How Do I Become a Financial Planning Assistant?

D. Nelson

Financial planners are professionals who assist individuals and organizations in creating strategies for future growth. They often prepare balance sheets and financial statements, and provide advice on how best to invest or spend money. A financial planning assistant is a professional who helps a senior planner by gathering documents, corresponding with clients and colleagues, and performing research. To become a financial planning assistant, you should earn an undergraduate degree in a field such as finance, accounting, or economics. A postgraduate degree might not be necessary for a financial planning assistant, though many graduate students do work as financial planning assistants during their graduate internships.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

To become a financial planning assistant, you should have excellent communication skills. This means that you should be proficient at writing and speaking in a professional manner. Much of this job consists of researching and retrieving data, and then conveying necessary information to a senior planner. Business writing courses can be valuable for an aspiring financial planning assistant.

A person who wants to become a financial planning assistant should also feel comfortable learning to use complex software. As a financial planning assistant, you use computer programs to make calculations on which a planner bases his or her decisions. Most business programs require that students learn to use common financial software.

In many cases, professional certification, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification in the United States, is valuable for a person who would like to become a financial planning assistant. To earn this kind of certification, an individual normally must complete an undergraduate degree in accounting and work a minimum number of hours in the accounting profession. You should also plan on earning a satisfactory score on a proficiency exam. These exams tend to be quite difficult, and many accounting students find they have to take it more than once to qualify for certification.

If you are a business student, you should tell a faculty adviser that you would like to become a financial planning assistant. He or she might know of programs offered by your school that can place you in a good position. At the least, your adviser might write you a letter of recommendation.

Letters of recommendation are incredibly important for anyone who would like to become a financial planning assistant. You should also update your resume with each new relevant skill and experience you acquire. When you learn a new computer program, perform a new function in an internship, or are honored with an award, make note of it on your resume.

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