Basics of Finance Work Schedules

Jan 27, 2024

14 Min Read

1. What are the typical work schedules for entry-level positions in finance?

The typical work schedules for entry-level positions in finance vary depending on the specific field and company. However, most entry-level roles in finance require standard business hours of 9am to 5pm, with some variations in start and end times. Some positions may also require occasional overtime or weekend work during busy periods.

In investment banking, analysts and associates often work long hours including weekends to meet deadlines and complete deals. On average, they may work anywhere from 60-80 hours per week.

In corporate finance, the typical work schedule may be more consistent with standard business hours, but may also require additional time during busy periods or when working on important projects.

In financial planning and analysis (FP&A) roles, the schedule may be more predictable with standard business hours but could also involve extra time during budget season or when preparing reports for upper management.

Overall, it is important to note that the finance industry can be fast-paced and demanding, so working outside of regular business hours can be common for entry-level positions.

2. How do work schedules vary for finance professionals at different levels of seniority?

The work schedules for finance professionals can vary significantly depending on their level of seniority and the specific industry they work in. Here are some common working patterns:

1. Entry-level/Junior Finance Professionals:
At this level, the typical work schedule is often a standard 9-to-5 job with occasional late nights or weekends during busy periods. They may also have to stay late to meet deadlines or deal with urgent issues.

2. Mid-Level/Senior Finance Professionals:
As they gain more experience and take on more responsibilities, mid-level/senior professionals may have slightly longer work hours, ranging from 8-to-6 or even 7-to-7. They may also have to travel frequently, especially if they work for multinational corporations.

3. Upper-Level/Executive Finance Professionals:
Executives in finance usually have a flexible work schedule that depends on the specific role and organization. They may occasionally have to put in long hours during busy periods, but they often have more control over their time and can delegate tasks to lower-level employees.

4. Industry-Specific Variations:
Certain industries within finance, such as investment banking and private equity, require much longer working hours compared to others like corporate finance or accounting.

In summary, while finance professionals at all levels typically work long hours, the intensity of the workload can vary significantly based on seniority level and industry. As individuals progress in their careers, they may have more control over their schedules and can balance work with other commitments outside of the office.

3. Are there any common expectations for working hours in the finance industry?

There are no set or common expectations for working hours in the finance industry, as it varies depending on the specific job role and company culture. Some positions, such as investment banking and trading, may require longer working hours due to the fast-paced and demanding nature of the job. However, other roles such as accounting or financial planning may have more regular working hours. It is important to clarify any expectations with your employer during the hiring process.

4. How does the time of year affect work schedules in finance, such as during tax season or end-of-year reporting?

The time of year can have a significant impact on work schedules in finance. This is because certain times of the year are busier than others due to various financial activities and obligations.

Here are some examples of how the time of year can affect work schedules in finance:

1. Tax season:
Tax season typically runs from January to April, during which individuals and businesses must file their tax returns. This is a busy time for accountants, tax advisors, and other finance professionals as they help clients prepare and file their taxes. Work schedules during tax season can be intense, with long hours and tight deadlines.

2. End-of-year reporting:
At the end of each fiscal year, companies are required to report their financial results and statements to shareholders, regulators, and other stakeholders. This process involves auditing financial records, preparing reports, and presenting them to various parties. As such, it can be a busy and critical time for finance professionals as they ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations.

3. Quarterly reporting:
In addition to annual reporting requirements, companies must also report their financial performance every quarter to investors. This means that finance teams must often work extra hours during these periods to meet reporting deadlines.

4. Budget planning:
Many organizations engage in budget planning at specific times of the year (e.g., at the beginning or end of the fiscal year). This involves forecasting future expenses and revenues and allocating resources accordingly. Finance professionals are heavily involved in this process, which can significantly impact their workload during these periods.

5. Regulatory deadlines:
Financial institutions are subject to strict regulatory requirements that require timely submissions of reports and disclosures throughout the year. These deadlines can put pressure on finance professionals to meet specific dates set by regulatory bodies.

In summary, the timing of certain financial activities can greatly influence work schedules in finance. Professionals in this field must adapt accordingly and be prepared for potential changes in workload during these busier periods.

5. Are there any notable differences in work schedules between different types of finance roles (e.g. investment banking vs. corporate finance)?

Yes, there can be notable differences in work schedules between different types of finance roles. For example, investment banking roles typically involve long and demanding work hours, with many analysts and associates working 80+ hours per week, often including weekends and late nights. This is due to the fast-paced and competitive nature of the industry, as well as the need to meet tight deadlines for deals and transactions.

On the other hand, corporate finance roles may have more traditional working hours, typically around 40-50 hours per week. These roles involve managing the finances of a single company or organization, rather than working on multiple deals for various clients. However, during times of mergers and acquisitions or financial reporting periods, these roles may also require longer hours.

Additionally, some finance roles such as financial planning and analysis (FP&A) or wealth management could involve more regular working hours with occasional periods of high demand for certain tasks or projects.

Overall, while there are variations in work schedules between different types of finance roles, it is important to note that all finance professionals must be prepared to work long hours at times and maintain a strong work ethic in order to succeed in this field.

6. Is it common for finance professionals to work overtime or weekends? If so, how often?

It is not uncommon for finance professionals to work overtime or on weekends, especially during busy periods such as tax season or end-of-quarter reporting. The frequency of overtime and weekend work can vary depending on the specific job responsibilities and industry, but it may be expected for finance professionals to put in extra hours when necessary to meet deadlines and complete important tasks.

7. What is the average daily workload like for a finance professional?

The average daily workload for a finance professional can vary greatly depending on the specific job role, industry, and company they work for. Generally, a finance professional can expect to spend their day analyzing financial data, preparing reports and presentations, attending meetings, conducting market research, managing budgets and expenses, collaborating with other departments in the organization, and staying updated on industry trends and regulations. They may also be responsible for making strategic decisions and providing financial recommendations to help the company achieve its goals. The workload may fluctuate depending on deadlines, projects, and any unforeseen issues that may arise.

8. Do most companies have set office hours for their finance teams, or do they have flexibility in their schedule?

Most companies have set office hours for their finance teams, which typically align with the company’s overall operating hours. This ensures that all team members are available during standard business times for meetings, collaboration, and completing tasks that may require input from other departments.

However, some companies may offer flexibility in scheduling for their finance teams. This could include staggered work schedules or remote work options. Flexibility in scheduling may also be dependent on the specific role and responsibilities of the team member. For example, accountants who need to work closely with clients or external partners may have more flexibility in their schedule compared to analysts who primarily work on internal projects.

Overall, while there may be some level of flexibility in scheduling for finance teams, most companies still expect their team members to be available during standard business hours for efficient teamwork and communication.

9. Are there any opportunities for remote work in financial positions?

Yes, there are opportunities for remote work in financial positions such as:

1. Financial Analyst
2. Accounting Manager
3. Bookkeeper
4. Tax Preparer
5. Investment Analyst
6. Financial Planner/Advisor
7. Credit Analyst
8. Underwriter
9. Budget Analyst
10. Virtual CFO/Controller.

10. How are vacation and personal days typically handled in the finance industry?

The handling of vacation and personal days in the finance industry can vary depending on the company and role within the industry. Generally, most full-time employees in the finance industry are entitled to a certain number of paid vacation days per year, typically ranging from 10-25 days. The exact amount of vacation days may also depend on the length of an employee’s tenure with the company.

In terms of requesting and scheduling vacation time, it is usually done through a formal process such as submitting a request through an online system or discussing with a manager. This allows for proper planning and coordination within the team to ensure that work is covered during an employee’s absence.

Personal or sick days are also commonly offered in the finance industry, typically ranging from 5-10 days per year. These days can be used for medical appointments, personal emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances. Like vacation time, requesting and scheduling personal days often follows a formal process within the company.

It’s important to note that policies regarding vacation and personal time off can vary between companies and roles within the finance industry. Some companies may have more generous policies while others may have more limited options for time off. It is recommended for job seekers to inquire about these policies during salary negotiations or when offered a position in order to fully understand their benefits package.

11. Are there any specific busy seasons or slower periods that affect work schedules in finance?

Finance may experience busy seasons and slower periods depending on the industry and company. Here are a few examples:

1. Tax season: For those working in accounting or tax, the first few months of the year leading up to April 15th can be extremely busy. This is the time when companies are filing their taxes and individuals are preparing their tax returns.

2. End of quarter/year: Companies often have reporting deadlines at the end of each financial quarter or year, which may lead to a busier workload for finance professionals during these times.

3. Corporate earnings season: Publicly traded companies have specific release dates for their quarterly earnings reports, and finance teams must work diligently to prepare these reports and meet regulatory requirements.

4. Holiday season: In retail and consumer finance, the holiday season around Thanksgiving and Christmas can be incredibly busy as companies manage increased sales volumes and handle any finance-related issues that arise.

5. Slow periods in certain industries: Some industries, such as real estate or tourism, may have slower periods due to seasonal changes or market fluctuations. This can also affect the workload of finance professionals in these industries.

In general, there may be busier periods around major financial events (such as tax deadlines or quarterly reports) and slower periods between these events. However, work schedules in finance can also vary greatly based on individual job responsibilities and company culture.

12. Is it common to have a structured break/lunch period during the workday in financial positions?

Yes, it is common to have a structured break/lunch period during the workday in financial positions. Many companies have set schedules for their employees’ lunch breaks and offer designated break areas or times for employees to take a breather from their work and recharge. This allows employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance and can also help improve productivity and focus during working hours.

13. Can you give an example of a typical day-to-day schedule for a financial analyst/manager/director/etc.

Sure, here is an example schedule for a financial analyst:

8:00 AM – Arrive at the office and check emails and any urgent tasks that need to be addressed
8:30 AM – Attend team meeting to discuss current projects and deadlines
9:00 AM – Conduct market research and analysis on potential investment opportunities
10:00 AM – Review and analyze financial statements of company clients
11:30 AM – Prepare presentations and reports for meetings with clients or managers
12:30 PM – Lunch break
1:30 PM – Participate in conference call with company executives to discuss budget planning
2:30 PM – Research industry trends and developments
3:30 PM – Meet with colleagues to collaborate on projects or provide guidance on analyses
4:30 PM – Finalize financial reports and submit to management
5:30 PM – Attend networking event or workshop to stay updated on industry changes
6:30 PM – Wrap up any remaining tasks and review schedule for the next day before leaving the office.

14. Do international companies or offices typically adhere to different work hours and schedules based on their time zone?

Yes, international companies or offices often follow different work hours and schedules based on their time zone. This allows for better coordination and communication between teams located in different regions. For example, a company with offices in the United States and Japan might have their US office working from 9 AM to 5 PM local time, while their Japanese office works from 9 AM to 5 PM local time as well. This overlap of working hours ensures that team members in both offices can easily collaborate and communicate without significant time differences impacting productivity.

15.Except traditional corporates what other options are available to use alternate working patterns like flexi-time and job shares?

Some other options for utilizing alternate working patterns like flexi-time and job shares include telecommuting/remote work, compressed workweeks (e.g. four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days), part-time arrangements or reduced hours, and freelancing/contract work. Additionally, companies may offer sabbatical programs for employees to take extended breaks from work while maintaining their position, or various forms of flexible scheduling (e.g. choosing start/end times within certain parameters). Employee-created arrangements, such as job crafting or self-managed teams, can also allow for greater flexibility and alternate working patterns within a traditional corporate structure.

16.Is flexi-time commonly offered as an option in finance roles?

Flexi-time is not commonly offered as an option in finance roles. Finance roles typically have strict deadlines and require employees to work a set schedule in order to meet these deadlines. Additionally, finance roles often involve teamwork and collaboration, making it necessary for employees to be available during regular business hours. Flexi-time is more commonly offered in industries where work can be done independently and does not have strict deadlines or require constant collaboration with others.

17.How does having clients/partners/colleagues across different time zones affect one’s work schedule in a global company?

Working in a global company often means having clients, partners, and colleagues located across different time zones. This can have a significant impact on one’s work schedule in several ways:

1. Flexible working hours: With global teams, it may be necessary to adjust your working hours to ensure overlap with colleagues in different time zones. This could mean starting earlier or working later than usual.

2. Meeting coordination: Scheduling meetings can become more challenging due to the time differences. Team members may need to compromise and adjust their schedules to accommodate everyone’s preferred meeting times.

3. Communication challenges: In a global team, it is common for team members to rely heavily on virtual communication tools such as email, chat, and video conferencing. Constant communication becomes critical to keep projects on track and ensure everyone stays updated despite the time difference.

4. Deadlines and timelines: When working with international clients or partners, deadlines may need to be adjusted to allow for different time zones. This requires careful planning and coordination between team members.

5. Respect for cultural and religious differences: Working across different time zones also means being aware of cultural and religious differences that may affect work schedules. For example, some team members may observe certain holidays which could impact their availability during certain times of the year.

6. Longer workdays: In some cases, professionals working with global companies may need to extend their workday or work weekends to accommodate clients or colleagues in different time zones.

7. Burnout risks: The challenges of adapting one’s work schedule for multiple time zones can lead to increased stress and burnout if not managed properly.

In summary, having clients/partners/colleagues across different time zones can significantly impact one’s work schedule in a global company. It requires flexibility, effective communication skills, and awareness of cultural differences to successfully navigate the challenges posed by working across multiple time zones.

18.What strategies can be adopted by managers to handle workload effectively without stretching beyond office hours ?

1. Prioritizing tasks: Managers can prioritize their tasks based on urgency and importance, which will help them focus on the most critical tasks first and ensure that they are completed within office hours.

2. Delegating responsibilities: Delegation of responsibilities to team members not only helps in getting the work done efficiently but also reduces the workload on the manager. It is essential to delegate tasks based on each team member’s strengths and abilities.

3. Effective time management: Time management skills are crucial for managers to handle their workload effectively. This includes setting realistic deadlines, avoiding multitasking, and planning out each day’s tasks in advance.

4. Setting boundaries: It is important for managers to set clear boundaries with their team members regarding work-related calls or emails after office hours. This will help in creating a healthy work-life balance and prevent overworking.

5. Automating processes: Using technology to automate routine tasks can save a significant amount of time and free up the manager’s schedule for more critical tasks.

6. Managing interruptions: Managers should try to minimize interruptions during work hours by setting designated times for meetings and any impromptu discussions with team members.

7. Identifying inefficiencies: Regularly reviewing workflows and identifying areas of inefficiency can help managers streamline processes and save time.

8. Learning to say no: It is crucial for managers to learn how to say no if they are overloaded with work or if a task does not align with their priorities.

9. Taking breaks: Encouraging employees (including themselves) to take regular breaks throughout the day can increase productivity and reduce burnout.

10. Communicating effectively: Clear communication within the team is vital in managing workload effectively. Managers should communicate expectations, deadlines, and updates regularly with their teams, avoiding last-minute changes that could disrupt schedules.

11. Staying organized: Keeping track of all tasks, deadlines, and documents in one place can help managers stay organized and avoid missing any crucial deadlines.

12. Seeking support: If workloads become overwhelming, managers should seek support from their superiors or team members. Delegating tasks to others can help reduce stress and ensure that all tasks are completed on time.

13. Continuous learning: Managers should continuously learn new skills and techniques to improve their efficiency in managing workload and staying productive.

14. Developing a contingency plan: In case of urgent situations or unforeseen circumstances, having a backup plan can help managers handle the workload more effectively without stretching beyond office hours.

15. Practicing self-care: It is essential for managers to take care of their physical and mental well-being by getting enough rest, exercise, and engaging in activities outside of work for proper work-life balance.

19.Is it important to maintain a strict routine/schedule while working remotely or is more flexibility allowed?

There is no one answer to this question as it ultimately depends on the individual and their personal preferences and work style. However, maintaining a routine can be beneficial for staying organized and productive while working remotely. It can also help establish boundaries between work and personal time. On the other hand, some flexibility may also be allowed as long as it does not hinder productivity or interfere with meeting deadlines. Ultimately, finding a balance between structure and flexibility is key in managing remote work effectively.

20.Do most companies provide any incentives/benefits for employees who work beyond their designated hours?

It depends on the company and their policies. Some companies may offer overtime pay, bonuses, or time off for employees who work beyond their designated hours. Others may have flexible scheduling options or remote work arrangements. It is important to check with your employer to see what incentives and benefits they may offer for working beyond designated hours.


Stay Connected with the Latest