Once a finance professional reaches the point of having six years’ post-qualified experience, the world of accountancy and finance jobs opens up. This is a point at which it is possible to move sideways between related career paths to explore changing interests, to take on overall responsibility for a group of finance departments, or to become the senior financial director in a company. It is an exciting time, but finding and winning the right job requires careful thought and preparation.

available roles
There are a variety of roles to consider at this stage. These are among the most prominent:
  • Financial manager - overseeing the financial processes of an organisation, forecasting, reporting and scheduling. Requires a flexible individual who can cope with everything from cash flow management to financially focused negotiation with competitors.
  • Business analyst - analysing organisations, determining their needs and objectives and developing strategies to enable them to operate more effectively. Requires an astute, critical thinker with a natural aptitude for problem solving.
  • Audit manager - evaluating financial operations within an organisation to ensure that they meet regulatory requirements, company policies and industry standards, plus overseeing annual audit plans. Requires an efficient, detail-focused individual.
  • Tax manager - focusing specifically on bringing financial processes into line with tax requirements and ensuring that all payments are made on time, as well as identifying and resolving any overpayment issues. Requires strong technical expertise.
  • Risk manager - analysing business operations to identify risks, identifying technological and asset-related risks and implementing necessary changes. Requires an incisive individual with a broad knowledge of business processes.

training and progress requirements
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for each of these positions, along with professional business finance qualifications. Candidates will stand a much better chance if they have undertaken training courses during their careers to ensure their skills remain up to date and, where applicable, to broaden their knowledge of business management in general and financial operations in particular. It is an advantage for a candidate to have experience of working within more than one organisation - the more different in structure, the better.

further information for candidates
Salaries in these senior level positions are usually in the range of £40,000 to £60,000, dependent on experience and on the size of the hiring organisation. Smaller organisations can be a good choice for ambitious workers who hope to advance still further, as they often provide the opportunity to take a leading role and really make one’s mark.

Most finance roles at this level require long hours of work and, because they involve project work and fitting in with government deadlines, may require extensive evening and weekend work during busy periods. Flexibility is essential. They involve a lot of responsibility, but often provide outlets for creativity and a sense of real achievement, so they can be highly rewarding on an emotional level. They are an ideal stepping stone for those who want to move into senior finance roles in large companies.