Smart Strategies To Bag Great Finance Jobs
*This is in partnership with BloombergQuint BrandStudio
Finance jobs are high-paying and much in demand. But competition is very tough and aspirants must make a strong impression on the employer to get a highly coveted job in finance. There are also fears of intelligent machines replacing humans. Here are honest answers on the rise of AI and some useful tips for a successful entry into a career in the world of high-finance.
Technological advancements certainly instil a fear of losing jobs to machines. However, this is largely a myth and such fears need to be seen in a proper context. According to a KPMG study, humans and intelligent automation are essential to providing strategic business solutions to businesses. Human behaviour is mainly driven by emotions and relationships, which machines and technology cannot control. The human mind is responsible for technological advancements like intelligent machines and automation and these tools simply boosts the accuracy of our decisions. Another study by Deloitte states that automation is likely to take over operational finance functions, such as transactional accounting. Whereas business finance and specialised finance functions, like taxation, planning, and budgeting will still require staffing.
Given automation, what are the skills in greatest demand among financial professionals and what skills should you be building for a career in finance?
● Financial analysis
Financial analysis techniques, including financial statements and ratio analysis, are helpful in summarising reporting data and evaluating the performance and strength of a company. The results of financial analysis techniques provide important inputs into security valuation—be it listed or private companies.
While accounting is a well-known function, the nuance in financial accounting is mainly determined by its quality: certain accounting data is better than others for analysis and decisions. And knowing these puts you at a clear advantage.
● Data analytics
Financial analytics and data analytics have a symbiotic relationship. For every data scientist a firm hires, ‘translators’ -with the knowledge and skills to connect the data to real-world business problems are required. And financial expertise with data analytics will strengthen your position.
Some data scientists seek the CFA® charter, as it gives them domain expertise in investing and markets. If you are a financial planner with data-analysis skills, you are in a stronger position than most when helping your clients manage risk and generate returns.
● Machine learning
Investment practitioners should be equipped with a basic understanding of the investment problems that machine learning can address. They should also know how algorithms work and the vocabulary to interact with machine learning and data science experts. While investment practitioners need not master the details and mathematics of machine learning, as domain experts in investments they play an essential role in implementing these techniques. This involves sourcing the appropriate model inputs, interpreting model outputs, and translating outputs into appropriate investment actions. Machine learning methods are gaining traction in many stages of the investment management value chain.
● Blockchain and technology skills
Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies burst onto the world stage in 2008. As the crypto market enters its second decade; one thing is clear—it is not going away. Cryptocurrency markets are reaching all-time highs, and many of the world’s largest investors and financial institutions are getting involved.
Underlying technologies, such as blockchain can add a lot of value in building trust as more high-value transactions become digital. As financial intermediaries hold a vast reserve of customer data—vulnerable to devastating cyberattacks—blockchain can be an exciting technology solution, as it potentially embraces new customer segments.
● Python and coding
Learning Python is a great entry point into the world of technology, as the syntax is easier to learn than other programming languages. Because of its simplicity, Python is a common first-programming language for business and finance individuals.
Click here to watch the recorded session on “Are You AI Ready” by Parijat Garg, CFA:
Building your skills
Given that these are new streams for which experience and textbooks may not always exist, you certainly need guidance with interviews, preparation, and building a resume. Rather than go it alone, you can look at established programs such as those provided by CFA Institute.
CFA Institute membership offers professional learning tools to boost your confidence by allowing multiple self-assessments and interview simulators. It gives you access to experienced professionals who provide tips on how to make your resumes capture the attention of employers.
Obtaining the CFA charter may be a challenging process. However, the benefits you reap at the end of the journey will make you realise it was worth the effort. No other professional designation carries the same weight for asset managers and other financial industry participants such as research analysts, as a CFA designation. These professionals are involved in portfolio management, pension funds, hedge funds, and fund of funds. They may also work in private banking and financial advisory.
CFA Societies feature job postings from companies that are specifically looking for charter holders. Please remember that the chances of landing this type of job are higher if you actively network with other professionals in the industry and the CFA Societies offer these opportunities.