Running a successful healthcare organization involves saving and improving lives, along with promoting quality care and patient satisfaction. In order to succeed, its business operations need to run smoothly, too. That’s where healthcare finance jobs come in.

Hospitals and other healthcare providers use the same accounting and finance professionals as other companies, but in this dynamic industry, they’re also dealing with issues of growing patient loads, cost transparency, reimbursement, profitability and revenue integrity. Specialists in billing and collections are essential. They also need revenue cycle management and analysis, involving claims processing, payment and revenue generation.

What does that mean for the accounting, finance or revenue cycle professionals who work (or want to work) in healthcare finance jobs? And what does it mean for the managers who hire them? Let’s take a look.

Continued employment growth

Employment in healthcare is on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the industry continues to add new jobs. Several factors are contributing to growth in the healthcare industry:

  • A larger aging population that needs more medical services
  • A shift from a fee-for-service payment model to value-based care, where doctors are reimbursed for the quality, efficiency and coordination of care they provide
  • A greater number of people who have insurance coverage, including Medicare
  • The need to adopt and manage healthcare compliance mandates in this highly regulated, high-risk industry
  • A call to reduce the cost of care while increasing quality
  • An increase in mergers and acquisitions with consolidations of nonprofit and for-profit hospital operators

A closer look at demand and salary

From an accounting and finance perspective, the functional roles in the greatest demand are financial, data and business analysts, especially in hospitals and larger organizations. Job candidates with both healthcare and financial analysis backgrounds are hired virtually on the spot — if they can be found, according to the Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals.

In the revenue cycle, the greatest requests are for medical billing professionals, denials specialists, medical collections specialists and payment posters. The midpoint salary (or median national salary) for a medical collections specialist is $33,750, and for a medical biller, $34,250, according to the Salary Guide. For those in supervisory roles, such as a medical collections manager, the midpoint salary is $61,000, and for a medical billing manager, $62,250.

Use our Salary Calculator to calculate salaries for healthcare finance jobs in your city.

Getting started in healthcare finance jobs

For candidates looking to move into healthcare finance, industry experience is preferred but not always required. One way to break in is to get involved with professional organizations specific to healthcare, such as the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) and start building a network.

Gathering information about what’s happening in healthcare can help in the job interview process. Let’s say you know that reducing the cost of care is a major initiative. A good differentiator during the interview would be to provide examples of how your skill set could help an organization accomplish that goal.

Technical skills such as knowledge of Microsoft Access or Excel are a plus. Big data skills can increase your worth exponentially. Another thing to consider is that when organizations implement new technology, they need to get staff up to speed as quickly as possible. If you have an opportunity to be part of a project team where you could become a subject-matter expert in one or more areas of technology, the experience can be extremely valuable.

What about potential career paths?

The pairing of healthcare with accounting and finance can lead to a lot of different areas and jobs, including temporary ones, that can make for a progressive and lasting career.

Within the revenue cycle, someone could start as a medical billing professional and work up to be a supervisor and then become a manager, director, even vice president of revenue cycle. It’s the same type of career progression for accounting: staff accountant to accounting manager, controller, director of accounting, CFO — or, on the financial side: analyst to senior financial analyst, manager, director, vice president and CFO.

What qualities should healthcare hiring managers seek?

Healthcare organizations should look for candidates who are analytical and able to process a lot of information. The ability to identify trends and patterns that allow for better performance is also critical. Employers should try to find those who are naturally curious, who ask, “Why is this happening here but not over here?” and then are able to dive in, figure out what’s happening and act on it.

As for specific credentials or degrees, people with all sorts of educational backgrounds find themselves in healthcare finance jobs. Some of the most common degrees are in accounting, finance, healthcare administration, mathematics and economics.

Specialized healthcare staffing

The Robert Half Healthcare Practice has served for years as the go-to partner for providers, payers and other healthcare organizations looking for specialized administrative, accounting, finance and revenue cycle talent.