Jobs in finance are growing. Collectively, 16 occupations like bookkeepers and financial analysts have added over 430,000 new jobs since 2011, shooting from 5.3 million to 5.7 million. That’s 8% growth—in other words, eye-catching! The pay is compelling too. With median salaries from $35K to $120K, financial careers are presenting bright opportunities for budget-lovers owning strong math and analytical skills.
Let’s take a closer look at one of these occupations: certified public accountant. We sat down with Mark, the senior wealth preservation advisor and co-founder of a CPA firm, to discover more about his job and the journey he took to get there.
Mark, how did you reach your current role? What education and/or experience did you need?
My formal education includes a bachelor’s degree in business/accounting, and a master’s in business taxation. More important, my work experience and continued professional education allowed me to achieve my current status. Prior to co-founding the firm, I was also a partner/principal with two national CPA firms.
What specific skills are required for the job?
Required skills include:
- expertise in area of practice
- understanding your client’s business or personal situation/financial needs
- ability to analyze complex client issues and provide alternate solutions
- ability to explain and deliver those solutions to clients
- good judgment
- ability to remain calm
- people skills
- listening, writing, speaking
What is a typical work day for you?
A typical work day usually ends up different than expected. That is because an advisory role requires you to respond to client needs, and a single phone call or email can change the course of the day. However, a “typical” day will included reviewing and responding to emails and messages, reviewing the status of ongoing projects, supervising and mentoring staff, never-ending learning, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
What do you love most about your job?
The interaction with clients and co-workers, and the fact that each day brings something new.
What advice would you give someone interested in this occupation?
The best advice I’d give is this: Gain as much varied job experiences in as many different industries as possible. Even though I am a tax and business advisor, I sought experience in basic accounting and was even a staff auditor. Also, no matter what area of accounting or consulting you’re in, it is critical to learn as much about your client’s business or personal situation as possible. Lastly, I have the following adage: “Treat your client’s business as if it was your own.”