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Working in Corporate Finance: What to Expect and How to Get There

Posted by James Thompson

A role in Corporate Finance gives you the opportunity to be at the centre of how a business operates. Playing an active role in the commercial success of a business is both exciting and challenging and can be a very rewarding career choice. But what can you expect from a career in Corporate Finance, and how difficult is the jump?

If you want to be at the heart of what makes businesses tick then a career in Corporate Finance might be the right path for you. You will get to see first-hand how organisations source funding, handle capital and complete takeovers and your role will cover a broad range of activities which are primarily concerned with transactions in which capital is raised in order to increase the value of the company or clients you are responsible for.

There are a number of professional roles that fall under the umbrella of Corporate Finance in which you could find yourself working on a wide range of matters including mergers & acquisitions, raising startup or expansion capital, or financing joint ventures. As Corporate Finance is so integral to business and covers such a wide range of duties, the opportunities are vast.

Roles can vary depending on the firm and the team you sit within, but typically you will work within transaction support of M&A or lead advisory, although more firms are beginning to offer hybrid roles which allow you to develop a broader skillset early on in your career. Many choose to qualify then remain as an advisor within an accountancy firm, or you can choose to make the move into a professional services company, whether this is an investment bank, brokerage firm or independent advisory firm.

A role in Corporate Finance is forward-thinking, strategic, proactive and entrepreneurial in nature, and if you have good commercial awareness and a natural interest in business, it could be the right career path for you!


How can you make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance?

We often find that people with an academic background in accounting & finance or economics are suited to a career in Corporate Finance. While no other specific qualifications are needed, we are seeing a rise in the number of people taking specialised financial modelling courses and having your ACA/ACCA/CFA will put you in a strong position and give you the necessary foundations to understand the fundamentals. Corporate Finance is a popular choice for lots of chartered accountants which, naturally, means there is a lot of competition - you will most likely find the market is swamped with your fellow audit and advisory colleagues as well as existing employees of banks, boutiques, and Big 4 M&A teams that may rank ahead of you as the ‘ideal’ Corporate Finance candidate.

There are things you can do to help the progression of your own Corporate Finance career. You could move to an established firm with a large Corporate Finance division which provides the opportunity for secondments or ad hoc exposure. Training within the Audit team of an accountancy firm and studying for your ACA/ACCA will allow you to establish foundations that make the move into Corporate Finance more natural. Search for exposure that will differentiate you from other members of the audit team, develop your soft skills, and focus on the professional qualifications that will stand you in good stead when it comes to applying for the Corporate Finance roles available.

Here at Pro-Finance, we have helped candidates make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance, whether this is because we have placed the Partner they are meeting and they want to recruit externally, or because it’s a specialist boutique and they only take candidates with top-notch academics and experience from top-tier firms. Speaking to a specialist recruiter about your options in the market and the opportunities available can put you in a good position, help you stand out from the crowd, and help you to plan your career path in Corporate Finance.


For more information on this article, or to speak to James about your next career step into Corporate Finance, contact him on 020 7269 6365 or james.thompson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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