How to make a change of career to finance (with FAQs)

Updated 20 April 2023

Changing careers can be a time-consuming yet rewarding process. Changing your current career to a job in finance requires lots of research and a firm commitment. Understanding how to change your career to a job in finance can help make this transition smooth and effective. In this article, we describe a job in finance and share a step-by-step guide on how to change career to a finance career alongside a list of jobs in finance and FAQs.

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What is a job in finance?

If you want to change your career to a finance career, start by learning more about the opportunities. A job in finance is a professional vocation working in the financial sector. The financial sector encompasses a wide range of different financial jobs. Having a job in finance typically involves working with money by either protecting it, investing it or managing it.

Finance jobs may also include working with clients and customers, investors and shareholders to work on projects or working with them to help them manage and maintain their finances. Roles in the financial sector are competitive. Having the relevant qualifications and experience can make you more attractive to potential employers.

Related: 10 careers in finance (plus tips for entering the field)

How to change career to a finance career

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to change your career to a job in finance:

1. Check your education

Finance jobs are competitive, meaning having the right degree can increase your chances of a successful conversion. Higher education, such as pursuing a university degree or an internship, is a good way to get on the right path to a financial career. Most universities offer finance-related degree courses to choose from. For example, some popular courses are accounting and business finance. If you already have education in a related subject, such as business or another finance-related degree, you can skip this step.

Related: Q&A: What can I do with an accounting and finance degree?

2. Pursue additional certifications

Pursuing a finance-related certification can help you stand out against other candidates competing for a finance role. These professional certifications appeal to employers as a demonstration of your commitment to the field, your success in the field and your ability to work in finance. Some of the most popular certifications in finance that you can consider pursuing include:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

3. Conduct thorough research

Understanding finance as a broad sector whilst also researching the various specific areas of finance helps you gather knowledge about the roles. If you know which specific area of finance you wish to work in, take the time to gather as much knowledge as you can about what the role demands and the specific skills you may develop and strengthen to succeed. Employers value candidates that have extensive knowledge about the finance sector and you can impress them as a candidate who purposefully immersed yourself in research.

4. Work experience

Gain relevant finance-related work experience. Work experience is valuable across all fields with it showcasing your skills and your ability to work well in a professional environment. As finance is so broad, there are many branches where you can find work experience. For example, you could consider work experience in a bank where you may meet with customers and advise them about their savings. Another example of finance-related work experience is working within a company's financial sector to manage its business accounts.

Related: 14 of the best paid jobs in finance

5. Network with finance professionals

Networking with finance professionals can boost your credibility and help you secure a role in finance. Networking is a great way to find connections who can help you get a job in the sector, but it's also a way to find out what working in finance is really like. Having a network of finance professionals can help you prepare for pursuing this career path as you can find out what types of candidates employers are typically looking for in their hiring processes. Start networking by visiting a finance-related event or a general networking event.

6. Strengthen your skills

Develop finance-related skills. Taking the time to strengthen your skills is key to making you a strong candidate against others that are competing for the same role. Conducting research into both role-specific and industry-specific skills can really help. Soft skills like communication, organisation, time management and attention to detail are equally valuable to employers as finance-related hard skills like technical proficiency and finance knowledge.

Related: 13 jobs that offer a change of career from accounting

What are some jobs in finance?

Here's a list of finance jobs you can consider when changing your career to finance:

1. Finance assistant

National average salary: £22,686 per year

Primary duties: Finance assistants work to prepare balance sheets and update financial spreadsheets. They also create reports of cost analysis alongside tracking bank statements and processing taxes. Finance assistants work to support a financial officer of an organisation or business.

2. Tax accountant

National average salary: £38,303 per year

Primary duties: Tax accountants specialise in tax management and organising tax preparation. They work to prepare tax documents for the upcoming season, create plans to maximise the management of taxes and communicate with taxation authorities about arranging audits. Most tax accountants work within an accounting firm, yet they can often work across other organisations and businesses for clients.

3. Economist

National average salary: £42,407 per year

Primary duties: Economists work within organisations to distribute and evaluate the costs of resources that the organisation has. They spend a lot of their time conducting research into financial market trends and using this knowledge as a foundation for their recommendations. Many economists present their research findings in reports that detail to employers, organisations and even government agencies that benefit from the information.

4. Hedge fund analyst

National average salary: £74,243 per year

Primary duties: Hedge fund analysts are finance professionals that conduct an analysis of the assets of a hedge fund to identify where trading may be the most beneficial. Hedge fund analysts also pay close attention to market behaviour trends and often present their research findings to team members or employers. Hedge fund analysts devote their time to creating an investment thesis which they use to showcase beneficial investment opportunities.

Related: How to write a finance manager CV (with example)

FAQs about changing your career to a job in finance

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about changing your career to a finance job and answers:

Is education a requirement for a job in finance?

Depending on which role in finance and which financial sector you aspire to work in, education may be a requirement. Do your research into your desired role to find out whether you need a higher educational qualification to be a suitable candidate. There are some entry-level finance jobs that do not always require a higher education qualification that you can consider. For example, consider finding work as an auditor, a credit analyst, a tax associate or a personal financial advisor to start your career in the financial sector without obtaining a related higher education degree or qualification.

Related: Top 8 professional finance qualifications and their benefits

How can I build my skills for a finance job?

Building your skills for a finance job includes finding work experience. You can develop soft skills through research and practice. Hard skills, like financial awareness and analytic ability, come more easily during job experience that requires technical know-how. Find out if there are any educational seminars or finance-related work opportunities that you can maximise to develop and strengthen your skills to help you secure a finance-related job.

How do I know which sector of finance to pursue?

As there are so many branches within the financial sector, the best advice to follow to find which sector of finance you can pursue is to do some thorough research. Find out about the responsibilities, qualifications and skills of different roles to find ones that would be appropriate and well-suited to you. Consider the working environment and the competition of different roles to determine which roles you may have a stronger chance of securing against other candidates.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and the candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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