Not every left-brain math and finance whiz possesses the more right-brain aptitude for writing, but if you're one of them, you can either work for others in financial writing, or carve a niche out for yourself as a consultant. It’s important to report facts in financial writing, but some jobs require you to persuade, warn or assist your readers, as well.
Peruse your state government agencies for financial writing jobs. There are bond agencies that work in housing and other programs that need to communicate regularly with investors through finance letters or annual reports. Other agencies need writers to put together reports detailing legislative budget bills. You will be working with accounting departments, legislative analysts and attorneys, helping them present financial information to audiences that vary in their ability to understand complex financial information.
You can be kept busy with the plethora of private companies that need financial writers. Investment firms target articles to their members and investors. Financial research firms need writers to transform research results and statistics into easy-to-read reports for their banking and investment clients. Investor groups or small angel investment firms send writers to help start-up companies write business plans. Companies considering expansion or other business changes hire writers to prepare situation analyses, which they present to their boards, or to banks and equity firms.
Accounting and Legal Consultancies
Accountants are accustomed to writing simple reports and letters, but occasionally they need to write more detailed reports and opinions. Examples include cases of fraud or investigation; receivership of companies, during which forensic companies have to submit regular, detailed reports; and expert opinions in investigations and lawsuits. These situations require clear and simple language, breaking financial terms into layman’s language and using a more active voice, and are ideal for writers with an accounting or legal background -- or both. You can set up your own consultancy around this business model.
The “traditional” business writer is the journalist who writes on business and finance topics for newspapers and magazines. Topics include individual and household finances, and the stock market. Each news outlet determines the range of financial expertise required of its writers and how much weight that carries; if you are a strong writer, quick learner and submit an impressive writing sample, that may be enough to earn you a trial, even if you don't have extensive experience playing the stock market.
- California Department of Finance: Writing Style Guidelines
- Business Insider: Business Insider is Hiring a Markets & Finance Writer
- New York Financial Writers’ Association: History
- New York State Society of CPAs: The Trust Professional; Accountants as Communicators
- New York State Society of CPAs: The CPA Journal; Seven Tips for Better Litigation Consultant Reports
- BusinessJournalism.org: Reynolds Center – Fidelity Investments Looking for Writers, Editors with Finance Background
- Financial Executives Research Foundation: What Do Users of Private Financial Statements Want?
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