There are a range of opportunities available to newly qualified ACAs across investment banking, asset management, private equity and more specialist financial services houses.
- Management accounting, business partners, financial planning and analysis
- Product control
- Financial accounting, financial control, legal entity control
- Accounting policy
- Corporate finance
- Investment analysis
Management accounting/business analysis/business partnering
These roles involve working closely with senior management to analyse and review financial information. Key to this is developing an understanding of what is drives the business so as to enable rapid and successful growth of the organisation. You will also be expected to play a leading role in determining business and financial performance through financial strategy, integrating it with the business strategy and setting appropriate targets and challenges.
This role demands a combination of analytical, investigative, and communication skills and is critical to tracking the success of the trading activities of the bank. The position demands a technical understanding of cash products and derivatives. In addition, it further requires a commercial understanding of the accounting, regulatory and operational framework of the bank. The challenge is to ensure a seamless control of trading performance/ activities and trading platform that requires working with all areas of the bank (front office, middle office, accounting and regulatory). The area has a tradition of adding value to the business and is an ideal entry point for newly qualified accountants to develop technical banking mindsets suitable for valuation and risk management.
Finance governance and control is a key area of focus in the current economic climate, as banks seek greater clarity and transparency in financial reporting. The focus of the role is on financial reporting, using IFRS and local GAAP. In addition it is about implementing the most appropriate level of control within a framework that supports decision making within the business to achieve its strategy. The role will give you interaction to a number of stakeholders across finance, risk and operations. It is a high exposure role and will easily facilitate a later move into other areas within the bank.
This is a more technical area which provides support and guidance to the finance and risk management functions on technical accounting issues. This could include reviewing accounting opinions on complex transactions to ensure compliance with the bank’s accounting policies. The function also provides technical support on the implementation of new accounting standards to finance and business teams. You will be expected to actively accumulate extensive and detailed knowledge of IFRS, and be a source of expert advice to business and finance management around the bank.
Internal audit will give you an unrivalled understanding of risks and controls combined with exposure across business groups and products, thereby forming an excellent platform for progression. It will also allow you to apply the skills that you have developed in practice in a consultative manner, analysing risks to the business and the internal control structure. On a day-to-day basis your role will comprise of meeting with the internal clients to get an understanding of their processes; identifying process improvements and presenting these back to them.
Furthermore your interaction across the bank will be significant and you will gain exposure to all areas and across all products. You will also be: interacting with senior client contacts on a frequent basis and developing excellent communication, leadership and problem solving skills. We have numerous examples of candidates being rotated out to other business units due to the exposure and relationship interface you have.
The front office team has consistent demand for newly qualified ACAs. Primary areas of demand include M&A, corporate broking, restructuring and equity research and clients can range from international investment banks, UK brokers and niche boutiques. Ideally profiles would include a strong academic record and first time passes; for corporate finance, some type of transactional experience is extremely helpful.
Since the credit crunch arose, treasury has been a key function at the very core of the revival of the financial services industry. Managing the institution's capital, funding and liquidity requirements- in light of the new regulatory regime- have been at the forefront of every institution’s agenda. Chartered accountants with a highly inquisitive nature, quantitative academic background and a genuine and demonstrable interest in the financial markets will be able to pursue a number of career paths across a wide variety of treasury disciplines.
Risk management is a key function underpinning the operation of any financial institution, particularly following the turmoil of the past two-years. Chartered accountants with a highly quantitative academic background an interest in banking and financial services are constantly in demand and are seen as high value add employees in this business critical area of the bank.
Michael Page consultants can advise on recommended reading required for this area.
Fund accounting/ Investment analysis
Fund accounting is a great choice for those with a strong interest in finance within hedge funds, private equity or asset managers. As most funds tend to have a much smaller headcount than a bank, accountants in this area work in very close proximity with the investment side of the business creating a very exciting and dynamic working atmosphere. As a vital part of a smaller firm, fund accountants calculate the net asset value (NAV) of the funds, which is the most important metric investors use to deem the fund’s overall performance and success.
The product areas fund accountants have exposure to can vary enormously from vanilla products and equities, to complex OTC derivatives. It is also the most typical route through which qualified accountants progress to a financial controller, and eventually CFO level within the hedge fund and private equity industry.