Experts reveal how to take your first career steps in finance

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It is a common myth that for young professionals who want to get a big break in finance, it is crucial to have work experience. Financial expert Dovile Kulioniene, who herself started a successful career in finance, says that it is a common misconception and shares her advice on how to take your first career steps and details the personal qualities that help you get noticed by potential employers.  

A driving force – willingness to constantly excel

D. Kulionene says that she started thinking about a job in finance while studying at university. She graduated from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and later chose an English language Master’s program in Economic Analysis and Planning. She garnered her first work experience while working at several finance and accounting firms in Vilnius. Later, she took the opportunity to start working at an outsourcing services company, “Baltic Virtual Assistants.”

“I found out about an open position from a former colleague, who was very content about opportunities provided by the company: a wide variety of knowledge acquired in the working process, direct communication with clients, the chance to form your team and improve on leadership skills. A flexible schedule, remote working, and friendly work culture were of high importance to me,” remembers D. Kulioniene and says that friend recommendations can also come in handy while looking for a job.  

Dovile started in the accountant’s position with a trial period like all new employees. Soon after that, while the trial period was not even over, she was promoted to the senior accountant’s position. Today Dovile works with a Danish company that provides analytical, anthropological, and other types of data processing services. Also, together with her team, she provides a variety of accounting services: starting from financial bookkeeping to consolidation and budgetary planning.

D. Kulioniene says that the driving forces in her career are the chance to acquire a variety of knowledge and the ability to constantly excel as a professional: “Probably one of the most important steps in this process was preparing for the ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) IFRS ( International Financial Reporting Standards) exam, dynamic and challenging work assignments, professionally strong colleagues and leadership within the company. I think that it is very important in any career to have inspiring role models, who you look up to while figuring out what kind of leader you want to become in the future, ” says Dovile. 

Personal qualities and work ethic

Asked about the professional and personal qualities that are important for people who want to work in the area of finance, the expert is very specific: you need good “MS Office “skills, especially with “Excel “, analytical thinking as well as strong basic knowledge about finance and accounting.

Nevertheless, Dovile points out that at the beginning of a career, personal qualities including a willingness to excel, the ability to acquire knowledge and learn individually, and a strong sense of responsibility.  

“One also should not forget about work ethics, ability to maintain professional relationships with clients and colleagues or being a team player, whom other members can rely upon.” – adds the expert. 

Another Dovile’s advice for people looking for a job in finance is to find and specify the area of finance you are most interested in, whether it is financial analysis, accounting, investing, or others. Then you need to purposefully acquire knowledge and skill in that particular field, which can be done while studying at university or participating in international programs such as CFA (Charted Financial Analyst) or the previously mentioned ACCA. Last but not least, says the expert, it is important to carefully choose your employer while prioritizing ones that encourage you to grow professionally and assist you in reaching your own goals.