Top 4 most competitive financial careers

Many employers struggle to find strong candidates for the jobs vacated by the baby boomers after they retire. These jobs require an average of more than 7 years of experience, and some employers cannot imagine replacing employees who may have more than 20 years of experience in the field with employees with only 5 years of experience. If your finance career goals include high salaries and a reputation for working for a well-known Wall Street company, then you will need to learn how to meet the expectations of employers in some of the most competitive areas of finance.

Some financial recruiters believe that the most difficult and competitive positions include financial directors (including hedge fund financial directors), tax managers, fund and senior accountants, and valuation analysts. Let’s explore the responsibilities of each position and what employers are looking for among potential candidates for these positions.

Key points

  • One of the most competitive fields is finance, which requires specific and unique hard and soft skills to work on Wall Street.
  • Finance recruiters have identified the following positions as the most competitive positions: chief financial officer (including hedge fund chief financial officer), tax manager, fund and senior accountant, and valuation analyst.
  • Almost all of these roles require the title of CPA, and an MBA is very beneficial.

1. Controller


The controller keeps the company’s financial planning, debt financing, and budget management in order. They set financial rules, including choosing accounting methods and ensuring that generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are followed. The controller works for banks, companies, and governments. They motivate their team from time to time and ensure that they complete high-quality work within the specified time.


The education of the controller requires a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a major in finance or accounting. It also requires the title of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In addition, most employers prefer candidates for the position of chief financial officer with 5 to 10 years of experience in senior finance or accounting positions.


A special type of controller is the hedge fund controller. According to some recruiters, this position is difficult to obtain because it requires 8 to 10 years of work experience in a large fund. In addition, job seekers must be at risk of working in bad debt.

2. Tax Manager


The tax manager supervises tax reporting and planning. They ensure that tax returns are complete and accurate to reduce the organization’s tax liability. Tax managers must also ensure that their company complies with federal, state, local, and international tax laws.


The senior tax manager position also requires a certified public accountant and an MBA specializing in accounting or taxation.


Most employers prefer at least five years of experience, but senior positions usually require seven years of experience in the public and corporate environment. John Gramer, managing director of The Mergis Group in New York City, found that tax managers were difficult to hire because some people were unwilling to make changes. He believes that the key to success lies in the professionalization of the field.

3. Funds and senior accountants


Accountants check financial trends, operations and costs. They analyze financial reports to pay close attention to the state of the organization’s assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax arrears, and financial activities.


Manpower spokesperson Mark Sterling (Mark Sterling) said that managers are looking for someone with an accounting degree and at least two to five years of work experience, preferably a certified public accountant, but most people do not meet these qualifications.


According to recruiters, the most competitive positions in the accounting field include accountant managers of private equity funds, senior accountants and fund accountant managers. Mergis Group NYC managing director John Gramer explained that some employers expect fund accountant managers to have three to five years of experience in private equity companies, investment banks, and hedge funds. In addition, he said that most of these accountants were born in public accounting.

4. Valuation Analyst


The business valuation analyst determines the value of the business or the interests of the owner (for example, when to buy or sell the business). The analyst must have a good understanding of accounting, taxation, economics, and finance.


Analysts need to have a certified public accountant to be certified.

Gramer said the qualifications for this position include a strong background in mathematics. He suggested that applicants wait for long-term growth opportunities.

Tips for finding a job

Role-specific capabilities are one of the necessary capabilities for financial employers. Believe it or not, a strong educational background is not their main focus for obtaining these competitive jobs. Employers want sufficient and specific real-world experience. They are also looking for candidates with “soft skills” such as good communication and the ability to translate industry terms.

For these senior positions, the company has the ability to pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in salary. Faced with such a huge amount of funds, they must carefully evaluate the talents and skills of candidates. Increase your chances of getting a job by following these three tips:

  1. Internet: Job seekers may find it difficult to find vacancies for some of these senior positions, and these positions may not be advertised in newspapers. The best way to find them is through the Internet. Recruiters recommend participating in industry-related activities, joining industry organizations, and logging in to social networking sites.
  2. Obtain advanced education and professional certificates: Many jobs require certified public accountants or other industry-recognized certifications. Also, remember that getting a degree does not end your education-keeping up with changes in the industry and technological advancement is the key.
  3. Cultivate “soft skills”: These positions require leadership and strong communication skills. Join a local volunteer organization now and practice in a role that enables you to lead and work in a team environment. Look for opportunities to develop and improve your speaking and presentation skills by joining a speaking club or taking classes.

Bottom line

Strategic thinking, excellent communication skills and industry-specific skills will ultimately help you not only get one of these competitive jobs, but once the job belongs to you, you will also be successful.


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