Actuaries work in the Insurance and investment industry. Their primary role is to assess the future value of money. Your role as an actuary would include jobs like computing insurance premium or interest rates, assessing investment risks and so on.
Some actuaries work with banks and insurance companies while others set up their own consultant firm servicing both private and public sector companies in the BFSI sector.
You are better suited for becoming an Actuary if you have opted for Mathematics during your college and have a liking for the subject. In order to become an actuary, you must take the Actuarial Common Entrance Test (ACET) after which you are eligible to sit for the exams of the Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI). There are 15 examinations to clear in IAI but you can begin practice after 3 or 4.
Knowledge of Mathematics and Statistics is helpful to clear the exams though non-math students can apply too.
Asset managers help investors to achieve their financial and investment goals. As an asset manager, you might work with an organization managing their funds – for instance you might work with an insurance company investing their corpus – or set up your own consultancy and advise both individual and corporate investors regarding the investment options best suited to them, help them chart out their future plans such as retirement, funding for college education and so on. As an asset manager you may be required to perform any or all of the following tasks – and perhaps a few more besides –
- Analyze financial statements
- Allocate and manage individual portfolios
- Perform research on stock with a view to recommending buy or sell of certain scrip
- Assist your client or employer in financial planning
- Assist high net-worth clients in estate planning and management
While there is no rigid qualification dictum for becoming an asset or investment manager, traditionally it has been the realm of commerce graduates with mathematics as a subject. Also, individual with good communication skills and work ethics succeed. Some locations require licensing before practice – for instance FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) mandates anyone dealing in sale of securities (brokers) to hold and maintain valid license.
Auditors are people who help individuals and businesses prepare and verify financial statements thus ensuring that organizations are functioning as per norms and turning a profit. As an auditor, you may also assist companies – and even individuals – compute and file their tax returns. The duties of an auditor may overlap with those of a Chartered Accountant.
In order to become an Auditor, you must complete your graduation with Accounts and secure a certificate as a CA, ICWA, or CS.
As an Auditor you may work in any industry performing any or all of the following roles –
- Budget Analysis
- Financial Analysis
- Financial Advisor
- Financial Manager
You may also work closely with the CEO, CFO, and CS of the company ensuring that the company is run efficiently and is compliant with all regulations.
Banking is a great career option for B. Commerce graduates with specialization in Accounts, Management, or Finance. The privatization of the BFSI sector in India, has opened up lucrative opportunities with top banks like HDFC, ICICI, and Kotak Mahindra. You may even consider working for a foreign bank operating in India. The world of banking also has great growth potential.
Business developers are people who literally develop business. As a BDE (Business Development Executive) you would be responsible for sourcing new customers and following up with existing ones as well as reaching out to those who emerge from the business sales funnel. You are expected to keep an ear to the ground for growth opportunities, pin point them, and follow through to close the deal. Usually, a BDE enters the business with a degree in business management. More importantly though, you need to be a people’s person, with excellent persuasion, and communication skills. You should also know the product or business you are promoting thoroughly. BDE can be a great start for a corporate career with opportunities to grow in several different directions. It is also an opportunity for those who wish to work from home with flexible work hours.
A business valuator is someone who values – or puts a price tag on – a business. They are called upon for their expertise during amalgamations, sale or purchase, or takeover of businesses. They may also be consulted when a partner in a partnership firm dies for settlement of his share of the business or when the Karta of an HUF expires. In short, whenever anyone for any reason needs to put a price on the entire business, he or she may consult a business valuator.
The CBV Institute in Canada conducts a program for Chartered Business Valuator. There are also some institutes in India offering certificate courses. If you are a CA – Chartered Accountant or a CFA – a Chartered Financial Accountant in India, you may be qualified to become a CBV.
A CA is a person who has passed all the three levels of the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). As a CA you may set up your own business and perform audits for businesses – both big and small. Or you may work as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) in a corporate. Some CAs also work with small businesses independently handling all accounting aspects of the business with – or without – a one or two-member team. You may be required to assist with preparing business models for new businesses – to the extent of forecasting the financials – or existing business who wish to expand or explore new markets. Your assistance may also be requested during mergers, amalgamations, and takeovers.
A CFA is qualified in financial analysis – you know all those accounting ratios and their interpretation? The course is globally recognized and you will be able to work with MNCs and other corporate within the country as well as abroad. You might be on-boarded into the CFO, Investment Officer, CFA, or other positions depending upon the corporate structure and policy.
The CFO of any company belongs to the C-Suite. His duties typically include –
- Leading and directing the Accounts and Finance (A&F) team
- Participating in strategizing of the business to the extent of financial consultation.
- Designing and managing the processes for day to day accounting
- Preparing annual budgets, forecast reports and so on.
- Advising the management on long term financial planning
- Reporting on the corporate financial status to both internal and external stakeholders
- Reviewing all financial procedures as they relate to other departments of teams such as procurement or HR.
- Aiding in the digitization of procedures
To become a CFO, you should have at least a B.Commerce degree with accounts as your major. If you are a Chartered member of ICAI, ICWA or hold other qualification in the field of accounts it is an added bonus.
The chief risk officer (CRO) or chief risk management officer (CRMO) of a firm or corporation is the executive accountable for enabling the efficient and effective governance of significant risks, and related opportunities, to a business and its various segments. That’s what Wikipedia says and they’re right. As the CRMO you would be responsible for identifying and mitigating all types of business risks. Your title may differ depending upon the corporate – or management – structure as may your specific job profile. In general, however you will definitely be dealing with financial risks so you’ll need great analytical and problem solving skills along with the ability to work under considerable pressure – the job is pretty high profile and high pressure. Some of the designations of a CRMO include –
Chief Risk Management Officer / Commercial Risk Analyst/Manager / Corporate Risk Director / Financial Risk Manager / Market Risk Analyst/Manager / Operational Risk Analyst/Manager / Regulatory Risk Analyst/Manager / Risk Management Consultant / Risk Manager/Analyst
A CS is a legal and compliance advisor who guides the management through the legal jungle of the corporate world. He ensures that business is conducted legally and ethically and all regulatory requirements – such as filing of returns, declarations, GDPR, data security, data privacy, and so on are complied with. The input of the CS is important in drafting business plans, strategizing, marketing, accounting, and other areas of business. You may well say that the CS is the secretary to the C-Suite – or the top management. Earlier, companies specifically appointed company secretaries who have completed their course from the ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India) and designated them CS. These days they may be designated CEO, MD, or even Director. They may also be called the CLO (Chief Legal Officer) of the company and work within the C-Suite.
A Bank Probationary Officer (BPO) enters a banking institution – such as a public or private sector bank – or other financial institution – such as an insurance company – by passing the entrance exam for the said post. As a BPO you will enter the institution at the managerial level and begin climbing the corporate ladder from higher up – standing a better chance to reach top positions at a younger age. Some Probationary Officers work with financial institutions for a brief period – say 3 to 5 years – and then bail out to more lucrative positions or to set up their own business. The term Probationary merely means that for the first six months to a year, you will be on probation where after your appointment will be confirmed subject to fulfilment of certain criteria.
As a corporate treasurer – a.k.a. treasury manager in India, you will be in-charge of the corporate till – the corporate finances – and the day to day expenditure. Your primary role will be to oversee all the financial dealings of the company. In the process you will make decisions regarding spend allocation, creation of various funds and provisions, share your input – or perhaps independently handle – budgeting and forecasting and so on. The role and scope of a treasury manager or corporate treasurer in India and other countries is incumbent upon the corporate structure, business model, and C-suite. You can become a treasury manager with almost any financial background as long as you are a graduate. You may evolve into the role from a junior position or move laterally from one organization to another changing roles and job description.
If you’ve completed your ICWA, you are set to become a Cost Accountant who deals primarily with the costing part of finance. That is to say, you would be dealing with procurement, operative costs, sourcing, marketing and other areas that are included in the cost of manufacturing – or manufacturing cost – of the business. You will prepare reports detailing the costs incurred during certain periods – typically a financial year – and make recommendations regarding cost reduction to ensure higher profit. Chartered ICWA holders may hold positions like –
- Accounting and Auditing Clerk
- Audit Manager
- Banking Manager
- Chief Accounting Officer
- Economic Officer
- Forensic Accountant
- Investment Analyst
- Investment Banker
- Personal Finance Consultant
Companies like CRISL and CIBIL award credit rating to both individuals and businesses. This rating is based on the credit history of the individual or business. As a Credit Analysis Manager, it is your job to keep this score favourable for the business you represent. This means that you must manage the loans and other financial sourcing as well as the expenditure in a manner that your business is not black listed as far a credit goes. If you are working for a Bank it would involve the analysis of your customers, where the money they deposit is invested, interest earned by the bank and more – all this in compliance with RBI regulations and guidelines. In order to become a credit analysis manager, at the very minimum you require a bachelor’s degree finance or accounting – preferably both.
The science of economics deals with production, consumption and transfer of wealth so it follows that an economist is a person who analyses the existing state of wealth and makes interpretations and predictions based on the analysis. On a pragmatic level an economist would do one or all of the following –
- Collect data with respect to his field area or region
- Collate and analyze the data
- Interpret it vis-a-vis the present conditions
- Present the data to stakeholders – people interested
- Suggest solutions to economic problems
- Make forecasts
You need to have studied economics to become an economist but knowledge of statistics and accounting basics are an added bonus as is the study of management.
Typically, an economist may work in the public or private sector. Some economists prefer to work as professors and while conducting research and writing their own research papers.
That’s not a new word. Almost anyone from any field of study can become an entrepreneur. In the commerce stream you may choose to set up your own Chartered Accounting firm, IT firm, or business consultancy. You may also specialize in one or two areas of business such as business development, business data security, business modelling, finance, capital management and so on.
This one has evolved recently as a job profile. An equity researcher’s job is essentially to study the stock market, identify trends, and make recommendations. As an equity researcher you may work with insurance companies, AMCs (Asset Management Companies) for Mutual Funds, banks – as an investment banker, or in an investment consultancy firm. You may also set up your own firm.
Being an equity researcher does not require any specific qualifications as long as you know the market well – which comes with experience. However, because of the keen competition, it is good to have an MBA or CFA.
If you have majored in accounting, you may become a financial advisor or consultant. You can either work with a bank, insurance company, AMC or other financial institution or set up your own business.
Companies, corporates and MNCs sometimes lose revenue as a result of fraud, hacking, and embezzlement. Many have now begun hiring forensic accountants to identify the source of fraud and plug the gap to prevent further loss. Just like an auditor a forensic accountant analyses the accounting statements tracing each transaction to its origin looking for flaws in recording and accounting. By doing this he is able to trace the fraud and advise the management on how to prevent it.
The difference between an auditor and forensic accountant is that the former looks for non-compliance or breach of protocol while the later looks for fraudulent records or missing entries.
As we said earlier, an investment banker, consultant, or analyst specializes in all types of investment – or he may choose one or two specialities such as equity or mutual funds. Depending upon whether you choose to work in a bank, with a financial institution, or as an entrepreneur having your own consultancy, you may be called an Investment Banker, an Investment Analyst or an Investment consultant.
The rapid advancement of technology has put data – both personal and business – at risk. IT auditors are people who look for loopholes in the IT system of companies and conglomerates. They identify potential leaks and make recommendations to plug them. As an IT auditor you may also be required to ensure compliance through the system – for instance e-filing of tax returns or compliance to GDPR. While GDPR is currently applicable only in the EU, other countries including India are taking steps to implement similar policies.
As an IT auditor not only will you need knowledge about IT and working of computer systems but also analytical skills. You will need knowledge about both hardware and software. Good communication and presentation skills would be a bonus. You should also be aware of the global and local compliance requirements for automated systems.
If you love logic and playing with numbers, a career as a statistician may be ideal for you. As a statistician, you would gather data for a specific purpose – such as assessing the economic status of a country or region. You would analyse the data, interpret it and present it to the stake holders – much the same as a data analyst or economist. The difference lies in where you work and what data you deal with. While there are no prescribed qualifications, you should at least be a graduate or a PG. As a statistician you may work in the public or private sector or in academics. As a statistician your role may be limited to analysis and presentation or it may extend to collection, designing tools for collection and analysis and other tasks.
Another role that does not require any predefined qualification is that of a stock broker. A stock broker is someone who deals in equity shares and helps others do so. You do not even need to be a graduate as long as you have a good knowledge about how the stock exchange works and have the skills to analyse and identify trends. You should also be able to think on your feet and make snap decisions. You will require a license from the stock exchange of the region or country you want to operate in. In India for instance you will need to register with SEBI (Stock Exchange Board of India) as a member. You may also choose to become a sub-broker working under a broker in which case you will need to obtain a Certificate of Registration (CoR) from SEBI. Brokers and sub-brokers earn commission on sales and purchases made on behalf of their clients. While the percentage may be small, if you have a decent turnover, the profession can be lucrative. On a cautious note, while dealing is stock is not illegal, it is akin to gambling.
As the name suggests, if you become a tax consultant you will be helping your boss or client file returns. But wait! The job entails more than that. Not only will you file returns, you will use your deep knowledge of tax laws and regulations to help your clients or organization reduce their tax liability. You might also be required to prepare their financial statement and some small businesses outsource their entire accounting to freelance accountants. So you might end up working with a corporate or have a mixed database of individual and SME clients.
You’ll need a degree in accounting preferably, though those who have completed HSC and a certification course may also practice. But you should have a thorough knowledge of tax laws applicable in the region you want to practice.
A venture capitalist is someone with money to invest in business. As a venture capitalist therefore you should have the money to invest yourself or be able to source the money for the business. The capital may be sourced in the form of loan, investment and so on. Some resourceful individuals set up venture capitalist firms which specialize in obtaining loan and capital for small businesses. In order to do this, you should have a good knowledge of the money market, loans, rates of interest, application procedures, and laws relating to finance and contract.
Some high net-worth individuals appoint specialists to manage their portfolio of investment. These specialists or professionals are called wealth managers. As a wealth manager, you may be called upon to do more than manage the investment portfolio. Your duties may extend to the entire estate of your client including writing of the will and estate management and disbursement. In order to become a wealth manager, you must have knowledge about the various investment channels, be aware about the latest market trends, and be knowledgeable about the laws regarding investment, capital sourcing, property, and inheritance to name a few.
We’ve attempted collect and present all the diverse career options available to B.Commerce graduates. If you feel that we have missed out on some, please do let us know. It would be prudent to mention that many of these careers are overlapping and you may find yourself fulfilling more than one role.
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