If you’re considering a course in financial management, you’ll first want to consider what you’ll be able to do with your qualification once you graduate. Fortunately, finance is a thriving field which offers plenty of job opportunities. Read on to discover the options that will be available to you.
Let’s start by exploring the demand for finance professionals in South Africa.
High demand, good pay
The demand for people working in finance remains high in South Africa. Research from CareerJunction finds that finance ranks amongst the three highest-demand sectors, after business management and information technology.
Many of the occupations on the National List of Occupations in High Demand are finance-related. Some of these occupations include finance managers, payroll clerks, and accountants. Typically, these professionals earn salaries that are well above the national average. For example, according to CareerJunction, entry-level financial managers earn over R400 000 per year on average.
What qualifications are available to you?
If you intend to pursue a career in finance, then a suggested path (if you aren’t able to study a BCom university degree) is to complete the N4 – N6 Financial Management programme. Employers view this qualification in a positive light, especially if you’re able to provide some evidence of practical experience in the field. You can complete this qualification on a part-time basis whilst gaining some experience through volunteering at a finance company or within a finance department. Once you have 18 months of practical work experience, you can earn your National Diploma.
If you’re not necessarily looking for a career in finance but want to improve your financial skills, then you could enrol for a short learning programme in finance.
What does a financial management qualification prepare you for?
Your financial management qualification will prepare you for entry-level occupations, and will also make you eligible for studies at a higher level.
Here are some of the occupations you’ll be prepared for, as well as some of the higher-level careers you can aim for:
Working in an office with other finance staff, financial administrators manage administrative tasks such as budget and payroll transactions, maintaining financial records, and providing assistance to the financial manager. They are required to have good knowledge of bookkeeping and financial-related computer software, and need excellent organisational skills.
Bookkeepers are responsible for recording and creating a company’s financial transactions. This can include processing income and expenses, preparing invoices and receipts, generating balance sheets, and assisting with the creation of financial reports.
Accountants review and analyse financial information used by bookkeepers, using it to create financial statements, conduct audits, and forecast profit margins, cash flows and future business needs. They also provide financial information and advice to management. To become an accountant, you will normally need to have several years of experience in a field related to bookkeeping or administration.
Auditors are tasked with reviewing the accounts of companies to ensure the legality and accuracy of financial records. They either work within the financial department of a company (internal auditor) or with independent firms specifically tasked with auditing companies (external auditors). You will generally require at least a National Diploma to be hired as an auditor.
Financial managers oversee financial departments, and companies normally look for candidates with a BCom degree. After completing your N6 studies, you will be able to apply for entry into BCom studies. However, please note that this career depends highly on experience, meaning that you can also progress to the position after gaining several years of experience in a financial department.