In recent years, more and more people in this country have become privately involved in financial transactions. During the Corona period, more Germans invested in the stock exchange than they had in 20 years. Thanks to securities platforms such as Trade Republic, anyone with a smartphone can now be part of the markets live.
Some who have caught fire may be considering a job in finance. At the same time, some interested parties shy away from the requirements, such as particularly good knowledge of mathematics or a degree in economics. WELT explains how the path to the financial sector succeeds and where the opportunities are particularly good.
As in other areas, demographic change is making itself felt in finance and accounting. This is expressed, among other things, in the increasing aging of the skilled workers in this market, observes Stephan Bahns, recruiter and Vice President at DIS AG. In general, unemployment in finance and accounting is less than one percent.
In its 16 years as a recruiter, Bahns has identified a continuous need in the field. After all, quarterly and annual financial statements always have to be made – regardless of whether you are in a crisis or not. Bahns is certain that those who work in finance and accounting therefore have excellent career prospects in Germany.
During the pandemic, for example, the demand for controllers increased. Many companies were uncertain in their so-called “forecasts”, especially in the early Corona period: they wanted to calculate and calculate the risk scenarios. Many were looking for forecasts and wondered where the journey was going.
Accounts payable and accounts receivable clerks work more in clerical work. The accounts receivable clerk takes care of creating invoices and posting incoming payments. If the customer does not pay on time, the accounts receivable clerk clarifies the open items and initiates the dunning run. Accounts payable clerks, on the other hand, post liabilities. The financial accountant can combine both, and he also prepares the quarterly and annual financial statements.
At the same time, it is the preliminary stage to becoming an accountant – currently the most sought-after profile in the field of accounting. Every company in Germany must balance according to the German Commercial Code (HGB). If it is active abroad, international rules and laws also apply.
The accountants do not necessarily need an academic background. There are various training courses that can prepare you for a job. In the case of an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk, however, the proportion of accounting is higher than in an apprenticeship as an office clerk.
For the area of controlling, most candidates have a degree in business administration with a focus on finance and accounting. Whether a bachelor's or master's degree is required depends on the specific position. Today's controllers often focus on BI controlling ("BI" is short for "Business Intelligence").
The area is still very Excel-based. But controllers are also increasingly developing “BI landscapes”. Such business intelligence controlling tools work to a certain extent like an upgrade to Excel, with which you can evaluate various key figures. Ideally, controllers should have worked in accounting before, which helps with understanding, says Bahns.
An important characteristic for the controlling department used to be the so-called "number crunching" - i.e. a high affinity for numbers. In the meantime, according to Bahns, it is also about being able to present and process the figures. One of the aims is to make complex relationships easier to understand.
A tax advisory exam is mandatory for tax experts. Because the failure rate is usually very high, there are only a few suitable candidates on the market. Depending on their exam grade, tax consultants can earn six figures, and beginners start with a gross annual salary of 70,000 euros.
In tax offices, earnings are generally much better, but leisure time tends to be foregone here than is the case in the “tax departments” of corporations, as Bahns explains.
In order to be able to work as a stock exchange trader, you need appropriate training followed by certification. Annual starting salaries of up to 60,000 euros can be found on various salary portals.
Stockbrokers or "brokers" deal in securities or advise customers - private individuals to larger institutions - about possible purchases. According to Bahns, however, the area is increasingly falling victim to the use of artificial intelligence.
After all, the algorithms promise more speed and accuracy. The recruiter states that the main qualifications for prospective stock exchange traders are knowledge of stocks and price fluctuations and having previously worked in the trading sector.
Banks, on the other hand, are often looking for so-called "central functions": Due to the trend towards greater consideration of ESG guidelines (environmental, social and corporate governance), financial institutions must act more and more ethically.
That is why the institutes are investing more in IT and compliance departments. Bahns says that anyone who is clever here can earn salaries of up to 80,000 to 90,000 euros a year after a few years. However, the HR expert observes that the profession of "banker" has lost some of its reputation compared to previous years.
The bank clerk and the bank clerk, as you know them from the local house bank, is a training occupation. In customer business, they advise private individuals or companies on account management and financial investments, take care of the conclusion of contracts or control the internal work processes of a bank and check compliance with legal regulations.
According to figures from the Federal Employment Agency, applicants with a high school diploma are statistically most frequently trained in this profession. However, there is no professional rule for this. A third of the trainees have an intermediate qualification. Bank clerks not only work at savings banks and direct banks, but sometimes also at stock exchanges, in securities trading or as credit analysts.
In larger banks, the field of employment is also broader. Especially with direct banks like ING Germany. Unlike a smaller house bank, where the conditions are discussed with a personal advisor, at ING product managers set the conditions.
“They usually have a degree in business administration, economics or business informatics,” reports Stefan Doeppes, Recruiting Manager at ING Germany.
In the classic banking business, the main training path is still very often that of a bank clerk, although people often work with career changers. "These can come from the insurance industry, for example," says Doeppes.
The skills sought always relate to the specific profiles. For example, when it comes to credit financing, the employees in the audit department should mainly be communicative: they are in contact with the customer and may have to request documents from them.
This applies less to the areas of approval or payment, says Doeppes. Basic knowledge of banking is important in any case. The most common training path is that of a merchant. Depending on the area, additional knowledge is also helpful. For example, terms such as land register or building interest should not be foreign words for employees in the construction financing sector.
Of course, the high demand for IT specialists also affects the banks. We are looking for developers and other IT specialists. ING also offers, among other things, a further training program for career changers called "Smart Movers". Those who are interested in the tech sector and pass the selection process can change jobs through retraining within the company.
"Everything on shares" is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 7 a.m. with the financial journalists from WELT. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.