Financial Job Descriptions and What They Mean

Financial services work team in a conference room.

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Within the financial services industry, especially in Wall Street firms, compensation tends to be much higher than that for comparable positions in other industries.

The lucrative revenue streams that many of these firms earn are only part of the equation. Just as important is the industry's heavy emphasis on lean staffing and employee productivity.

Especially in support or administrative functions, job holders frequently are expected to discharge a much wider range of duties than their counterparts elsewhere. Meanwhile, an important metric used by senior management in many leading financial services firms is the ratio of support personnel to producers. This ratio is aggressively managed downward, to minimize administrative overhead.

What Job Descriptions Mean

As a result, the actual duties associated with jobs in financial services often are much broader than those spelled out in the formal job descriptions. Likewise, where job descriptions do list job responsibilities completely, they tend to be considerably broader than those for equivalent or comparable positions in other industries. Within financial services, a high degree of multitasking is expected of employees.

Examples of Job Descriptions

People with financial reporting and analysis jobs inside financial services firms, especially individuals in controller organizations, are particularly likely to multitask, to have broad job descriptions, and/or to have actual responsibilities that far exceed the parameters of their formal job descriptions.

It is not uncommon for departmental controllers to be responsible not only for expense control and financial reporting but also for such diverse matters as market research, general data analysis, product development, corporate strategy, business forecasting, workplace technology, and human resources. Controllers often act as de facto chiefs of staff for the line executives whom they support.


Jobs with varied duties and/or broad job descriptions are likely to be especially remunerative because they combine multiple positions into one. They offer varied work experience in one place, without actually changing jobs. Meanwhile, they also provide built-in opportunities for redefining your job to suit your current interests and future career goals.

High-energy people will enjoy the pace that a multitasking position presents. The ambitious will relish the opportunity to prove their worth and gain exposure in several different fields.


Multitasking jobs, with broad job descriptions and/or actual responsibilities that far exceed those in the job descriptions, are bound to be stressful, as you must constantly juggle a wide variety of responsibilities with limited opportunities to offload duties during crunch periods. Long and unpredictable hours can be part of the tradeoff for the benefits of higher pay, better exposure, and enhanced accelerated career development.