Finance: A Guide to Work From Home Careers

Dedicating your life to a satisfying, well-paying career used to mean sacrificing life for work. Increasingly, however, the work-life balance is being augmented by a widespread change in how companies view remote work. The need grows each day for financial experts who want to work free of the traditional corporate office structure. When it comes to budgeting, financial planning, or fund analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the economy’s requirement for telecommuting financial experts will expand dramatically in the coming decade.

The continued push for a better work-life balance has helped labor markets make huge strides in offering telecommute positions. Industries that were once office-locked boast a growing number of remote work opportunities in a wide array of occupations. The work from home (WFH) revolution is changing what it means to work for yourself, at your own pace, and according to your skills. If you have a head for figures and statistics, the burgeoning telecommuting field is in need of your expertise.

Here are five careers in finance that are perfect for the savvy, home-based worker.

Become an Auditor

Auditors are accountants who work closely with companies and business entities of all sizes. Their role is necessary for business operations to run smoothly and for managing an entity’s funds. They review financial statements provided by a company’s accounting team for quality and signs of mismanagement of funds. Auditors are also regularly tasked with recommending a more efficient use of company resources to operations staff.

An auditor position might be one that an experienced accountant switches to after five or ten years, though entry-level auditors of all kinds are well-represented in the economy.

Education Requirements
Auditor jobs typically require a BS in finance—almost exclusively in the field of accounting. Many institutions have expanded their offerings to include degrees that focus entirely on auditing and many public universities have intensified the emphasis on auditing practices in the accounting concentration modules of their programs.

Sample Program: Online auditing degree, Western Virginia State University
This fully online bachelor of science in business administration (accounting) centers on fundamental accounting concepts and theories. The coursework is highly specialized, vetted, and supported by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs.

Salary & Career Outlook
There are many ways that accountants can diversify their studies and increase their degree’s market value. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the number of auditing and accounting jobs in 2018 at 1,397,700. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $70,500 or $33.89 per hour. Keep in mind that these numbers do not reflect training unique to niche industries.

Employer Spotlight: Beech Valley Solutions
Beech Valley Solutions connects auditors, CPAs, and other accountants with clients who are in need of their services. BVS is for freelancers only—individuals who are hand-picked and paired with clients who have a wide array of auditing and accounting needs. Their auditors build solutions for high-value clients in any way that’s required, with a focus on making sure that firms comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or SOX.

Become a Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants work with law enforcement agencies, investigating white-collar crimes like fraud. They also work internally, hired by firms to make sense of flagged financial activity. Because statistics show that most instances of occupational fraud are finance-related, accounting that embraces data forensics is sought out more and more when companies need to streamline their procedures for addressing and combating financial duplicity. Professionals in this field expose money laundering, hunt for digital signs of tax evasion, ensure SOX compliance, and investigate, prevent, and advise on how to prevent corporate fraud.

Education Requirements
Forensic accounting positions generally require a bachelor of science (BS) in accounting or an equivalent course of finance study, usually with a minimum of three years of experience in a forensic accounting position, though many postings surveyed asked for five to six years of prior experience. In college, coursework focuses primarily on fund management and business theory, in addition to the study of commerce and reporting law.

Sample Program: Online forensic accounting degree, Franklin University
Franklin University is one of the best-rated online institutions when it comes to pursuing a degree in forensic accounting. The core program of study helps students prepare for the CFE, CPA, or CIA exams that can further qualify them for lucrative careers.

Salary & Career Outlook
Again, the BLS (2018) found that accountants and auditors (including forensic accountants) make a median wage of $70,500. Notably, there is expected to be a 10 percent increase in the number of jobs in this field nationally—with 139,000 new jobs projected between 2016 and 2026.

Employer Spotlight: York Risk Services Group
The York Risk Services Group assesses, devises, and provides implementation models for risk solutions management at whatever scale is necessary for the client. YRSG utilizes proprietary data analytics and insights to mold predictive risk models, and forensic accountants build and share those models. These positions call for an understanding of financial and algorithmic software.

Become a Financial Planner

Financial planners, sometimes known as financial advisors or wealth managers, give clients advice on how they can reach their personal financial goals. Planners work with individuals, families, or businesses to map out and realize both short- and long-term investment and fund management aspirations. By analyzing data provided by the client, planners develop plans for debt management, savings objectives and strategies, and personal and family budgeting. They offer expert counsel on investment strategies, insurance protection, retirement distribution and accumulation, and even estate planning.

Education Requirements
Financial planners are usually expected to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, though this is not a requirement. Further certifications may help advance a financial planning career, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. The certification is earned upon completion of an intense two-day exam and requires an undergraduate degree for consideration and application.

Sample Program: Online financial planning degree, Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University’s four-year online program of study in financial planning prepares attendees for their work as CFP professionals. With an emphasis on wealth management theory, SNHU’s course structure affords students the opportunity to enter the world of virtual advisors and stock trading apps.

Salary & Career Outlook
According to the BLS, personal wealth managers made a median salary of $88,890 in 2018. The Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that the number of available jobs in this field will grow by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, adding 40,400 positions to the economy.

Employer Spotlight: BDO Seidman
BDO LLP is a global firm with a wide variety of advisory and consulting work in both customer-facing and remote positions. Their planners provide executive consultation services on taxation, auditing, asset management, and adherence to regulations. They’re also one of the only consulting firms that offer services to the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Become a Real Estate Appraiser

The housing and land markets are in a constant state of flux, with many outstanding factors contributing to the process of valuation of properties. Appraisers collate the data on these factors and estimate the value of single properties or pieces of land before these holdings are sold, taxed, insured, developed, or mortgaged. They research and verify local market sales in correlation with the property’s physical quality to determine its current value. Appraisers are responsible for the data management of accounts as well, such as verification and analysis of past sales to accurately forecast increases in value.

Education Requirements
While each state might have different requirements for appraisal licensing, the principles of the trade are the same nationwide. Certification and licensure as a real estate appraiser can give those with a background in finance the training they need to price real estate for the open market. In addition to a degree in finance, computer science, administration, or other business-related fields, assessment and appraisal speak their own languages. To this end, the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) sets standards for ongoing appraisal education on the national level.

Sample Program: Online appraisal certification, Kaplan
Kaplan, one of the internet’s oldest and most trusted sources of ongoing education, maintains a robust licensing database for all 50 states. It’s a one-stop portal for certification, renewal, and reskill training to help appraisers stay on top of industry developments.

Salary & Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median wage of a real estate appraiser at $54,980. Opportunities in the field are expected to grow 14 percent (2016-2026), adding 11,700 new jobs.

Industry Spotlight: Many real estate appraisers are work-from-home pioneers in their own right. The field is made up largely of contractors working on a commission for realtors or firms, in part because of how easily the work can be accomplished remotely.

Become a Financial Analyst

Financial analysts examine data and statistics to aid companies in making business decisions. Combining client fundamentals with market observations couched in micro- and macroeconomic theory, financial analysts suggest courses of action with regard to investment based on performance, outlook, and trends. You might work for buy-side firms, sell-side firms, or investment banks where securities are purchased via pension funds or insurance firms. Other positions in the field use statistics to build models that help clients determine the efficacy of marketing campaigns or the best possible utilization of grant funding.

Education Requirements
Becoming a finance analyst means attaining a BS in finance, economics, or statistics. As the BS credential has become routine, many financial analysts also boast an MBA with an interdisciplinary emphasis in mathematics or engineering that sets them apart.

Sample Program: Online finance degree, Penn State
The World Campus at Penn State offers a number of 100 percent online courses of study in finance, administration, computer science, engineering, and more. Coursework teaches students the conceptual and analytical skills critical to helping finance analysts think creatively and on their feet.

Salary & Career Outlook
Researchers at the BLS indicate that the median salary of a financial analyst is $85,660. Between 2016 and 2026, it is estimated that the American economy will have added 32,200 of these new jobs—an 11 percent increase in opportunities.

Employer Spotlight: Information Systems Solutions
ISS, or Information Systems Solutions, provides answers to questions involving digital systems integration and security. They develop, customize, and implement software solutions for business infrastructure through converged network modeling to ensure that all client requirements have been met.

Find a Remote Job in Finance

Given that the desire to cultivate a work-from-home job market is growing exponentially, the need for remote workers in finance can be expected to expand at a similar rate. There are a number of websites that maintain job boards for careers in remote finance.

These include:

Kenneth Parker
Kenneth Parker

A graduate of the University of Oregon, Kenneth Parker is sometimes a musician and rarely a poet. His work spans copy editing, feature writing, and dissertation development.

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