How to Become a Finance Assistant



Career Path Guide

Although there is no one set path for becoming a finance assistant, a very effective route for entering this profession is to follow these general steps:


1. Determine if this profession is suited to your personality and professional interests

2. Pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business or finance

3. Get clerical or administrative work experience as a student

4. Pursue relevant industry certification or training if required

5. Apply for Finance Assistant jobs


Below, we've covered these steps in greater detail, as well as provided some information on what finance assistants actually do, what their work environment is like, and what you can do to become one!



What Formal Education Will I Need to Become a Finance Assistant?

Employers typically require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent to be hired on as a finance assistant. Some however, prefer to hire candidates that have taken some university or college courses in business or economics and in some cases, require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.


Please Note: Depending on the industry you’ll be working in, you may also be  be required to complete industry-related training classes, or successfully complete an aptitude test.





What Experience Will I Need?

Some employers prefer to hire candidates with related work experience, such as bookkeeping, administrative assisting, or secretarial work. Others however, will accept relevant post-secondary education in place of experience, or a combination of education and experience.



What is a Finance Assistant?

A finance assistant (or ‘financial clerk’) is responsible for performing administrative and clerical duties such as light bookkeeping, communicating with clients via phone or email, and carrying out financial transactions. They may work for a wide variety of organizations, such as accounting firms, government agencies, securities brokerages, or many other types of organizations.



What Do They Do?

Although their duties can vary from one job to the next and one industry to the next, finance assistants are generally responsible for the following:


• Investigating and answering routine inquiries from fellow staff, management, clients, as well as reporting agencies and suppliers

• Processing high volumes of information while evaluating the data’s relevance for inclusion in certain reports

• Inputting accounting data into spreadsheets or accounting software with speed and accuracy

• Interviewing applicants and others to get and verify personal and financial information needed to complete loan applications

• Reviewing documents such as purchase orders, sales tickets and charge slips to compute fees or charges due

• Being aware of relevant legislation pertaining to client confidentiality

• Suggesting changes to internal department procedures

• Identifying and resolving data errors and discrepancies



What is the Work Environment Like?

Working Hours: Finance assistants usually work regular weekday hours, although those hours may be different among different sectors of the finance industry. For example, assistants working in the financial services and sales industry may be required to work evenings and weekends, in order to reflect the hours of availability of clients.


Setting: Finance assistants generally work indoors in a comfortable office environment. They may work in government buildings, small offices, corporate head offices, or in a variety of other possible settings. Travel may be required on occasion, to attend meetings and conferences, meet with clients, or for other reasons.


Conditions: Finance assistants spend a good amount of their time working in front of a computer in order to record and file data using office software, to schedule meetings, and to write e-mails. They might work directly for one person, or work in a general department with other assistants, clerks and various other personnel.





Is Becoming a Finance Assistant a Good Career Choice for Me?

It’s not always about if you can; whether or not you should is of equal, if not greater importance. If the following traits, interests and attributes describe you, then you might be very well-suited for a career as a finance assistant:


• You’re interested in a career that requires business attire and acumen

• You’re well-organized and have good time management skills

• You’re interested in work that involves switching back and forth between tasks

• You can take direction from others

• You enjoy the idea of having established procedures and methods to guide your work

• You can work independently on routine tasks

• You have the ability to keep information confidential 

• You have basic skills in math, and are comfortable working with numbers 



How Much Do They Earn?

Finance Assistant Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Financial Clerks was $38,080 in May 2016, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $25,740, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $58,320.


Finance Assistant Salary Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Accounting Technicians and Bookkeepers occupational group earn an average salary of $47,696 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 13, 2019).


Please Note: The salary or wage of a finance assistant can vary, typically based on the following factors:


• Their level of education, training and experience 

• The region in which they work

• The scope of their duties and amount of responsibility inherent in the job

• The size and type of their employer

• Whether or not they receive financial benefits, commissions, or other special remuneration 



Who Employs Them?

Finance assistants are often employed in the Finance & Accounting department of businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, schools and universities, hospitals, as well as many other types of organizations. They may also be employed by securities brokerages, insurance brokerages, financial services offices, law offices, real estate brokerages, and other types of organizations in the financial sector.



Finance Assistant Jobs - Current Openings

Our job board below has a listing of "finance assistant" postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia.




What Career Advancement Opportunities Are There?

If you demonstrate a strong work ethic, dedication, competence, and an interest in continuously challenging yourself professionally, plenty of opportunities to advance into roles of greater responsibility and pay will come your way.


As a financial assistant or clerk, you would likely be able to advance into related occupations in your particular area of the financial sector. 


For example, if you’re working as a trading assistant or clerk, you could potentially become a securities, commodities, or financial services sales agent, after obtaining the required education and license. You could also move in to supervisory or management positions. 



What are Careers Similar to This One?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “finance assistant”:


• Accounting Clerk

• Bookkeeper

• Controller 

• Finance Manager

• Financial Analyst

• Financial Trader

• Legal Assistant

• Stockbroker



What Scholarships Are There for Aspiring Finance Assistants? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant for getting the required education to work in this field. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our Scholarships page.



Success Tip: Apply for any and all scholarships that you even barely qualify for; there are MILLIONS of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Sources for This Career Guide

The following resources were used to gather information for this career path guide:


• Wages & Salaries in Alberta: “Administrative Assistant.” (March 31, 2019). Government of Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 20, 2019.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Financial Clerks.” (May, 2016). United States Government Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved May 29, 2017.

• Career Advice: “What Are the Duties of a Finance Assistant?” Brenda Scottsdale (n.d.). Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved May 29, 2017.


Please Note: Some of the information collected for this career was obtained from actual job postings, which due to their brief online presence are not listed here as references.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a finance assistant. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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