Internship Guides

Remote Finance Internship Guide

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Taylor-Tabusa

By Taylor Tabusa | January 12th 2020
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Industry Overview 

Finance is an industry comprising many types of work that involve management, creation and the study of capital and investments. Education combined with a remote internship in finance could lead to employment in a broad range of settings, including banks and financial institutions, investment firms, insurance companies, many levels of government, and organizations in most sectors of the economy. Job titles related to finance include financial research analyst, trader, securities analyst, chief financial officer, investment advisor, and many more. To succeed in this vertical takes communication skills strong enough to understand and explain complex economic concepts, research and analytical skills to be able to perform statistical analysis and computer modelling, problem-solving skills, to interpret data and come up with solutions, and organizational skills, in order to multi-task and apply theory to practice.

In this article we will sketch out what to expect from a remote finance internships, where you might be working, and which personal traits are best suited to this career path. We’ll explore the skills employers currently value, how to approach the application process, and what the latest job descriptions are like. Finally, we’ll look at long-term career trajectories and salary expectations.  

What will I be Doing as an Intern?

Your remote finance internship tasks will depend on the setting. From research to financial reports, building client relationships to modelling investment trends, remote interns may be called upon to assist with any number of activities. Here are some of the largest areas of practice.

 

Financial Planning

In financial planning or wealth management, remote interns help provide clients with customized financial plans and portfolios, while learning from experienced wealth advisors. Since a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation is generally advisable to work in this field, employers may prefer applicants who plan to obtain it. 

 

Corporate Finance

Remote interns in corporate finance could forecast profits and losses, work on improvement projects to increase efficiency, model data to apply to business insights, help obtain lines of credit, execute transactions from deal sourcing to deal closing, perform internal audits, and more. 

 

Commercial Banking

Commercial banks of all sizes may provide remote internships, where you could perform credit risk analysis and prepare credit approval packages, assist in client relationships and portfolio management, process loan requests, participate in marketing, or assist with basic underwriting and financial analysis. 

 

Investment Banking

If you are interested in stocks and bonds or corporate securities, a remote internship in this sector could find you working on live transactions, conducting research to analyze market trends, helping to execute financing and M&A deals, or participating in client meetings, due diligence, and other client interactions. 

 

Hedge Funds

As a remote finance intern at a hedge fund, you could be asked to research and maintain accurate financial records, prepare financial reports, gather statistical data, build relationships with key executives, pitch investment ideas, analyze public markets, prospect companies for potential fund investment, and more. Employers may favour candidates interested in pursuing a CFA.

 

Private Equity, Venture Capital

Private equity and venture capital firms help fund and support businesses, via different investment approaches. Remote private equity interns may help evaluate industry trends, perform in-depth analysis of the market share and competitive positions of acquisition targets, develop cash flow models, prepare pitch decks, and more. Remote venture capital interns may help recruit and select companies, perform due diligence, design and execute marketing and business development plans, provide research, financial modelling, and market analysis, propose new investment targets, and more.

 

Insurance

Insurance companies help both individuals and businesses protect themselves from potential losses. Remote interns, while deepening their knowledge of insurance business models and industry norms, help support underwriting functions, assist with client transactions, maintain agency relationships, perform LOB (line of business) analyses, help evaluate losses and negotiate settlements, and more.

 

Public Accounting

Remote accounting interns typically assist with audits, reviews, compilation and consulting engagements, tax compliance and consulting, projects to improve tax effectiveness in supply chain structures, preparing tax returns, gathering information for financial reports, and more. Many employers, such as the Big Four, prefer applicants who intend to pursue the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation. 

 

Is this Industry Right for Me?

There are a number of ways into a career in finance, some of them unexpected. For example, a computer science major may not immediately think of finance as a potential career path. However in a LinkedIn survey, computer science was named as the degree most likely to lead to success in fintech, a growing sector that combines financial services and technology. For retail banking, which is the type of bank that offers financial services directly to individuals (rather than businesses), a business administration degree is considered the most useful. An interest in psychology could lead to a fruitful research career in behavioral finance, which examines the emotional context behind investment trends. An example posting for a trader intern (see below under “Current Postings”) prefers candidates with expertise in the following subjects for their training program: Applied Math, Engineering, Statistical Modelling Calculus, Computer Science, and Physics.

 

A good way to evaluate whether or not you are well suited to a remote finance internship or future career in finance would be to read industry publications such as The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The Economist, and others. You could also look into the steps required to become a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). CFP (Certified Financial Planner)  SIE (Securities Industry Essentials) certified trader, CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst), or FRM (Financial Risk Manager). How does it feel to immerse yourself in the culture and terminology of the industry? Does it energize you, make you want to learn more?

 

According to a survey of the Forbes Finance Council, some of the most sought-after qualities in finance job candidates include: customer skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence (the ability to understand and manage emotions — both your own and those of others), trustworthiness, honesty, openness to learning, and an understanding of the fact that building wealth takes time and sustained effort. It’s more quiet, careful work than dazzle and glamour.

 

Benefits of a Finance Internship

A remote internship in this vertical will increase your future employability. You will find out how the theories you’ve been learning about in your coursework apply to practical situations. You may discover that you prefer theory itself over practical situations, which would point toward a possible career in research or academics. Or you might discover an aspect of the profession that you want to explore further, illuminating a possible career path. You could potentially realize that finance isn’t for you at all! What a remote finance internship will almost certainly provide is a number of unexpected learning opportunities, experience in a real day-to-day work environment, and a chance to meet new people, both peers and superiors, who might become mentors or friends. 

 

How  do I get one?

A remote internship or career in finance requires a range of technical, technological, and interpersonal skills. Soft skills, such as clear and effective communication, management, and establishing long-term relationships with clients are increasingly considered just as important as the ability to crunch numbers. According to staffing firm Robert Half‘s Finance & Accounting Salary Guide, the most in-demand skills are as follows:

Key Technology Skills

      • Cloud-based payroll and human resource information systems
      • Data analytics, protection and privacy
      • Electronic health records
      • ERP systems
      • Excel (advanced)
      • Financial modelling and forecasting
      • QuickBooks (for smaller businesses)

 

Key Soft Skills

      • Ability to work independently, in virtual teams
      • Attention to detail
      • Comfortable with change
      • Commitment to continual learning
      • Creativity and innovation
      • Customer service
      • Problem solving
      • Writing and verbal skills 

 

Acquiring such skills could involve any combination of experience, college or university education in business, finance, computer science, accounting, or related field, and training in one of the professional finance designations. While many people interested in finance will consider doing an MBA, opting to learn through work instead is equally valid. 

 

Your Cover Letter and Resume

In your cover letter, be as specific as you can in terms of what made you apply to this particular position. Begin by introducing yourself and stating your educational institution’s name, and your major. You could name the recruiter you met, presentation you attended, or anything you read about the organization you’re applying to. Mention what it was that appealed to you and made you want to apply. State the exact role you’re applying to, and if you’re working from a posting, use the terms and phrases in the job description to briefly outline how your skills and experience match up with the tasks and requirements. Keep things fairly light, polite, and relatively formal. You don’t need to go into too much detail — just the facts! One page is plenty for a cover letter.

 

In your resume, try to explain how you contributed to each work experience listed including how you impacted the company or organization you worked for and try to quantify your achievements when possible. For example, if you saved the company $10,000 make sure to include that in your resume. Also, use positive action verbs: instead of ‘I made a new program that increased conversion rate,’ you should edit it to say ‘Initiated a new program that increased conversion rate by 20%.’ You can apply those tips to any success you’ve achieved in academic projects and experiments, as well. Mention any experience or training you’ve had that is relevant to the job description but avoid including things you would not be prepared to discuss in depth in an interview, even if they seem to make your resume more impressive. You might try scouring the internet for resumes in your particular vertical, “investment banking internship resume,” e.g., and adapting them to your situation.

remote-internships-Remote-Finance-internship-Featured

 

Interview

At the interview stage, you will need to prove that you really have what it takes to perform well in the role. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to complete a test before getting the actual interview, as is the case when applying for a quantitative trader internship. Be prepared to answer all manner of technical questions that pertain to the role you hope to fill.. For example, if asked to describe the line-by-line steps of making a cash flow statement, how would you respond? It can be easy to lose sight of the basics as you focus on applications. Be sure to brush up on basic terminology and concepts as your interview date approaches. If you are one of the candidates selected for an interview, it means that everything you’ve said in your resume and cover letter, and your test results, if applicable, indicate that you can do the remote internship. The interview is a chance for your potential employers to get to know you, fill in the blanks, and see if you would be a good fit for their team. You can also take the opportunity to ask questions about the organization and what they expect from you.

 

Where Do I Apply?

Check CareerUp for postings and/or to get started with a personalized remote internship application program. You can check with individual companies or organizations that interest you, as well as trusted job sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and others. Remote finance internship candidates interested in public accounting should check with the Big Four: KPMG, EY, Deloitte, and PwC along with other big companies such as Visa, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Coca-Cola. You may already have resources in place at your academic institution. Check with your department coordinator or career center to see about internship programs or recruitment events.

 

Current Postings

Ready to start looking at postings and making applications? Here’s what to expect from a remote finance internship posting you would find on a basic search. The following are adapted from postings active as of October 2020. 

 

Intern, Financial Planning & Analysis

Company description: A non-profit organization providing innovative, high-quality health care coverage via an array of evidence-based approaches to health management.

 

Responsibilities:

      • Assist in preparation of monthly schedules and reports in support of monthly financial close
      • Research, tracking, and review of monthly and ongoing administrative expenses for multiple departmental and enterprise functions
      • Support of divisional product leads in reporting for product line specific reporting
      • Assist in forecasting and budgeting
      • Other ad-hoc analysis in support of overall business or performance objectives

 

Requirements:

      • Current undergraduate studies in Finance, Accounting, or Business
      • Experience with Excel
      • Ability to manage deadlines and shifting priorities
      • Strong organizational skills
      • Strong oral and written communication skills

 

Finance Intern

Company description: A division of the Federal Reserve System that provides operational guidance and technology support for currency and coin supply to depository institutions.

 

Responsibilities:

      • Process Improvement and Lean/Six Sigma project management
      • Current and Future State Mapping
      • Voice of the Customer (VOC) and Critical to Quality (CTQ) facilitations
      • Improvement identification and recommendation
      • Financial reporting and analysis, including Variance Analysis, Financial Forecasting, and Stakeholder presentations 

 

Requirements:

      • Affinity for Public Service
      • Financial acumen and undergraduate-level understanding of financial and cost accounting concepts
      • Strong verbal and written communicator
      • Strong team-based collaborator

 

https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide/accounting-and-finance

 

Trader Intern 

Company description: A global hedge fund and financial services company that delivers market-leading investment returns to capital partners to help achieve their financial goals.

 

Responsibilities:

      • Take part in a structured program that allows you to train alongside peers and senior team members, as well as the CEO
      • Develop in-depth knowledge of a financial market
      • Apply advanced statistical techniques to trading
      • Constantly learn and adapt trading approaches
      • Innovate by using one of the industry’s most powerful trading platforms

 

Requirements:

      • Advanced training in Applied Math, Engineering, Statistical Modelling Calculus, Computer Science, Physics or related disciplines
      • Ability to think about the world systematically and quantitatively, as well as the ability to deal with uncertainty in a rigorous and statistical approach
      • Interest in applying technology and/or quantitative skills to solve complex trading problems
      • Passion for the markets and a desire to seize investment opportunities
      • Experience with programming, scripting, and/or statistical software strongly preferred

 

What Happens after my Remote Finance Internship?

After you complete your internship and educational requirements, you can reasonably expect to find entry-level employment in your preferred field. Compensation range varies, depending not only on your specialty but also where your employer is located.

 

Corporate Finance:

    • Entry-level General Accountant, low range: $40,000
    • Chief Financial Officer, high range: $500,500
    • Entry-level Financial Reporting, low range: $51,250
    • SEC Financial Reporting director, high range: $224,750
    • Entry-level Financial Systems administrator, low range: $58,000
    • Financial Systems director, high range: $251,000

 

Financial Services, Banking and Financial Markets:

    • Entry-level hedge fund accountant, low range: $42,750
    • Chief Financial Officer, high range: $517,750
    • Entry-level financial planning and analysis, low range: $53,000
    • Financial planning and analysis, manager: $168,250
    • Entry-level Market Risk Analyst, low range: $75,750
    • Chief Risk Officer, high range: $288,500
    • Entry-level Sales/Trader Assistant, low range: $50,000
    • Chief Compliance Officer, high range: $327,750

 

As for quantitative traders, the median salary, after an entry-level rate of $37,167 on average, is $316,764. You can look up salary expectations for individual roles and even companies on most job sites, such as Glassdoor

 

What Happens if it Isn’t for Me?

Should you come to the decision that a remote finance internship is not the remote internship for you, even after completing one, good job! Figuring out what doesn’t work for you is important. Reflect on what you’ve seen and learned and begin to clarify for yourself what appealed to you and what didn’t, from setting to subject matter, company culture to the exact skills you had to use, and the ones you had to set aside. Did you enjoy the mathematical aspect, or was there something about the legalities of a situation that interested you more? Can you pinpoint something you felt was missing from your day-to-day activities? Perhaps the work was acceptable, but the setting was too hectic, or too quiet. Part of the benefit of a remote internship is that it can help you get more specific about what constitutes the best work situation for you. Then you can set about trying to find a closer match, next time.

 

Benefits of a Finance Internship

A remote internship in this vertical will increase your future employability. You will find out how the theories you’ve been learning about in your coursework apply to practical situations. You may discover that you prefer theory itself over practical situations, which would point toward a possible career in research or academics. Or you might discover an aspect of the profession that you want to explore further, illuminating a possible career path. You could potentially realize that finance isn’t for you at all! What a remote finance internship will almost certainly provide is a number of unexpected learning opportunities, experience in a real day-to-day work environment, and a chance to meet new people, both peers and superiors, who might become mentors or friends. 

 

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