Figuring out who does what in finance can be a daunting task.

And figuring out what the job pays is a whole other question in itself.

To solve this problem, we have created a list of over 20 types of finance job descriptions with yearly pay ranges to help you get started.

Next is in infographic with the most important information and below, all jobs are listed with a more detailed description, hours worked and salary.

Types of careers in finance (infographic)

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Accountant

black-calculator-near-ballpoint-pen-on-white-printed-paperWhat does an accountant do?

Accountants typically work in accounting firms (with the big four being Deloitte, PWC, EY & KPMG).

Typical assignments include:

  • Responsible for helping small and large corporations with their accounting systems
  • Prepare financial statements, income tax returns
  • Model and give advice on capital budgeting and investment decisions

Hours: Usually 40-45 per week, more in tax season

Here’s a great article from Business Insider about daily life as an accountant

How do you become an accountant?

Accountants must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting (or a similar field). Further, an accountant will need to obtain a certificate to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

How much does an accountant make?

Starting salary: $40-50,000 per year

5 year salary: $75-100,000 per year

+10 year salary: $100-500,000 per year

Source


Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

chart-computerWhat does a CFO do?

The role of a CFO varies significantly based on the company in which the CFO is employed. Naturally, there will be large differences in pay for a CFO in a large company compared to one in a small company.

With that said, there are two common characteristics:

  1. Strategy and budgeting: The CFO is probably the one with the largest insight into the financials of the company and as such, is integral in drafting the strategic plans and budgeting of the firm.
  2. Controlling / treasury functions: Controlling duties are the backward looking part, where the CFO is responsible for presenting the historical financial information. This links to treasury duties, where the CFO in cooperation with other top management and board members, decides what to invest in and how to do so (debt or equity)

Hours: Usually 50-60 hours per week, with considerable variation

Here’s an in-depth look into the world of a CFO.

How do you become a CFO?

There are several routes to becoming a CFO, however, there are two that are more typical than others:

  1. Investment Bankers (M&A) or accountants that have worked closely with a company and over time, realized there is a strong fit
  2. “Company loyalists” who rise through the ranks of the company, usually starting in a controller position.

How much does a CFO make?

Starting salary: Not an entry level position

5-year salary: 100-300,000$ per year

+10-year salary: $150-1.5m per year

Source


Commercial Banker

money-finance-bills-bank-notesWhat does a Commercial Banker do?

A commercial banker is responsible for a portfolio of business clients at commercial banks.

Typical assignments include:

  • Handle revolving credit facilities for clients
  • Making sure there is sufficient and flexible funds for a company
  • Cash management
  • Foreign currency exchange

The work week will usually be 40-45 hours.

Here’s a great interview with a commercial banker.

How do you become a Commercial Banker?

Most commercial bankers have an undergraduate degree in finance. A minority of positions will also be filled by accountants.

How much does a Commercial Banker make?

Starting salary: $50-60,000 per year

5-year salary: $75-100,000 per year

+10-year salary: $100-200,000 per year

Source


Controller

numbers-money-calculating-calculationWhat does a controller do?

A controller is responsible for overseeing financial reporting, preparing budgets and being the link between bookkeepers and the CFO of the company.

Typical assignments include:

  • Controlling payroll and making sure people get their money
  • Work with external auditors to ensure proper reporting standards are in place

Hours: Usually 40-45 per week, more in tax season

Here’s a great article from Robert Walters about a day in life as a controller

How do you become a controller?

A controller usually holds a bachelor degree in finance or accounting and some, but not all, will also be Certified Public Accountants.

How much does a controller make?

Starting salary: $45-65,000 per year

5-year salary: $75-100,000 per year

+10-year salary: Controllers with long tenure usually migrate to other positions in a company. As such, it is not necessarily higher than the highest paid controllers with 5 years of experience.

Source


Credit Analyst

person-wearing-grey-dress-shirt-holding-black-push-penWhat does a Credit Analyst do?

A credit analyst works in a commercial bank and is focused on determining a business or individual’s credit worthiness.

Typical assignments include:

  • Analyze credit purchases (for individuals)
  • Analyze the level of late payments (both)
  • Analyze the level of debt relative to earnings (both)

Besides analyzing credit worthiness, credit analysts also advice on how to improve credit scores.

Hours: Usually 40 per week

You can find more information about the job here.

How do you become a Credit Analyst?

The majority of credit analysts’ have an undergraduate degree in business, finance or accounting.

How much does a Credit Analyst make?

The pay does not rise considerably with experience as a credit analyst. Normally, people will move on to manager roles after a number of years.

Starting salary: $40-50,000 per year

5-year salary: $60-70,000 per year

+10-year salary: $70-80,000 per year

Source


Financial Advisor

people-woman-coffee-meetingWhat does a financial advisor do?

A financial advisor recommends and sells financial plans to individuals.

These include pension plans, college funds and stock portfolios. Financial advisors help people plan for both the short- and long term.

A financial advisor will usually be employed at a bank, mutual fund or an insurance company.

Work weeks are rarely much longer than 40 hours.

Business Insider has a great interview with a financial advisor.

How do you become a financial advisor?

Financial advisors usually have an undergraduate degree in accounting, business or finance.

How much does a financial advisor make?

Starting salary: $40-60,000 per year

5-year salary: $60-90,000 per year

+10-year salary: $100-300,000 per year

Source


Financial Analyst

beverage-black-coffee-business-chartWhat does a financial analyst do?

A financial analyst is usually hired by mid-to large companies.

Typical assignments include:

  • Follow market trends and developments of the company closely to understand how investment decisions affect the company
  • Prepare weekly, monthly and quarterly reports for management

As an example of an ad-hoc analysis, a financial analyst might help make a report to executive management or other superiors about how an investment in a new machine or technology is likely to influence the company’s position and financials going forward.

Work weeks will usually be 40-50 hours.

Clearance Jobs has an in-depth article on the position.

How do you become a financial analyst?

Most financial analysts have an undergraduate degree in finance or secondarily engineering or IT.

How much does a financial analyst make?

Starting salary: $50-60,000 per year

5 year salary: $70-90,000 per year

+10 year salary: Not a late-stage career choice. Normally, people will advance to positions higher up in the company such as Chief Financial Officer.

Source


Hedge Fund Analyst

lighted-city-skylines-under-deep-blue-sky-during-night-timeWhat does a Hedge Fund Analyst do?

Hedge funds purchases or shorts stock in public companies.

Typical assignments as a hedge fund analyst include

  • Conduct deep analysis on stocks to figure out whether they are undervalued or overvalued
  • In doing your analysis you will talk to company management, suppliers, customer and so on
  • Combine this with desktop research to come up with an investment thesis.

An extreme example of this is the movie, The Big Short. Here, one New York hedge fund goes to Florida to ask exotic dancers how many homes they owned in an effort to understand, whether there would be a subprime crisis or not.

The hours will usually be 60-70 hours per week.

The Hedge Fund Journal has more about a typical day as well as what you actucally give up working those hours.

How do you become a Hedge Fund Analyst?

Hedge Fund Analysts will usually have two years of experience from Investment Banking (either M&A or equity analyst) before being considered for a hedge fund positions.

Further, you need to be passionate about the stock markets and show that at the interview.

How much does a Hedge Fund Analyst make?

The salary at a hedge fund has a high element of bonus payments. As it is easy to see if an analyst has performed or not, this will be reflected in the bonus

Starting salary (after two years of investment banking): Base rate of $75-100,000 per year with bonus in the range of 2-3x that. In other words, $150-300,000

5-year salary: $500-1m per year

+10-year salary: +$1m per year

Source


Investment Banker (Equity Analyst)

silhouette-photo-of-windmill-during-sunsetWhat does an Investment Banker (Equity Analyst) do?

An equity analyst at an Investment Bank conducts research on stocks and make buy, sell or hold recommendations. If all the indicators point in the direction of the current stock price being too low, the analyst will make a buy recommendation and vice versa.

Normally, an analyst will cover 8-10 companies in the same sector.

Example: This news article is about a Goldman Sachs Equity Analyst, who has downgraded Cisco to neutral (i.e. do not buy or sell).

Typical assignments include:

  • Fundamental analysis on the company
  • Valuation through relative valuation and a DCF valuation

Hours: While the job can be intense, especially around earning seasons the usual hours worked are lower than in M&A, and it is normal to work 55-60 hours per week.

Here is a write-up from an equity analyst about the job.

How do you become an Investment Banker (Equity Analyst)?

Almost all equity analysts have an undergraduate degree in finance.

How much does an Investment Banker (Equity Analyst) make?

Starting salary: $90-100,000 per year

5-year salary: $150-300,000 per year

+10-year salary: $300-1m per year

Source


Investment Banker (M&A)

blue-work-harder-neon-signWhat does an Investment Banker (M&A) do?

An Investment Banker within M&A work with the management and owners of a company in sales processes. As such, the Investment Banker handles the entire process from drafting time plans and preparing documentation, to negotiating with potential purchasers. This process usually takes around six months and is very time intensive.

Typical assignments include:

  • Preparing market reports
  • Preparing high level financials of a company
  • Valuation of a company through relative valuation, DCF and LBO

The word Investment Banker is somewhat misleading as the investment banker does not do any investing himself. Instead, an Investment Banker within M&A should be seen as a consultant, that is specialized in giving advice in M&A processes.

Hours: At junior level it is usually +80 hours per week

Here’s a quick overview of a typical day.

How do you become an Investment Banker (M&A)?

Most backgrounds within M&A are financial. However, it is not uncommon to see IT, engineering and pharmaceutical backgrounds to work within teams dedicated to these sectors.

How much does an Investment Banker (M&A) make?

Being an investment banker within M&A is one of the most highly sought after jobs in the financial industry. Further it often involves grueling hours and a result of these two, it is the highest paying job within finance (and pretty much any industry) you can get with an undergraduate degree.

Starting salary: $100-120,000 per year

5-year salary: $200-400,000 per year

+10-year salary: +$400,000 per year

Source


Investor Relations (Listed company)

champagneWhat does a IR representative do?

Investor Relation jobs is a specialized job that only exists in medium and large listed companies. In smaller listed companies, IR functions will usually be handled by the CFO or other administrative personnel.

Typical assignments include:

  • Responsible for drafting material to be used when presenting the quarterly and annual reports.
  • Track and analyze research on the company
  • Track movements in the stock price and ownership

Up to quarterly reports it is +60 hours, otherwise approx. 45 hours per week.

Here’s a quick write-up of the job.

How do you become an IR representative?

The majority of IR professionals have an undergraduate degree in business or finance. Further, there are a significant number of individuals with backgrounds in communication or marketing.

How much does a IR representative make?

Starting salary: $50-60,000 per year

5-year salary: Up to $100,000 per year

+10-year salary: $200-800,000 per year (upper range depending on size of company)

Source: FinanceFluent.com


Investor Relations (Private Equity)

black-and-white-city-man-peopleWhat does an IR employee in PE do?

During PE fundraising, the IR employee is responsible for coordinating the fundraising efforts and as such, it is a very time intensive process with a lot of travel activity.

Usually, the IR individual will accompany the Managing Partner as they travel the globe looking to raise money.

During non-fundraising times (the majority of time) typical assignments include:

  • Responsible for all communication with investors.
  • This includes phone calls, mails and preparing material for the investors
  • As such, the IR becomes the face of the fund to the investors

Hours: Long and intense (+70) in fundraising and between 50-60 hours per week outside of fundraising.

The Vault has more on the job.

How do you become an IR employee in PE?

Normally, people have a background in business and finance and are likely to have been on the investment teams in PE, but decided to take another role. As you are selling the PE fund to investors, often in one-on-one situations, you need to be very knowledgeable of investment processes and a background in investments thus helps.

How much does an IR employee in PE make?

The role of an IR professional in PE varies a lot. Some are full bodied members of the team and are part of the investment committee and receive carry while others have roles that are more in line with IR functions in listed companies. As such there is also a large variation in wages across firms.

Starting salary: Not an entry level position

5-year salary: $100-200,000 per year

+10-year salary: +$300,000 per year

Source: FinanceFluent.com


Macro economist

sky-vehicle-technology-powerWhat does a macro economist do?

A macro economist is responsible for studying and forecasting the development in national and global economies.

Typical assignments include:

  • Forecast unemployment, GDP and interest rates
  • Work with government officials and lobbyist to influence policy

Economists are usually employed by banks, governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Macro economists usually work 40-50 hours per week.

Schmoop has more on it.

How do you become a macro economist?

Macro economists usually have a degree in economics. As the job is quite mathematical and quantitative in practice, there are also students from engineering, mathematics and physics within the field.

How much does a macro economist make?

Like college professors, most macro economists are publicly employed with relatively low wages. However, there are a few handful who transition to top positions in non-governmental organization (like OECD, IMF, etc.) with high pay checks.

Starting salary: $40-60,000 per year

5-year salary: $70-100,000 per year

+10-year salary: $100-150,000 per year

Source


Management consultant

people-coffee-tea-meetingWhat does a management consultant do?

Management consultants works with the very highest level of an organization, typically the Board, CEO and CFO. Junior members of consultancy firms will typically be staffed on 2-6 months’ project. The aim of these projects will often be to help set a new strategic path for a company or implement operational improvements.

Typical assignments include:

  • Making market reports
  • Analyze company operations to find improvement areas
  • Identifying new channels in which to sell products

Hourts: Consulting is not a 9-5 job and it often requires long hours and considerable amount of time away from home.

Forbes has an article about the day in a life of a McKinsey consultant.

How do you become a management consultant?

There is no set career patch to becoming a management consultant. With that said, there is an overweight of people with a business degree, but generally consultancy is a not a degree-specific industry.

How much does a management consultant make?

Management consultant is one of the most highly sought after jobs in the financial industry. This is reflected in the starting salary which is amongst the highest one can get. Consulting firms employ the up-or-out strategy and thus most individuals will only last 2-3 years in the industry.

Starting salary: $75-100,000 per year

5-year salary: $150-300,000 per year

+10-year salary: +$400,000 per year

Source


Mutual Fund Analyst

city-skyline-1What does a mutual fund analyst do?

The role of a fund analyst is similar to that of a hedge fund analyst. The main difference is, that in a mutual fund you are limited to buying companies in stock and you cannot short sell stock.

As a fund analyst, you will:

  • Conduct deep analysis on stocks to figure out whether they are undervalued or overvalued
  • In doing your analysis you will talk to company management, suppliers, customer and so on
  • Combine this with desktop research to come up with an investment thesis.

The work week is 45-55 hours per week.

Schmoop has more on the job.

How do you become a mutual fund analyst?

Most fund analysts will have a background in equity research or an equity analyst at an Investment Bank. Further, people with M&A or a Management Consulting background also becomes fund analysts.

How much does a mutual fund analyst?

Compared to hedge fund analysts, the salary as a fund analyst is lower.

Starting salary: $60-75,000 per year

5 year salary: $100-150,000 per year

+10 year salary: $150,000-400,000 per year

Source


Private Equity Associate

party-glass-architecture-windowsWhat does a private equity associate do?

A Private Equity firm buys companies and owns them for 3-7 years before selling them again. As a Private Equity Associate you can expect to be involved in all three areas.

Typical assignments include:

  • In buying companies, you will be responsible for doing various analysis of the company during due diligence.
  • In owning companies, you will be responsible for engaging with companies and driving strategic initiatives.
  • In selling companies, you will be part of the exit process to ensure everything goes as planned. This is, after all, where you get your money back (and more) from the investment.

Hours: +60 per week should be expected.

This article gives a great breakdown of the job.

How do you become a private equity associate?

Normally, PE Associates will do two years of investment banking or management consulting before starting a PE career.

After two years of PE, the pattern is to leave for business school. If you have done a good job at the PE firm, you will be invited back two become a vice president or similar after finishing business school.

How much does a private equity associate make?

Being a Private Equity Associate in a Buyout Fund is one of the most, if not the most lucrative job you can have at an early stage of your career.

Starting salary (after two years of M&A): 150-250,000$ per year

5-year salary: $300-600,000 per year (VP level)

+10-year salary: +1m$ per year (Partner level)

Source


Professor

man-desk-notebook-officeWhat does a professor do?

We believe you already know what a professor does.

In case you don’t, the answer is:

  • Teach
  • Research
  • Write books, if the professor is well known

Hours: In theory you set them yourself. In practice, usually between 40-50 hours per week.

Here’s a write-up of what the job entails.

How do you become a professor?

Get good grades and apply for a masters and Ph.D. programme. After doing this, you can finally become a professor.

How much does a professor make?

Being a professor is not lucrative in general. However, there is a small minority who earns large amount outside of their college wage through board positions and publishing books. Both of these sources can be extremely lucrative.

Starting salary: $30-50,000 per year (adjunct professor after having done a master and Ph.D.

5-year salary: $50-70,000 per year

+10-year salary: $70-100,000 per year

Source


Risk Analyst

workspace-coworking-desks-officeWhat does a Risk Analyst do?

Risk analysts usually work for banks and insurance companies analyzing and managing the downside risk. Typical assignments include:

  • Creating internal reports
  • Audit and analyze data on an aggregate level
  • Ensuring best practice is in place to prevent excessive risk taking

As an example: In a bank, a risk analyst would analyze what would happen to the bank if another subprime crisis were to happen.

Hours: Usually 40 per week

Quantnet has more on the job.

How do you become a Risk Analyst?

Risk analysts usually have a background and auditing, finance or business

How much does a Risk Analyst make?

The pay does not rise considerably with experience as a risk analyst. Normally, people will move on to manager roles after a number of years.

Starting salary: $40-50,000 per year

5-year salary: $50-60,000 per year

+10-year salary: $70-90,000 per year

Source


Stock Broker

black-blue-and-red-graph-illustrationWhat does a stock broker do?

Historically, the most important job of the stock broker is to act as the link between buyers and sellers on the stock market.

As these processes have become taken over by computers, the role of stock brokers have changed as well.

Typical assignments include:

  • Give advise to clients in regards to their stock portfolio
  • Conduct very large trades where you “can’t just put it all in at once”

Hours: The work week follows the opening and closing of stock markets plus a buffer in both ends. As such the work week is approx. 45 hours.

Stock Charts has an in-depth article covering the life of a stock broker.

How do you become a stock broker?

Stock brokers usually have an undergraduate degree in finance or business.

How much does a stock broker make?

As it is very easy to judge the value a stock broker brings, commission is up to two-thirds of the salary and as such, salaries will be quite varied.

Starting salary: $40-75,000 per year

5-year salary: $75-100,000 per year

+10-year salary: $100-300,000 per year

Source


Trader

green-tinted-window-glass-panelWhat does a trader do?

Historically a trader looked at a lot of screens and tried to spot patterns in the market, trying to spot trends and benefit from these. As such, potential profits were huge.

Today more and more trading is being taken over by computers. This has more or less eliminated the historical trader position above. However, someone needs to program these computers and that is the traders job today. As such, it is becoming much more quantitative.

Typical assignments include:

  • Analyze high level data through the use of software
  • Create and write algorithms to benefit from inefficiencies in the market

Hours: Traders usually work approx. 60 hours per week and get in an hour or two before the market opens and leaves an hour or two after it closes.

Here’s a great article about the job.

How do you become a trader?

There are of course many with a finance degree within trading, however, as there is a lot of highly quantitative backgrounds such as mathematics, engineering and IT.

How much does a trader make?

As it is easy to see a link between a trader’s work and output, salaries can vary wildly and is less dependent on seniority than in other professions. In other words, trading is really lucrative if you are really good.

With that said there are of course still patterns listed below.

Starting salary: $50-75,000 per year

5-year salary: 100-150,000$ per year

+10-year salary: +150,000$ per year

Source


Venture Capitalist

business-freelancer-start-new-yearIn a venture capital fund, the focus is on finding companies with a huge growth potential and invest in these.

Typical assignments include:

  • In the early years as a venture capitalist, you will do a lot of modelling and market research.
  • In the latter years, you will not do this anymore, instead you will be out networking to source new deals and investments.

Hours: +60 per week should be expected.

Creandum has more on the daily life as a venture capitalist.

How do you become a Venture Capitalist?

Normally, Venture Capitalists will do two years of investment banking or management consulting before starting in a venture fund.

After two years in the venture capital fund, the pattern is to leave for business school. If you have done a good job at the VC firm, you will be invited back two become a vice president or similar after finishing business school.

How much does a venture capitalist make?

Being a venture capitalist is one of the most lucrative jobs in finance and ranks just below the pay levels in Private Equity Buyouts and Hedge Funds.

Starting salary: $150-200,000 per year (after doing two years of M&A)

5-year salary: $300-500,000 per year (VP level)

+10-year salary: +1m$ per year (Partner level)

Source


Methodology

For salary we have used a variety of sources listed below. We have used the salary estimates as guidelines and at our own discretion adjusted based on our own experiences in the industry.

http://www.payscale.com/

http://www.bls.gov

http://www.census.gov

http://salary.com

Careers in finance: The complete list (20+ jobs)

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