Consulting jobs are becoming more attractive to senior-level professionals seeking a flexible schedule and a variety of challenging assignments. At the same time, consultants are becoming more attractive to companies that need highly skilled financial talent on an interim basis to help them address a wide range of business challenges. But you’ll need to have the right experience to land these engagements.
If you're interested in senior-level financial, accounting or business systems consulting jobs, here's the experience that most employers — and the staffing firm you might work with — will want you to bring to the table:
To land financial project consulting jobs or interim management positions, you must have a bachelor's degree in your field. Most successful consultants also have their graduate degree in a related discipline or a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Be sure to include a description of your work ethic in your resume, along with details about your work experience. Communication abilities, including both written and verbal communication skills, are also a must for consulting jobs, as these roles typically require the ability to interface smoothly and productively with clients and team members.
There are many ways you can serve as a financial consultant. Here's a look at the requirements for three of today's key roles:
To be considered a viable candidate for finance consulting jobs, you may be expected to have at least one of the following certifications:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Additional designations, like those listed below, are also helpful and could increase your chances of being hired, depending on your area of focus:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM)
Most financial consultant roles will require previous financial planning and reporting analysis experience.
Accounting consultants must have a CPA or Certified Management Accountant credential. Some additional certifications may include:
- Certified Bank Auditor (CBA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
- Enrolled Agent (EA)
While all consultants need analytical and problem-solving skills, accounting consultants specifically should demonstrate strong mathematics and Excel proficiency. Brush up on these Excel practices:
- Controlling Excel's Lookup function
- Creating user-defined function macros
- Loading data from external sources
- Manipulating text strings
- Setting up user controls
- Using defined names
Being well-versed in different types of software, like enterprise resource planning (ERP), can also give you an advantage over other consultants. Engaging in continuing education demonstrates a thirst for knowledge that makes you an attractive candidate for many consulting jobs.
Business systems consultant
Business systems analysts are in high demand, and most organizations look to hire business systems consultants with strong research and organization skills. While many employers look for a degree in computer science or an applied mathematics field, industry certifications, like the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) designation by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), are also becoming more valuable.
Working knowledge of MSP loan servicing systems, Microsoft SSIS Packages and ELI (Electronic Loan Interface from MSP) is a bonus. Experience with a variety of data mapping technologies and tools could make you a more marketable candidate as well.
Consulting can be a rewarding path, and it's a good time to consider making the move. If you have the right skills and experience to meet the high expectations of today's employers, you're likely to have your pick of financial consulting jobs.