Map your route to a career in private equity finance

28 September 2017 | Stuart Paterson, Consultant, Finance & Operations

For newly qualified accountants who have just completed their training contract in
audit, assurance or fund administration, deciding on your next career move is an
important step.

Private Equity continues to be the poster boy or girl for the financial services industry. With their well-appointed offices, (usually in Mayfair) and their well-heeled partners it is easy to see why.

But what opportunities are there for a newly qualified accountant looking to make the move in house, in pe?

It’s a well-trodden path, with a steady stream of accountants moving into private equity as a fund or management accountant.

The fund accountant role is specific to asset management and offers a strong career path in alternative investment industry.  It is likely that you will have some exposure to funds before moving in-house, possibly from private equity audit or fund administration.

Management accounting is more flexible, although prior financial services experience is advantageous.

To move in to investment accounting the stars need to align. These are aspirational roles due to the analytical and commercial content, and funds tend to be able to pick and choose the best people in the market at any one time.                                            

                                             Stu Insight Photo 2

From these positions the career path can lead to a financial controller position where you would typically cover both fund and management accounting.  You may also take on some responsibility for Tax as well.

The top of the financial management pyramid is CFO or Finance Director.   In the larger funds this role will cover finance with some exposure to investments from a due diligence and structuring perspective. The smaller the fund, the more tasks you are expected to handle. This could be: Finance, Operations, Compliance, Legal, HR, IT as well as a greater exposure to tax structuring and fund raising. It is also highly likely that you will need to create models/processes in Excel in the absence of an external system.

In order to be able to make the most of these opportunities, it’s important to try to gain as much exposure as possible to all parts of the organisation and make yourself an even more valuable asset to a fund.  With private equity CFOs typically taking home between £200-300,000 or more a year and have long term incentives, which for the top 10% can be in the millions, there is plenty of financial reward.

If you are a qualified accountant looking to move in to private equity finance, take a look at our featured jobs or give me a call. I’d love to discuss opportunities with you.

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Stuart.Paterson@PER-people.com / +44 20 7747 5433

About the author

Stuart joined us in London in 2016 to lead our finance and operations search division. He has made a quick and effective start at placing people in senior positions within finance, operations, legal and compliance.

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