We dont always admit the things we like about our jobs – or the things we don’t. This made me wonder… what do people who work in finance really think about it? So, at GENCFO’s most recent live Debate in London, I did some investigating.

I went around the event, which has held in the heart of Soho, and asked two questions to the attendees. I gathered their responses so I had the community’s confessions about the best things about working in finance – and the worst.

They knew their answers would be totally anonymous, so I got some great, juicy truths about what finance professionals really think of their work. Read on to find out what you missed at the last Debate, and how you can join the next one in Leeds or London.

The BEST things about working in finance

To start, let’s take a look at what the finance and accounting professionals told me were the best things about working in the industry. Time to hear what the leaders of finance really think!

You can be so many things when you’re a finance professional

A lot of them focused on how versatile it is to work in finance. As one attendee said:

“The variety of things you get to work in [is the best thing about working in this industry]. You get to see the whole of the business; everything the operational side of the business does has an impact.”

Another noted that:

“Finance is the language of business, If you can talk finance you can go into many different industries and add value.”

This is a sentiment I heard a few times throughout the night – finance professionals love being multi-hatted. As one simply put it: “Finance is more comprehensive than narrow.”

In the future, one predicted that this career path will continue to become more versatile:

“It’s developing. It is changing into forward looking, into business partnership, more than just numbers.”

Easier career development

Others focused on different things that they enjoyed, such as the way being in finance affects the trajectory of your career.

“The opportunities it brings you in your career to develop into a strategic manager.”

The attendees told me that being a finance and accounting professional means you get close to the top levels of the company, and in turn you gain influence in your own role:

“The finance leader is the closest business partner to the CEO. He’s the partner who typically rolls out the planning and execution of the business strategy. He’s the influential person.”

It’s good to hear positive things about the industry from those deep within it, as that’s where you find true honesty.

Right, onto the important bit… what don’t they like?

GENCFO live finance Summit Advert

The WORST things about working in finance

It’s not all flexibility and fun – there are some downsides to working in finance. I told you it was going to get juicy!

Let’s start small – one attendee at The Debate simply told me their biggest problem with their industry is:

“Long hours.”

A sentiment we can all sympathise with. Others elaborated a little further when I asked them for their honest, detailed thoughts:

“Some areas can be mundane and repetitive. Some are driven by the monthly reporting cycle, some of it is manual, and a limited budget – so it’s hard to invest in a new finance system.”

Crappy systems and manual work

That comment about finance being manual – it shouldn’t be that way!  And it doesn’t have to be. We have a solution for that: the CFO Tech 100. It was designed to help you find the perfect tools and services to transform your finance systems. Check it out to solve your finance process problems.

Back to the confessions. For some of those at the Debate, they admitted that focusing on finance has changed the way they view their own lifestyles. 

“I’m reluctant to spend money on things because we spend so much time telling people not to spend money on things, so people won’t spend money on improving crappy systems.”

There it is again – crappy systems. This isn’t the last I heard about poor finance systems, as a few more attendees I spoke to also raised it as one of the worst things about working in finance:

“The stress and strain of the organisation has a poorly organised finance function around the year end and month end reporting cycle.”

Another said that finance was stuck in the past:

“The companies that dedicated time to business planning, that is the old world – the new world is very different – some companies have solved this problem in automation. Through modern finance tech there should be nothing to cause a hard close – that should be a thing of the past.”

It’s not just the poor systems in the finance function

Although it seems like it, the responses weren’t all focused on systems and outdated tech – some had more evergreen issues with working in the finance industry:

“Too much politics. Pressure and politics; in between staff demands.”

What a remark to end on. I promised you honesty, and that’s what you’ve got here! 

The solution to a lot of these problems is right under your nose…

There’s no point in raising these problems without also raising some answers.

We might not be able to solve all the worst ones, but we can solve some of them. Our GENCFO live virtual Summit will feature over 50 industry experts who can elevate your mindset about working in finance.

Tackle financial solutions you may never have expected and learn how to manage your mental health with finance leaders and experts.

Check out the GENCFO live Summit website here for more information.

Now I want to attend the next Debate! When is it?

If you’re based in Leeds, I have some great news for you – the next Debate is at The Maven in Leeds city centre on the 14th of July. Secure your tickets now and get ready for a night of ‘levelling up’ and not working networking!

Based in the South? I’ve got even more good news for you. After Leeds, we will be holding another London Debate on the 15th of September 2022. Why not reserve your space early? 

If these sound too far in the future and you need your GENCFO fix as soon as possible, click the button below to find out about all of our upcoming events: