Job Title: Financial Consultant
Type of Company: I work for a financial consulting firm that helps clients in diverse industries improve performance, resolve disputes, and/or recover from distress. We also assist in financial investigations in which some sort of accounting or financial fraud has been committed, which is what I primarily work on. Types of fraud can range from the CFO purposely mis-reporting financial statements to defraud investors to a high-level employee simply stealing money from company funds.
Education: BA, Economics/Accounting, College of the Holy Cross
Previous Experience: I worked in the Assurance and Business Advisory group at Arthur Andersen. This job entailed auditing public companies' financial statements prior to filing with the SEC. During my time at Andersen, I obtained my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.
Job Tasks: As a manager at my company, my primary responsibility is to work directly with the client to understand their needs and formulate an action plan with my staff to complete the task at hand. My current client, for example, accounted improperly for the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in assets over the past 5 years, making their financial statements misleading. I worked directly with the CFO and VP of Finance to formulate a plan to calculate the mistake in order to file restated financial statements with the SEC. These new financial statements provide everyday investors with a more accurate idea of the company's recent performance.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that every project is completely different; I am not doing the same thing day-in and day-out. We work on projects at companies in different industries, so I have had an inside look at a variety of problems and have learned a lot about how different companies work. A lot of projects require travel and I enjoy that. I've been to San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, Miami, Houston, Dublin, and many more interesting places.
The worst part of the job is that some aspects of a project can be very tedious. For example, In such projects, we often need to review the email activity of, say, a CEO who has been accused of stealing money from his company. Although reading emails can be quite funny at times (especially the personal emails that aren't meant for everyone's eyes!), it's also searching for a needle in a haystack and can be very time-consuming.
1. Consulting is often going into an unknown situation where you need to learn the issue/ problem and learn it fast. Attention to detail is necessary so always keep working on strengthening this trait. It will help you in college courses and beyond...in any career you decide to pursue, not just consulting.
2. College courses such as computer science and math are also very helpful, because they hone analytic and problem-solving skills, which are obviously very important in consulting.
3. Finally, consulting is a service business and it's imperative to be able to interact with all different types of personalities. You need to be able to connect with people on a professional and personal level; this will not only make the day-to-day work experience more enjoyable, but it will allow you to forge relationships and build a strong professional network that will carry with you your entire career.
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