Professional Services Firms

Dive into career paths and job duties at professional financial services firms

Professional services encompass a wide range of finance and banking jobs, such as public accounting, management consulting, advisory roles, and so on. Many firms tend to specialize in a few key areas, while some large firms offer broad services to clients. For example, the Big Four accounting firms are the largest professional services firms in the world, and they provide taxation, audit, corporate finance, and other services to Fortune 500 companies. Due to the vast assortment of job opportunities within professional services firms, those looking to enter the industry have many career options to choose from.

Typical Job Duties at Professional Services Firms

Professional services firms offer their extensive knowledge and expertise to assist business clients in reaching their goals. Because offerings at these firms can be so diverse, we’ve broken down their services into three main groups: Advisory, Valuations, and Risk Management.


Advisory services work to provide clients with real-world expertise so businesses can effectively make decisions that support their profitability and future growth. Professionals within advisory positions must have excellent communication skills and a deep understanding of financial principles to ensure their recommendations will strengthen their clients’ portfolios. Advisory services branch further into:

  • M&A advisory
  • Restructuring
  • Due diligence
  • Consulting


Valuation is the practice of determining the true worth of a company or asset. Strong analytical competencies, an ability to interpret financial statements, and expertise in financial markets are critical for those to succeed at a career in valuation. Valuation can be broken down into two key types:

  • Notional valuation
  • Transactional valuation

Risk Management

Risk management works to identify and protect against risks that can harm the profitability of an institution or company. An effective risk management professional is a persuasive problem-solver with excellent communication skills and a deep understanding of the firm’s unique business operations. Risk management can be further classified into three groups:

  • Market risk
  • Credit risk
  • Operational risk

Job Qualifications and Compensation Factors

Many large professional services firms recruit new hires out of college or laterally from other industries or competitors. Within these institutions, it’s common for junior employees to perform the bulk of hands-on work, while senior managers oversee the quality of that work and meet with clients to discuss big-picture strategies. Often, employees will spend a few years within professional services firms and leave to pursue career opportunities on the buy side or at large corporations.

Professional services firms tend to offer less compensation than other areas of finance, such as the buy side and sell side. However, management consulting roles at prestigious firms are associated with greater pay and bonus opportunities.

Recommended Financial Courses for a Career in Professional Services

Depending on the specific position you’re interested in pursuing within professional services firms, you can take advantage of CFI’s wide range of online certifications and courses that you need to jumpstart your career. From Accounting Fundamentals to Risk Management, Valuation to M&A Modeling, we give you all the tools you need to pursue a lucrative career in professional services.

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