to enormous paychecks. CFO salaries top out at $411,000 at the largest firms and drop only to $96,750 at firms with $50 million or less in annual sales, RHI estimates.
RHI's CFO and controller salary figures do not include bonuses and perks, which can add substantially to pay in finance work.