Corporate Financing: An Overview of Corporate Finance Careers

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Most companies are in the business of making money, but what happens to that money once it’s earned? Who makes the decisions on how to manage it, maximizing its potential while minimizing any risk? This important aspect of business falls to those who work in corporate financing. Those in corporate finance careers are responsible for ensuring the financial stability of their company while also planning out its future. As businesses adapt to technological changes, those working in corporate financing must also adapt to evolving research and analytics. Due to constant changes in the field, it is important for those interested in corporate financing to advance their education and continue developing key skills that are necessary for the job.

Students and professionals who are interested in furthering their education and preparing for careers in corporate financing may choose to look into an online Master of Business Administration.

What is the Role of Corporate Financing?

Corporate financing includes two key functions: accounting and finance. These are equally important but different. While accounting oversees the details of a company’s day-to-day business, finance looks at the bigger picture.

An accountant will track revenue and expenses, manage the balance sheet, and track the data to ensure the company’s compliance with financial statement obligations. Conversely, a finance professional will analyze the accountant’s data to formulate recommendations about the most effective use of the company’s capital to maximize its return. The finance professional advises on earnings, costs, investments, and assists in the growth of the company often through external acquisitions and internal investments.

Even though accounting and finance can be seen as separate roles in corporate financing, they are two sides of the same coin; the budgeting and data from the accountant inform the projections and recommendations of the finance professional.

Those in corporate finance careers are in charge of the financial management of their companies. Among their many responsibilities, they may assess proposals and make decisions about projects. Since proposed projects can be carried out in different ways, financial professionals also weigh the cost analysis of a project and evaluate which option will deliver the most cost-efficient result.

Since corporate finance professionals can make significant decisions that can alter the trajectory of their companies, they are considered business leaders and leaders in their field.

How to Pursue a Corporate Finance Career

The field of corporate financing extends from accountants to financial analysts. While different employers will have different expectations, the minimum requirement to be hired is usually a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, finance, or a related field. For many corporate finance careers, employers are looking for professionals who hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or similar graduate degree.

Some professionals, such as accountants, must become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) after earning their degrees before they can assume certain positions. On the other hand, some professionals, such as budget analysts, do not usually need a license or certification to work. Other careers, such as that of a financial analyst, would do well to attain certification through additional examinations that can lead to the title of Chartered Financial Analyst. Since corporate finance careers are involved with a company’s fiscal integrity, many employers will have their employees earn a security license, such as a license through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Salaries and Career Growth of Some Corporate Finance Careers

While there are many careers in corporate financing, it may help to understand the salaries and current career growth of a few different positions. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants make a median annual salary of $70,500. The job outlook is projected to grow by 6% between 2018-2028.

The job outlook for budget analysts is slightly less, projected to grow 4% between 2018-2028, which matches the average projected growth of most jobs.

Budget analysts make a median annual salary of $76,220. Another corporate finance career is that of financial analysts, who make a median annual salary of $85,660. Like the job outlook for accountants, the outlook for financial analysts is projected to grow 6% between 2018-2028.

Skills Required for Corporate Finance Careers

Jobs in corporate financing require strong analytical and quantitative skills. Knowing how to collect, manipulate, analyze, and interpret numerical data—along with being able to problem solve and think critically about data—is crucial. Companies look to those in corporate finance careers to translate revenue figures and trends, expenses, profit, cash flow, and investments to help guide decisions. To succeed in corporate financing, professionals must not only possess a keen attention to detail but the ability to “see past the numbers.” They must comprehend financial data at a high level and understand both its day-to-day and long-term impact.

Additionally, finance professionals should stay current in the industry, keeping up with market conditions, economic forecasts, and trends. External factors such as these are just as important to a company’s financial decisions as a company’s internal operations and circumstances.

Those in corporate finance careers should also understand cash management and risk management, as they often play a role in negotiating fiscal terms and investing the company’s assets.

Preparing for a Corporate Finance Career

While the educational requirements for corporate finance careers can vary across different companies, organizations, and industries, many employers look for individuals who have an advanced degree. Students and professionals who are seeking to advance their careers may wish to explore Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Administration.

The program understands the needs of today’s top employers and how to prepare students to meet those demands. The coursework is uniquely suited to help students and professionals advance their careers. The comprehensive curriculum is taught 100% online, there is no GMAT required for admission, and students may choose from one of four concentrations: Business Analytics, Executive Management, Health Care, or Finance.

An Ohio University MBA is designed to help you improve your professional value to employers, and better position you to take advantage of future business opportunities. By choosing a concentration that best fits your career goals, you can maximize the return on your most valuable professional investment — your career in corporate financing.

Recommended Reading

Ohio University Blog, “Career Comparison: Chief Accounting Officer vs. Controller”
Ohio University Blog, “MSM vs. MBA: Which Degree is Right for You?”
Ohio University Blog, “10 Steps to Starting a Business”


Association for Financial Professionals, “Corporate Finance Job Descriptions” 
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam 
Forbes, “Five Ways To Future-Proof The Finance Function” 
Ohio University, Masters Business Administration Admission Requirements
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Budget Analysts 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts