There are a number of different roles that you could work in this field, including:
- Accounting – Whether working for businesses or freelancers, your job will be to advise and help your client with their financial challenges and tax obligations, whether this is checking how much they owe HMRC for self-assessment, looking after VAT returns or managing their payroll etc.
- Financial planning – Supporting either individuals or organisations with planning their future finances.
- Banking / finance – Working for banks or building societies, helping customers with loans and mortgages, as well as aiding individuals and businesses with manging their money.
- Insurance – You’ll find yourself working alongside doctors, fire officers and solicitors to help resolve claims made against insurance companies.
The more you progress with your career, the more you can expect to earn and as a contractor you can potentially take home more than your permanent counterpart.
Qualifications needed to become a contractor in the banking and finance sector
The area of banking or finance that you want to work in will determine exactly what qualifications you need to gain; however, numeracy, being good at managing money and analytical skills are highly sought after for anyone wanting to work in this sector.
There are many courses available out there, as well as banking and finance degrees, which will usually cover topics such as mathematics and economics, as well as banking systems, risk management and more. However, it’s not always essential to have a university degree for certain areas of the industry.
It’s worth doing your research to find out exactly what qualifications will benefit you, for example, if you wanted to be a chartered accountant, taking AAT, ACCA or a CIMA accredited courses will be a great help to your career.
For some areas, there’s also the option to take the apprenticeship route, which will have you learning whilst working the job and is ideal for gaining maximum experience in your field.
The benefits of being a contractor
There are so many benefits when it comes to joining the self-employed sector, not only will you be able to potentially earn more than those working the same role in a permanent position, but you’ll have so much more freedom and flexibility.
Whether earning at a daily or hourly rate, you can find yourself not only able to charge more (only fair considering you won’t be entitled to sick or holiday pay), but you can have more than one client at one time, meaning your earning potential increases further.
There’s also the fact that you are entitled to claim back on expenses that are made for the running of your business; from the petrol you need to drive to your client, to stationary for your office. All of which will go toward reducing your tax bill at the end of each year.
For many people though, having a better work-life balance is worth more to them than rates of pay! And having more flexibility is particularly useful if you have children or other responsibilities, as you are essentially your own boss and set your own hours. This means you won’t need to ask permission in order to take time off for holidays or appointments.
Working with a number of different clients in various environments will also mean that you will gain a great amount of experience and skills along the way!
Being self-employed means that you’ll need to have the motivation to get out there and find your own work.
Jobs boards are a great place to start, either through general employment websites or specific banking and finance sites. You will usually need to provide a CV, so just ensure that you keep it to no more than two A4 pages with relevant information to the job you’re applying for. Also, look out for silly mistakes and include a personal statement that will sell you and your skills.
Social media is another useful avenue – Twitter and Facebook are an effective (and free!) method of advertising your skills; just make sure to set up a separate and more professional business page to your personal one.
There’s also LinkedIn; a place where businesses and professionals can network to help you to find contracts.
Building your own website is a necessity for most businesses and contractors, and it doesn’t have to be overly difficult or expensive if you look around for the best one to suit your needs. Free website builders include Wix, Weebly and WordPress
Just make sure that it is professional looking with a simple layout (avoiding too many pictures and words on one page) and is easy to navigate.
If you’re interested in becoming a contractor in the banking and finance sector, please contact Jaime.firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice. Or please complete the simple form below and someone will call you back to talk you through the sign up process.