Why you should work in finance at a startup — When looking for a job in finance most people think of Wall Street and big banks, but have you ever considered working in finance at a startup? Described as the “New Gold Rush,” the tech boom has created more opportunities to join a startup than ever before. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in New York’s Silicon Alley for the past few years, and I feel it’s time I share some of my experiences.
After working for a number of established companies with processes and structures galore, I decided it was time for a change. I wanted an environment where I could fast-track my career. This was how I discovered how intimidating and exhilarating working for a startup could be.
Newly founded businesses have to build everything from scratch. As an early employee, with no guide on how things were done before, this can be really challenging. On the other hand, early stage companies put product, sales, and technology at the forefront, challenging you to innovate, think outside the box, and constantly problem-solve.
Working at a startup, I realized that I had to use my knowledge and creativity to build my own processes and structures. In doing so, I could be instrumental in building a company from the ground up. Coming to work every day knowing that I can make an impact, and that I am helping build something great, really makes a difference. This kind of mindset and drive at a startup is contagious and creates an often euphoric can-do spirit where the sky is the limit.
Startups allow you to be creative and innovative, but where does finance come into the picture?
Startups allow you to be creative and innovative, but where does finance come into the picture? Any business aiming to grow big needs a structured financial setup. This is where you’ll find finance job opportunities aplenty! You will be solving tasks like: How do we measure our financial performance? What are they key drivers of our business? When will we have to raise the next round of funding? As a part of this journey, the number of people telling you what to do or how to do it will be limited. That is the charm and challenge of working for a startup, but if you are a self-driven person there is no limit to the tasks or projects you can get involved with and take ownership of. You’ll be given the opportunity to understand and influence the business from the very heart of the engine. You’ll be able to set the agenda and help drive the business to its full potential. In a short amount of time you will get the opportunity to explore, not only every corner of finance, but also gain insight into the different functions of a company and how they work together.
As the company grows so do your opportunities and tasks. Growth adds more people, departments and complexity. As the business matures and evolves so will its needs and challenges. Working for a startup gives you a unique professional experience. It lets you grow and show the world the creativity and gumption you’re capable of. Rather than following predeveloped processes and structures, you can create your own and make your job what you truly want it to be.
When you consider the fact that you spend the vast majority of your waking hours in the office, wouldn’t you rather be making a difference every day, working with dedicated and passionate people who are pushing the envelope of what’s possible?
About the Author
Jonatan Borges is responsible for Financial Planning & Analysis at Trustpilot, a global multi-language review community that builds trust and transparency between consumers and businesses. He holds a master's degree in Finance and Accounting and a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School (Denmark). He has extensive knowledge within finance and accounting and has significant experience in startups, consulting, online, shipping and IT-solutions.