Definition: The management, analysis, and planning of financial resources, involving investment decisions, as well as financing and capital structure decisions.
General: In the past, finance was a separate department in a company where analysts spent the majority of their time developing elaborate computer models for financial reporting. Today, finance has totally changed. Financial managers partner with operating groups and get involved in planning, problem solving and decision making at every level of the company. By encouraging interaction between financial managers and operating personnel, a company ensures that operational decisions have solid financial objectives built in from the beginning which facilitate strong short and long-term financial performance.
Key Connecting Points:
Financial skills: Positions in Corporate Finance require a solid background in finance and accounting. You may be asked technical finance questions during your interviews (net present value calculations, etc.), and it is important that you are confident in your current skills, as well as in your ability to learn quickly on the job (especially if your skills are rusty). Highlight any finance classes you took in school (undergraduate or MBA).
Leadership/teamwork skills: Because of the interaction between finance and operating units (your internal customers), strong interpersonal skills are a must. You will spend the majority of your time working with teams of people providing financial advice on a project, decision, or new strategy. While you have no responsibility to tell a team what to do, you are fully responsible for the financial aspects of your team’s strategy. You must be able to influence others with your communication skills and ability to establish rapport with them. Your ability to understand the business strategy, as well as the financial aspects, is important.
Analytical skills: As an analyst, you will look hard at numbers and data to determine courses of action. It is critical that you provide examples of times in your past where you had to interpret data and solve problems. Since you have no authority over your peers/team, you secure their agreement by making effective use of data and facts. Discuss any finance case studies that you did in a business class or masters program. PC spreadsheet skills are also important.
Project management skills: You must be able to handle multiple projects from start to finish. You will define project scope, develop specifications, analyze resource requirements, establish timelines, manage budgets, resolve conflicts, work with external vendors, and manage projects to conclusion. Use projects you managed in the military as proof of your project management skills.
Possible Job Titles:
Sample Job Description – Finance Please keep in mind the following job description is just one of many possible Finance job descriptions.
You will begin your Finance career as a member of an audit/business process review team (3-5 people per team). In this role, you will work on projects designed to obtain an understanding of business systems controls for various functions and activities throughout the company. You will work with internal business groups to evaluate processes and systems and identify opportunities for improvement. While you will be responsible for the analysis of financial and operational data, you will also be expected to go beyond the numbers to understand the effectiveness and efficiency of their business condition to include strategy, processes, technology, risk, controls and more. You will identify business trends, develop root causes of business issues and proactively identify opportunities to reduce costs or improve productivity. As a result of your review, you will be actively involved with management, making oral and written recommendations and presenting agreed-upon actions to improve operations and reduce costs. Finance serves as the primary “feeder” group for talented professionals and, as a result of the exposure and valuable experience you gain in this role, you will be well positioned for roles of increased responsibility within the company.