Login below to access our online services for members, students and business partners.
Andrew Setchell, director of commerce at Robert Walters, talks about a commercial role in this interesting sector.
Financial analyst roles immediately attract interest and are very popular with all types of accountants.
But with popularity comes strong competition for the best positions. Employers are very specific in their requirements and CIMA members will need to work hard to secure their preferred role.
The good news is that CIMA members definitely have the edge over other accountants by the very nature of their commercially-focused training. They also tend to have much more relevant budgeting and planning exposure. This is a key aspect of the role as analysts work at the forefront of the business with the purpose of maximising the commercial development of an organisation.
The financial analyst controls current and future financial information and acts as the communication point between finance and the rest of the business - it’s one of the reasons why we see so much interest in these positions. It takes accountants away from straight accounting into a more broad-based role. Read about other roles in demand in accountancy.
CultureWorking within media is a big draw and offers a unique creative atmosphere not often found in the more corporate world. You could find yourself working in advertising, PR, retail or entertainment, working at the heart of a dynamic business. You will also be exposed to topical industry issues - for example, working in entertainment at the moment gives you exposure to issues like DVD piracy and the evolution of digital and online channels.
Working with other departmentsFinancial analysts work closely with different departments in a group. If you are working at an advertising conglomerate for example, you would liaise with all the group’s advertising agencies from a financial planning perspective.
It’s not for everyone and you do need to be really comfortable in a creative environment working with very different characters and personalities. CIMA members shouldn’t be afraid of taking a role on a temporary to permanent basis to find out if the atmosphere suits them and it’s an increasingly popular entry point to a longer-term career.
Thought about contracting?More and more employers are seeking analysts on a contract basis. By opening yourself up to this option you will give yourself the best chance of getting a role. You should also consider the type of organisation to maximise your career options. Working in media can often give you access to a global career. If this is important to you, ensure you choose a conglomerate operating on a subsidiary model. With a smaller, stand-alone agency it’s harder to make the switch up to a larger agency later on.
Even if you are working for a global media conglomerate you will often find yourself working in a smaller business area or subsidiary. This is a key attraction for many CIMA members – getting that small company feel with large company opportunities. It can also give you earlier exposure to wider aspects of the business than you might experience at a FTSE 100 business.
CV adviceGiven it’s such a competitive area, you really do need that all-important ‘stand out’ on your CV. If you can show relevant industry experience or work placements, you will be at an advantage. Even if you haven’t had direct exposure to the specific industry you want to work in, if you can show for example, how you’ve dealt with lots of subsidiaries at a group level, you will give yourself the best chance of getting an interview.
Any international experience will also help you get that proverbial foot in the door. Given the nature of the role, great communication skills and the ability to develop working relationships are absolutely essential. I’d also say that preparation for interview is also key – you can’t leave anything to chance in such a competitive market. View all our CV advice.
Career opportunitiesGood career opportunities are on offer in media and a common career route is to move into a broader group role. Many financial analysts also go on to take responsibility for an entire agency or alternatively become group financial controllers or the FD in a smaller business.
Finally, candidates should remember that while being an analyst is an exciting role in an exciting industry, you still need high level analytical ability (it’s still an accounting role at heart) as well as a high degree of commercial acumen to really thrive.
What's happening in the accountancy jobs market?To search for the latest accountancy jobs, visit the Robert Walters website.
LinksCIMA MY JOBS