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When it comes to a career, not many offer versatility and lucrative benefits like the finance industry. If you have an aptitude for numbers, putting those skills to work can really pay off. The demand for finance professionals is both high and continually growing, and the opportunities for advancement in the field are practically limitless.

Regarding return on investment, finance degrees have some of the highest return rates of all college majors. A bachelor’s degree in business finance has a return rate of a whopping 710% and accounting has a return rate of 547%. Additionally, you don’t need extensive work experience to earn a reasonably high salary if you're just entering the finance industry. According to Forbes, finance, accounting, economics, and business are among the top 20 college majors with the highest starting salaries, with an average of $50,000-$54,000 for an entry-level position.

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“Finance is a great field!  There are multiple opportunities for growth and advancement, and the knowledge obtained will help you no matter what direction your professional life takes. Personally, I could always crunch numbers, but finishing my degree provided me the skills for how best to interpret and present the numbers for good forecasting and decision making.” 

Susan Fulton

Chief Financial Officer for the Endowment for Health and Health Strategies of New Hampshire

For the most part, organizational success pivots based on one major element: numbers. Regardless of industry, all companies need a strong financial strategy and a solid business model to thrive. This is essential to keep operations running consistently, earning profit, and ultimately working toward a mission. Assessing and maintaining a company's financial health involves both a strategic mindset and familiarity with revenue streams. That’s where finance professionals come in.

5 Career Options in Finance   

If you’re interested in a career focused on numbers, there are many different options to choose from. Earning a finance-focused business degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be locked into a career in the finance industry.

A finance degree is an open door to working in virtually any industry, as finance professionals are needed everywhere. Your options are limitless, and you can work in a wide range of different industries, including hospitality and travel, nonprofits, sports, health care, politics, education, tech, and many more.

Below, we discuss a few of the most common finance roles available throughout various industries. 

1. Accountant

Accountants are responsible for keeping and interpreting the financial records of a business. This includes performing financial account analysis to ensure that financial accounts are accurate and in order, general review of financial operations, preparing tax returns, advising on risk areas, and more. Accountants may have one primary client or many, and work at all kinds of companies, from small local businesses to large corporations. 

  • Average Salary: $77,250
  • Job Growth Potential 2021-2031: six percent

2. Personal Finance Advisor

Personal finance advisors help people manage their money and plan for their future. They help create actionable plans to help people achieve their financial goals, such as buying real estate, investing, and planning for retirement. Personal finance advisors are often self-employed, or choose to work in finance firms.

  • Average Salary: $94,170
  • Job Growth Potential 2021-2031: 15 percent

3. Financial Analyst

Financial analysts conduct research to inform investing and spending decisions to maintain profits for companies. This includes research, assembling spreadsheets, writing reports, and assessing a company's financial history and trends. Financial analysts typically work in settings like banks, investment companies, and other large companies.

  • Average Salary: $95,570
  • Job Growth Potential 2021-2031: nine percent

4. Financial Examiner

Financial examiners ensure that banks and financial institutions comply with laws and regulations. There are two main areas of specialization for this profession: consumer compliance and risk assessment. Consumer compliance focuses on ensuring that institutions are offering fair loans to borrowers, and that borrowers are not being offered predatory loans. Risk assessment focuses on analyzing the overall health of a financial institution and ensures the company is offering safe, sustainable loans.  

  • Average Salary: $82,200
  • Job Growth Potential 2022-2032: 20 percent

5. Financial Manager / Chief Financial Officer

Financial managers and CFOs oversee all financial operations of a company. They’re responsible for ensuring that companies achieve their financial goals. This includes tasks such as creating and tracking budgeting plans, analyzing the financial strengths and weaknesses of a company, directing investment decisions, negotiating loan terms, and much more.

  • Average Salary: $131,710
  • Job Growth Potential 2021-2031: 17 percent
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“The finance director role has evolved to require excellent communication and analytical skills as well as a deep understanding of what drives the business side of an organization. Building a reputation for integrity and trustworthiness is critical as the role advises executive leadership and the organization at large.”

Sam Fucile

Director of Central Finance, University of New Hampshire

Finance Degree Options at the UNH College of Professional Studies Online

Undergraduate Degrees

  • A.S. Business
  • B.S. Accounting & Finance
  • B.S. Business Management
    • Concentration Options in:
      • Accounting
      • Economic Sciences
      • Finance
      • Global Business
      • Professional Sales

Bachelor’s Degree Minors

  • Accounting
  • Economic Sciences
  • Finance
  • Global Business
  • Professional Sales

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