Finance and accountancy continue to be some of the highest-paying job sectors in the UK, which unsurprisingly means it’s also one of the most desirable career paths.
While a career in finance can often require specific qualifications and longer working hours, it has a much higher pay ceiling than other sectors as you reach higher positions.
If you’re considering a career in finance, below we explore the best-paying jobs in finance in 2023.
Why consider a job in finance and accountancy?
While a finance and accountancy role typically involves working with money, there’s a variety of different career paths that all come under the ‘finance’ umbrella, many of which require different skill sets or have different responsibilities.
A finance analyst, for example, will have a vastly different experience to a finance officer – differences which can vary even further based on the business or company they work for.
While a job in finance generally requires excellent mathematics skills, higher-ranking roles lean more into planning, organisation, budget preparation and problem-solving, especially in larger businesses that have entire teams dedicated to managing their financial situation.
This means that no two roles are the same and there’s plenty of room for specialisation if you find you excel at a certain thing.
Obviously, salaries also tend to be higher in the finance sector, which is perfect if you’re motivated by earning more money and have the aptitude to work in the field.
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What are the best paying jobs in finance in 2023?
According to data from the Alexander Daniels 2023 Salary Guide, the best paying jobs in finance in 2023 are:
- Chief Financial Officer: £120,000 – £250,000
- Director of Tax: £115,000 – £150,000
- Head of Financial Planning & Analysis: £80,000 – £100,000
- Lead Finance Business Partner: £75,000 – £90,000
- Financial Accounting Manager: £65,000 – £75,000
- Head of Commercial Finance: £85,000 – £110,000
- Treasury Director: £90,000 – £120,000
Below is a breakdown of the highest paying jobs in finance in 2023 and the responsibilities they include:
Chief Financial Officer
Salary: £120,000 – £250,000 (large company) / £100,000 – £200,000 (SME)
Depending on the size of the company that you’re working for, you may have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a Finance Director or even both working in tandem. While the Finance Director generally manages the day-to-day running of the finance function, the CFO is more likely to work on an ‘overview basis’, developing financial strategies to achieve long-term business goals.
Since the CFO position is part of the senior leadership team, they’ll generally work with other SLT colleagues and board members to establish the company’s financial position, build strategies for the future and secure funding.
To be a good CFO, you’ll need exceptional management skills, the ability to communicate complex financial concepts to people that may not have the same technical knowledge and the skill set to propose new strategies around business financing.
As you’d imagine with a SLT position, a CFO role usually includes excellent benefits including generous annual leave allowance, private pension contributions, healthcare, equity or share options and a robust bonus scheme.
Director of Tax
Salary: £115,000 – £150,000
Although it’s not common for smaller businesses to have a dedicated tax function, larger group SME’s and international corporations generally rely on a dedicated team of tax specialists to ensure they’re compliant with legal processes and new legislation.
A Director of Tax heads up this function and is responsible for not only avoiding damaging penalties but also saving the company huge multi-million figure sums by employing tax efficient strategies across complex company structures.
Due to the nature of the role and ‘tax’ being seen as a relatively dull field, these roles are being made increasingly more competitive, offering exceptional salary packages with above-average benefits. Professionals with a CTA or ACA/CA qualification entering the world of tax can easily demand a starting salary of at least £50,000, while a Director of Tax can command over £100,000 per year.
Candidates for these types of roles are some of the most headhunted candidates in the entire sector and often receive immense remuneration packages.
Head of Financial Planning and Analysis
Salary: £80,000 – £100,000 (large company) / £70,000 – £85,000 (SME)
Financial analysis and the role it plays in planning is one of the fastest-growing areas in the finance sector, with more SME’s than ever before looking to build an internal function dedicated to financial planning.
A large contributor to this shift in attitude is the recent impact that negative external factors – such as the pandemic – have had on many businesses, demonstrating the importance of developing a robust and long-term financial plan.
Financial analysis attracts many young accountants and finance professionals as it represents a departure from the traditional cut-and-dry finance role. Modern analysis uses progressive and engaging tools to identify trends, analyse past performance and establish key metrics, providing information that can then drive success at all levels of the business.
This type of role is ideal for curious thinkers that want to explore a different side to finance, while leveraging their technical skill set and ability to manage others.
Browse our 2023 Salary Guide.
Lead Finance Business Partner
Salary: £75,000 – £90,000 (large company) / £70,000 – £80,000 (SME)
As the finance function within many businesses has evolved, we’re increasingly seeing accountants moving into Finance Business Partner positions, where they’re more directly involved in ‘business-facing’ action.
A finance business partner is an accountant that has a dedicated relationship with a specific business, business unit or group element that enables a long-term, active partnership between operations, management and the finance function.
They’ll provide ‘real-time’ support and analysis, acting as a trusted advisor and aiding decision-making.
It’s vital for a finance business partner to have exceptional verbal and written communication skills, as they’ll have to understand their audience and deliver information in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. The skills they utilise include analytical, commercial and communication skills.
Financial Accounting Manager
Salary: £65,000 – £75,000 (large company) / £55,000 – £65,000 (SME)
A financial accounting manager is a much more traditional example of what people consider when they think about ‘accountant’.
With a technical focus and a deep skill set, financial accountants oversee balance sheets, income statements and cash flow, ensuring the business operates safely and efficiently. While historically, financial accountants wouldn’t become involved in other facets of the business, we’re increasingly seeing financial accounting managers using their knowledge and historical data to inform decision-making.
Professionals going for this position tend to be more technically-trained with qualified status. Salaries can vary depending on the size of the business and the experience of the candidate, as well as the complexity of the finance function.
Head of Commercial Finance
Salary: £85,000 – £110,000 (large company) / £75,000 – £90,000 (SME)
While some financial professionals work in the day-to-day operation of a business, others prefer to contribute to business performance by working directly with marketing, sales and other commercial functions.
It’s the role of a Commercial Finance professional to oversee financial performance with a heavy emphasis on business partnerships and building strategies with sales and marketing to ensure long-term revenue streams.
Senior professionals in this field often interpret data and formulate strategies based on the information, which is then further developed by senior management.
In some cases, junior analysts that have experience in trend analysis may find themselves working towards this position, using both their technical knowledge and management skills to impact business performance.
Salary: £90,000 – £120,000
While a Treasury Director is critical to businesses of all sizes, it’s not necessarily a dedicated position in smaller companies.
Treasury is the department that ensures a company has enough money in the bank to carry out day-to-day operations.
It’s the role of any treasury professional – including the Director of Treasury – to consider cash planning while supporting the development of financial strategy and policy. A Treasury Director typically has to deal with multiple stakeholders within the business, providing clarity around financial issues.
Multiple factors may impact the amount that a Treasury Director can earn in a position, including the structure of the employer, whether the role involves banking relationship management and any further duties that are required.