What About Corporate Finance?

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MBA grads and mid-career professionals remain drawn to the big bucks and prestige promised in the alternative investing and investment banking space. But the interest would seem to belie what's actually happening in the sector, as jobs there continue to shrink. Mike McNamara, regional director for Accounting Principals, tells eFinancialCareers that a better and safer bet would be to look to the growing opportunities in corporate finance. The CPA, in addition to the CMA and CFM are must have certifications.

While certainly not the "sexy" or most lucrative part of finance, financial analysts, tax managers, treasurers, and CFOs are in growing demand in corporate finance, especially in roles outside of financial services, says McNamara. Part of the hiring spree is that companies are once again feeling a bit optimistic about the economy.

And, while the recession and downturn in business did put a damper on pay for those in corporate finance, it appears that CFO comp, in particular, is once again on therise. Median CFO cash compensation did drop by about 7 percent between 2008 and 2010. However, this was on pace with other top financial executives, who experienced a similar decline. CEOs, presidents and COOs saw an even greater decline.

McNamara notes, "The investment banking side of the business is still in turmoil. Between financial reform and the remaining problems in the mortgage industry, banking still has lingering problems. But if you look at the nuts and bolts of business, it's extremely strong. Where we see growth is in accounting, financial analyst, controller and CFO positions."

This might be a good time for those working in financial services to make the leap to corporate finance jobs outside of the sector. But some executives looking to make the segue are finding the "taint" of the space sometimes a hindrance. For those looking to wash away their troubled past at, say Lehman Brothers, they might find a pay cut is in order.

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