Can I File a Legal Malpractice Lawsuit Against My Bankruptcy Attorney?

Bankruptcy is a very serious, and complicated, legal matter that affects the person filing the bankruptcy for years to come. If an individual retained the services of a bankruptcy attorney and believes that the attorney did not perform his job according to the standards required by the legal profession, then the client may have the basis for a legal malpractice lawsuit against the attorney.

What Is Legal Malpractice?

  • Legal malpractice is a negligent tort claim. Torts is the area of the law that deals with injuries — physical, financial or emotional — to a plaintiff, or victim. All negligent tort claims are based on four basic elements — duty of care, breach of the duty of care, causation and damages. In a legal malpractice case, the plaintiff must show that the attorney breached her duty of care to the plaintiff. In an underlying bankruptcy case, the plaintiff will need to establish the standard of care required and then prove that the attorney breached that standard, or duty, of care.


  • The plaintiff in a legal malpractice case must show that the damages she suffered are actually a direct result of something the attorney did, or failed to do, while representing her. In a bankruptcy case, for example, let’s say the plaintiff was required to relinquish her home to the court to pay her debts. If she would have lost her home regardless of anything the attorney did, then a minor mistake made by the attorney will not qualify as malpractice. On the other hand, if an attorney failed to claim an exemption on behalf of the plaintiff that would have allowed her to retain her home, then that might be considered causation for the purpose of a legal malpractice lawsuit.


  • “Damages” is the legal term used to refer to monetary injuries sustained by the plaintiff. In a legal malpractice action against a bankruptcy attorney, the plaintiff will need to prove that he suffered an actual financial loss as a result of the attorney’s negligence, or malpractice. Simply showing negligence without any real financial loss will not work.


  • In order to initiate a legal malpractice lawsuit against a bankruptcy attorney, a plaintiff should first be aware of the statute of limitations in the jurisdiction where the alleged malpractice occurred. Statutes of limitation will vary by state but may be as short as one year from the date of occurrence. A potential plaintiff who believes she has a viable malpractice claim should consult an attorney as soon as possible. A legal malpractice lawsuit is filed in the same manner as other civil lawsuit by filing a complaint against the attorney. If the plaintiff wins, he will be awarded a monetary judgment against the attorney.

Do You Pay a Retainer Fee Up Front With a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Paying a retainer fee upfront for a bankruptcy lawyer is standard practice. Generally, lawyers will not begin any work for the client or consider themselves the client’s legal representative without receiving some form of payment. Bankruptcy lawyers are particularly careful about the payment fee structure because their fees must be disclosed to the court. The upfront fee payment varies depending on the lawyer and the amount of work required to successfully handle the case

Carefully review the bankruptcy lawyer's retainer agreement before paying retainer fees.


  • Set up initial consultations with different bankruptcy lawyers. Many bankruptcy lawyers provide free initial consultations with potential clients. Find out if there is any paperwork that should be brought to the meeting or any forms you need to fill out beforehand. The more information the attorney has regarding your financial situation, the easier it will be for him to provide an estimate of the legal fees he will charge.

Retainer Fees

  • Ask the lawyer to explain the difference between the retainer fee and total amount of attorney fees for the case. Discuss the amount of the retainer fee, the type of work the attorney will start to perform once he receives the fee, and acceptable methods of payment. Some attorneys may require a small retainer fee upfront to start fielding calls from creditors and start collecting documents needed for the bankruptcy case. Attorneys may not begin working on the case until they receive a substantial portion of the total fee. Find out the attorney’s refund policy before giving him any money. It is advisable to know how much money you will get back if you decide not to file for bankruptcy or if you decide to change attorneys.

Payment Plan

  • Bankruptcy lawyers know that many people interested in bankruptcy do not have enough money immediately available to pay for legal services. Talk about the possibility of setting up a payment plan to cover the retainer fees and any additional fees associated with the case. Provide full disclosure to the attorney regarding any pending lawsuits, wage garnishments or foreclosure proceedings that may occur. Those facts could affect how soon payment must be received to file the case and start bankruptcy proceedings.

Retainer Agreement

  • Carefully review the retainer agreement after choosing a particular lawyer. The retainer agreement should provide a breakdown of each fee amount, what it covers and the legal services the lawyer will provide during the case. Make sure the payment terms included in the retainer agreement directly reflect the arrangements discussed with the lawyer. Maintaining clear communication with the lawyer will help prevent any future misunderstandings.

How to Change Attorneys in Bankruptcy

Deciding to change attorneys in the middle of a bankruptcy is a serious decision. You should try to address and resolve your concerns with your current attorney before you start looking for a new one.However, if your current attorney doesn’t return phone calls or respond to emails, if she makes important decisions regarding the case without consulting you, if she loses documents previously submitted or doesn’t meet court deadlines, you may have no other choice but to find a replacement.


  1. Interview attorneys to find the right replacement. Set up appointments where you explain your current situation and the problems you have with your current attorney. Respond to the questions the attorney asks regarding the status of your bankruptcy case. The new attorney will want to get as much information as possible to ascertain if he can provide you with the help you need. Choose a bankruptcy attorney who is patient and willing to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
  2. Discuss the attorney’s fees for taking on your case. Find out how soon the new attorney can begin working on the case, and work out payment arrangements. You want to ensure the new attorney will have the time and resources to properly handle your case at its current stage within the bankruptcy process. Sign the retainer agreement, which should state exactly how much the attorney will charge and include an explanation of the legal services the attorney will provide.
  3. Inform the old bankruptcy attorney in writing via email and a mailed letter that you will no longer need his services. Let him know that you have retained new counsel to handle your bankruptcy case. Request that the attorney forward all of the paperwork you provided to him and any documents he received from creditors, the trustee or bankruptcy court to either you or your new attorney. Provide the mailing address where the paperwork should be sent. You can speak with the old attorney about your decision to terminate the attorney-client relationship, but you should also notify him of your decision in writing.
  4. Contact the newly hired attorney and inform him that the old attorney has received written notification of the termination. The new attorney can draft a motion to substitute attorney or draft a stipulation to substitute attorney. The old attorney also has the option of filing a motion to withdraw as legal counsel with the bankruptcy court. The requirements for the information and signatures that need to be included in a motion to substitute attorney or a motion to withdraw may vary for each district. Speak with your new attorney to find out which documents need to be submitted to the court, and which documents you need to sign to notify the bankruptcy court of the attorney change.
  5. Check with the new attorney about if or when the bankruptcy court will approve the attorney change. If the bankruptcy court approves the substitution, the court docket will be updated with the name and contact information of the new attorney. Any documents or notices from the bankruptcy court, bankruptcy trustee and creditors will be forwarded to your new attorney from that point on.

How to Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy is a huge step and it’s probably going to have some effect on your life for years to come. It’s definitely not the kind of legal proceeding you might try to handle on your own. But if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, you probably don’t have a lot of cash on hand to waste on the wrong lawyer. This makes finding the right one critical

An attorney and two prospective clients.

He Specializes in Bankruptcy

  • There’s an old saying that you wouldn’t hire a dentist to remove a brain tumor, and the same idea applies to different areas of the law. Some lawyers dabble in all sorts of cases, but true expertise usually requires specializing in a certain area. An attorney who works mainly — or only — in bankruptcy law will be familiar with your state’s laws; more importantly, he’ll have a track record with your area’s bankruptcy trustees. He’ll know their quirks and how they’re likely to react in certain situations, and this can be invaluable. An attorney who handles mostly Chapter 7 bankruptcies might not be the best choice if you want to file a far more complicated Chapter 13. Likewise, it makes no sense to pay a Chapter 13 lawyer — who will usually charge more — to handle a simple Chapter 7 proceeding.
    • As your bankruptcy case progresses, you’re going to have a lot of questions. Some attorneys are more available to their clients than others. It’s normal that you’ll probably spend a lot of time with your lawyer’s paralegal, but sometimes you’ll really need to speak with the attorney himself. When you call his office the first time, ask to speak with him so he can answer a question or two. You probably won’t be put through to him because if he’s as good as you need him to be, he’s most likely in court or with another client. The key is whether he calls you back, and, if so, how long it takes him to do so. The norm he exhibits with a potential new client speaks volumes about how accessible he’ll be after you’ve paid him and your case is underway.

    You’re Comfortable with Him

    • Filing for bankruptcy involves disclosing intimate, personal details of your life and finances. On top of that, you may be scared and stressed. If you’re the type who needs a lot of hand-holding, retaining a bankruptcy lawyer who is gruff and all business probably won’t suit your needs. Even if he’s the perfect choice in all other areas, your selection might turn an already difficult situation into an ordeal.

    Cheapest Isn’t Always Best

    • Because you’re already low on funds, the cost of hiring an attorney is of paramount importance. Here’s the good news — the bankruptcy laws in most states cap the amount a lawyer can charge you for bankruptcy proceedings. Be wary of super low fees — this might indicate that the lawyer has so little experience, he doesn’t realize he’s entitled to more. He may be desperate for a client — any client, in any area of the law. By the same token, if your bankruptcy is very simple and you have few assets to protect, you should expect a lawyer to charge you less than he would for a more complicated case. Bankruptcy attorneys usually charge a flat fee, but if a creditor objects to some aspect of your case and you end up in court, you’ll probably have to pay more for this service. It doesn’t happen in most run-of-the-mill bankruptcy proceedings, so it can’t be anticipated when the lawyer first quotes you a fee.

What Is the Job of a Currency Analyst?

A currency analyst performs basically the same jobs as a financial analyst. However, these individuals specialize in making predictions about the value of foreign currencies compared to the U.S. dollar

Currency analysts must work with many foreign currencies.


  • To be a competitive candidate for a currency analyst position, you must first possess a bachelor’s degree. Typically this degree should be in international markets, finance, statistics, business, accounting, economics or another relevant field. Other recommended areas of study include risk management, options pricing and bond valuation.


  • Currency analysts must be able to think analytically. Additionally, they must have thorough computer and problem-solving skills. These professionals need to be able to work well alone but also need to have strong communication skills and be confident making presentations to large groups. They must pay strong attention to detail, be interested in foreign economies and be research-driven.


  • Currency analysts often work with other financial officers to predict the prosperity of foreign markets and the value of foreign currencies compared to the dollar. This can help determine risk management for a company, potential investments or merely aid them in making business decisions that involve overseas production. Based on their research, currency analysts will typically make presentations about their findings and then make suggestions for action. Often they help lead these initiatives if the company or client takes their suggested plan of action.

Work Environment

  • Most currency analysts work in comfortable office settings. Typically they have access to information services and high-tech computer systems. At times they are required to travel to financial meetings to speak or simply attend. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, people holding this position often work long weeks of 50 to 60 hours.


  • According to, the average currency analyst brings in between $44,120 and $63,100 per year. This equates to an hourly income that ranges between $12.21 and $36.32 per hour. As with all salary information, however, these figures can vary based on geographic location, employer and years of experience.



Finance Job Interview Questions & Answers

Careers in finance span a large number of positions, in commercial banking, financial planning, private equity and more. As you prepare for your job interviews, practice possible questions and answers to help you compose yourself. You'll formulate the best answers before your finance job interview so you can get the career you want.

Finance careers work with money and mathematics to help corporations, small businesses and individuals.


  • “Tell me about yourself.” This is often one of the first questions a hiring manager will ask during an interview. Although it may seem personal, a potential employer doesn't want to hear your life story. Instead, tell him about yourself as it relates to a career in finance. Briefly list your college education and the positions you've held recently.


  • “How has your education prepared you for this career?” Employers want to know that you are proficient in the various math principles involved in financial careers. List the classes that you took that can help you with the job position. Spend time discussing the subjects that you excelled in over all others. If you had a 4.0 grade point average in advanced accounting, mention this to the hiring manager.


  • “Why have you chosen a career in finance?” Avoid answering this question with a personal anecdote. Show your enthusiasm for the career with your answer. Even if you got into finance because your parents made you, it's best to leave this out. Example: “My love for numbers and organization led me to an education in investment banking. I've wanted this as my career ever since.”

Positive Attributes

  • “What are your strengths?” Limit your answer to one or two examples for this classic interview question. Explain your strengths in finance, such as attention to detail or multitasking. Tell a brief story of how you used it in previous finance positions. Don't list more than two strengths as this may be perceived as over-confidence by the hiring manager.

Negative Attributes

  • “What are your weaknesses?” Never say that you have no weaknesses in answer to this question. Instead, tell the hiring manager of one weakness. Pick a weakness that could be acceptable to a potential employer. Also list how you're working to improve that weakness. Example: “I sometimes find it hard to concentrate toward the end of a long day working on client financial accounts. I've since started going for a five-minute walk outside during my lunchtime and that helps to keep me focused.”


  • “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” Although you may want to retire or work for a different company in 10 years, leave this out of your answer. You should also avoid saying that you want the interviewer's career. Instead, mention how you still want a career in finance. Example: “I'd like to hold a high position in corporate finance in 10 years, using my skills with math and corporate accounts.”



How to File Bankruptcy for Low Income Individuals

According to the website, 936,795 Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2014. This represents a 12.5 percent drop from 2013, but many are still seeking relief from crushing loads of debt. Bankruptcy filings are particularly problematic for low-income individuals, as they have far fewer resources to pay, but there are ways to lower the cost.

Hiring a Lawyer

The first decision in a low-income bankruptcy is whether or not to use a lawyer. Depending on where you live, a non-profit legal aid association may be able to help. Special circumstances, such as being a veteran or dealing with a disability, may lessen the income requirements or make you more likely to qualify for assistance. Some lawyers also perform a certain amount of casework pro-bono. Your state bar association may have information on both of these programs. Some lawyers will allow you to complete some filing paperwork on your own, saving you money.


  • Do not charge the lawyer’s fee on a credit card. Credit card companies review charges in the time before bankruptcy carefully, and any charges in that time period may be excluded from the bankruptcy –and perhaps the entire balance on that card along with it.

Filing Fees

Bankruptcy requires a $300 fee just for filing the paperwork. However, you can ask the court for a waiver of that filing fee. To qualify for that waiver, you must have income of less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, and be unable to pay the fee in installments. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a family’s income must be less than $36,375 per year to qualify for the fee waiver. Even then, approval of the waiver is up to the judge.


  • Even if you do not qualify for a fee waiver, you can ask to pay the fee in installments. This can make a bankruptcy filing more affordable.

Chapter 7 or 13

Many people with low incomes qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, because they cannot make installment payments that Chapter 13 requires. Because of this, low-income filers usually do not have to deal with the increased costs of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, if you do file for a Chapter 13, you’ll pay monthly debt payments to the trustee to send to your creditors. The trustee keeps a percentage of these payments as a fee for handling the bankruptcy.

Pro Se Filing

A pro se filing means that you file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. You may choose to do this if your case is very simple. A paralegal may be able help you complete the forms and do the calculations needed for the filing for much less than a lawyer would charge.


  • Be careful when completing bankruptcy forms yourself. The complicated calculations make mistakes common, and with an error, you could have your bankruptcy dismissed.

How to Discharge Attorney Fees in a Bankruptcy

As you prepare to file for bankruptcy you may wonder if you can include attorney fees in your case. If you owe attorney fees for services not associated with the particular bankruptcy case you intend to pursue, these charges appropriately can be included as a debt to be discharged through bankruptcy. An attorney to whom you owe money is treated as any other general creditor during the course of your bankruptcy case


  1. Prepare a petition for bankruptcy. If you are proceeding without legal representation, obtain a bankruptcy petition form from the clerk of the bankruptcy court. Alternatively, you should be able to download the petition form (and related documents) from the bankruptcy court’s website.
  2. Fill out the matrix or index of creditors form. The matrix of creditors is a directory of all of the people or businesses you owe money. Include the attorney (or attorneys) that have open accounts for fees you did not pay. In addition to the name and address of the attorney, include the fee balance as well as any file, case or account number.
  3. File the petition, matrix of creditors and related documents with the clerk of the bankruptcy court. Shortly after filing your petition, the clerk will send to your creditors (including the lawyer or lawyers you owe fees) what is known as a proof of claim form. If the attorney wants to attempt to recover fees owed through your bankruptcy case, she submits the proof of claim form to the bankruptcy court.
  4. Attend the creditor’s meeting scheduled for your case. The creditor’s meeting is held before the bankruptcy trustee. At this session, the bankruptcy trustee questions you about your assets, debts and income. Creditors have the right to appear at the hearing to question you as well. Creditors are also able to lodge an initial objection to the bankruptcy itself if they have some facts to support that you are not entitled to bankruptcy relief. As a practical matter, creditors do not often appear at these proceedings.
  5. Develop a payment plan in conjunction with the bankruptcy trustee if you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Pursuant to a Chapter 13 plan, an attorney will receive a payment of at least some of the fees due and owing over the course of the lifetime of the payment plan (which normally is two to five years). A final discharge occurs at the conclusion of the payment plan.
  6. Appear in court for a Chapter 7 discharge hearing. The discharge hearing occurs approximately 120 to 180 days after the initial filing of the bankruptcy petition. Through a Chapter 7 case, you pay none of the fees previously due to the attorney who filed a claim. The discharge order permanently relieves you of this financial obligation.

What Salary Does a Bankruptcy Lawyer Earn?

The career outlook for attorneys specializing in bankruptcy appears promising, particularly given the economic troubles encountered by so many in recent years. Bankruptcy lawyers provide protection from potential ruin for individuals and businesses in financial distress, and their services continue to be of great value to many as the nation slowly emerges from the economic struggles that began around 2007.

Bankruptcy lawyers speaking to each other in library

Location and Experience

  • The national median salary for bankruptcy lawyers in 2014 was $110,000, according to That figure is prone to fluctuation, of course, depending on the attorney’s experience and practice location. For instance, the average salary for a bankruptcy attorney in New York City is $129,000, while in Butte, Montana, that figure comes in at $88,000. Career prospects appear strong for lawyers practicing bankruptcy don’t appear likely to diminish anytime soon.

Job Outlook

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that opportunities for lawyers in general were expected to increase 10 percent from 2008 through 2018.

What Can You Do With an MBA in Finance?

A master’s of business administration in finance provides a rigorous academic approach to business and finance disciplines. A finance degree can lead you to finance-oriented employment in investment banking or corporate finance. However, MBA programs typically have a broader focus with an emphasis on management and leadership potential. Additionally, MBA programs commonly include team-building coursework and real world project analysis. According to the book “Finding Your Way with an MBA: Insights From Those Landing Their Ideal Jobs,” typically MBA graduates enjoy higher compensation than graduates with college-level business degrees.

What is an MBA Degree?

  • The MBA in finance is a postgraduate degree in business studies with an emphasis in finance. Students wanting to earn an MBA study the theory and practical application of business and management principles. Coursework specifically covers the basic principles of managing a business and developing organizational leadership and business strategies.

Why Get an MBA Degree?

  • Increasing your career opportunities and salary potential are two primary reasons to consider getting an MBA in finance. Many companies require an MBA degree for executive and senior management positions. According to the book “Finding Your Way with an MBA: Insights From Those Landing Their Ideal Job,” more than 100,000 Americans graduate each year with an MBA degree, making the MBA the single most popular master’s degree program. Many employers recognize that an MBA degree in finance indicates a job applicant has a solid understanding of business practices and management techniques.


  • An MBA in finance teaches you skills you can apply to numerous fields. Besides coursework in finance, MBA finance programs require you to take courses in marketing, operations management, money management, human resources, business strategy, business leadership and business ethics. MBA programs with an emphasis in finance also require additional advanced coursework in financial planning, economics and accounting. An MBA in finance affords you the opportunity to choose from a number of careers upon graduation, and virtually work in any field or industry. MBA finance graduates enter many industries, including health care, government, engineering, music and retail.

MBA Degree in Finance

  • An MBA with a specialization in finance gives you many professional options, especially within the financial field. This degree will benefit individuals seeking employment in corporate finance, commercial banking, financial planning, investment banking and other business sectors. Specific job titles commonly held by graduates of MBA finance programs include financial officer, credit manager, finance manager, management consultant or senior financial analyst.


The Salary of a Corporate Finance Lawyer

At some time during its business operations, every company is going to need a lawyer. Many companies, realizing this, keep lawyers on staff to verify that the business’ practices are legal. These corporate finance lawyers keep a close watch on a company’s transactions, contracts and other agreements to ensure that they stick to the law.

Corporate finance lawyers can make good money helping companies stick to the law.

Corporate Lawyer Identification
A corporate finance lawyer handles the legal aspects of a company’s transactions and contracts. It is the duty of a corporate finance lawyer to ensure that none of a company’s transactions conflict with laws on the local, state or federal level. To do this, a corporate finance lawyer must be expert in a variety of laws, including tax laws, contract laws and the laws governing intellectual property rights.

Corporate Lawyer Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers across all disciplines receive an average salary of $110,590 each year as of 2008. Lawyers who specialize in corporate law, including the management of companies and enterprises, earn considerably more. Corporate lawyers earn an average of $145,770 a year. For recent graduates entering the field, the average salary is $68,500 for all law disciplines. For the same graduates entering the corporate law profession, the average salary is $69,100.

Top Paying States
A lawyer’s salary can vary significantly from the mean depending on where he or she practices. The top five highest paying states (or areas) for lawyers, according to the BLS, are Washington, D.C., California, Delaware, New York and Connecticut. On average, D.C. lawyers are paid $162,830 annually and California lawyers are paid $155,740 annually. Delaware, New York and Connecticut lawyers are paid on average $151,750, $150,510 and $138,420, respectively.

Other Considerations
While the demand for lawyers and the growth of the profession are good, the nature of the work is changing somewhat. With a glut of law school graduates, many newly-minted lawyers are finding themselves early on working temporarily as attorneys on a need-based basis. This can affect salary in the short term. Specializing in corporate finance law may see a lawyer pull down better salaries, but that only applies to full-time work.



Financial Executive Job Description

A financial executive is a member of a corporation’s top leadership team who typically reports to the chief financial officer (CFO) or the chief executive officer (CEO). She coordinates all finance-related activities in a company, and she ensures that corporate financial statements are accurate, complete and prepared in accordance with accounting principles.
A chief financial officer ensures that corporate financial statements are accurate.


  • A finance chief is in charge of all accounting and financial reporting duties within a firm. He supervises staff and ensures that the organization’s financial statements adhere to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidelines, industry practices and top management’s directives. A financial executive also oversees tax reporting activities, and she ensures that employees abide by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements when calculating corporate fiscal liabilities (debt).

Education and Training

  • A finance chief typically holds an advanced degree, such as a master’s or doctorate, in accounting, finance, auditing or taxation. A liberal arts major or a finance executive with a bachelor’s degree is not uncommon in the field, but employers generally require that job seekers have significant business acumen and practical experience (more than 10 years). A financial executive who has prior public accounting experience usually has a certified public accountant (CPA) or certified internal auditor (CIA) license.


  • A financial executive’s total compensation depends on his seniority, length of service, academic credentials and professional certifications. Other factors, such as shareholders’ or corporate directors’ decisions, also may affect his pay. A finance chief’s remuneration includes wages as well as stock and cash bonuses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2008, finance chief executives earned a median annual wage of $158,560, excluding cash and stock bonuses, with some top executives of large companies earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million annually.

Career Development

  • Career growth opportunities for financial executives generally depend on the firm’s performance, economic trends and shareholders’ actions. A chief of finance also may be promoted if a company engages in a corporate reorganization initiative such as a merger or an acquisition. A competent and skilled finance chief typically moves to a senior role within five to 10 years. He may become senior finance president, chief financial officer, chief accounting officer or corporate president.

Working Conditions

  • A financial executive does not have a typical 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. work shift. Business conditions may require her to work long hours. She may be at the office early in the morning, late at night or on weekends. Occasionally, she may travel to meet with domestic or international clients. The end of the quarter is the busiest time period for a finance chief because she must coordinate regulatory filings with the SEC and IRS.


What Is Job Description of the Corporate Controller?

Corporate controllers (sometimes referred to as “chief financial officers” or CFOs) are top executives responsible for the financial activities of the organizations in which they work. Controllers establish financial policies, track income and expenses, oversee budgets, and make recommendations regarding investment decisions. The job market for controllers is competitive. Industry experience is a must.

What Is Job Description of the Corporate Controller?


  • Most controllers have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in business administration, finance, or accounting. In addition, controllers often earn professional certifications, including Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Earning these certifications improves an individual’s chance of becoming a controller.

Areas of Responsibility

  • Controllers manage investments, oversee cash management activities, deal with mergers and acquisitions, and supervise financial reporting. They often manage several employees or entire accounting departments. Controllers report directly to the president or board of directors of their organizations.


  • Controllers, like other top corporate executives, are highly paid. Median annual salaries of corporate executives, including controllers, were $158,560 in 2008. Controller salaries vary widely, however. Top executives in large companies can earn more than $1 million annually, depending on their level of responsibility and industry. In addition to salaries, compensation for controllers often includes stock options and performance bonuses.


  • Controllers must be comfortable with technology. They use calculators and computers with specialized financial software programs to compile reports. They use spreadsheets to analyze data and frequently file reports via electronic submission.

Areas of Interest

  • Controllers must like working with numbers. They need to be knowledgeable about economic and accounting principles and financial markets. They should also have an interest in general business administration, including strategic planning, human resources, and corporate governance.


Corporate Finance Analyst Job Description

A corporate finance analyst, or associate, uses business acumen and investment knowledge to review a firm's financial statements and recommend investment strategies to senior leadership. A corporate finance associate also reviews a company's liquidity (cash) levels and aids a company in selling shares of bonds and equity on securities exchanges.
A corporate finance analyst helps a firm make investment decisions.


  • A corporate financial analyst evaluates a firm's operating data, compares current versus historical information and provides investment selection strategies to senior management. He also may detect liquidity trends by appraising a company's “working capital” ratio. This ratio measures a corporation's short-term cash availability and equals current assets minus current liabilities. A corporate finance associate also partners with investment bankers to help a firm raise cash on securities exchanges.

Education and Training

  • Jobs in the corporate finance field typically require a business or finance background and a bachelor's degree at a minimum. A corporate finance analyst who has supervisory responsibilities or works for a large, multinational company may hold a master's of business administration (MBA) in finance or investment analysis. A corporate finance professional with prior public accounting experience may have a certified public accountant (CPA) license.


  • A corporate finance analyst who holds an advanced degree, such as a master's or doctorate, in economics or investment analysis earns more than a colleague with a bachelor's degree. The company's size, industry and location also affect compensation levels. A corporate finance analyst's pay package may include wages as well as cash or stock bonuses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that median annual wages for corporate financial analysts were $73,150 in 2008, excluding cash and stock bonuses, with the lowest 10 percent of the occupation earning less than $43,440 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $141,070. The same research shows that median annual wages for corporate financial managers were $99,330 in 2008, excluding cash and stock bonuses, with the middle 50 percent of the profession earning from $72,030 to $135,070.

Career Development

  • A corporate finance associate's chances of promotion depend on staffing needs and economic trends. However, she can improve her career growth opportunities by seeking a master's degree in investment analysis or a chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification. A corporate finance analyst who performs adequately may be promoted to a senior role, such as corporate finance manager, senior investment strategist or financial accounting supervisor, after three to five years.

Working Conditions

  • A corporate finance analyst works a standard 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. shift. If business conditions require a longer presence at the office, he may work late nights or early mornings. He also may telecommute and perform his tasks remotely from home on weekends. A senior corporate finance analyst travels periodically to meet domestic or international clients.


Corporate Banker Job Description

The control and ownership of incorporated companies is distributed to many joint owners called shareholders. While this structure allows certain advantages, it also introduces much complexity. Specialized bankers deal with the complicated and unique needs of corporate finance. Also called “investment bankers,” corporate bankers also perform tasks similar to personal bankers.

Corporate bankers, or investment bankers, attend to the special needs of corporations.

Saving and Lending

  • Like individuals, corporations use credit and money. Companies need to keep cash on hand to meet immediate needs like payroll; thus, they maintain accounts that function much like any other savings or checking account, though on a much larger scale than most individuals. For some projects, loans are needed and the government recognizes corporations as “legal persons,” able to obtain credit. Corporate bankers operate much like personal bankers or loan officers in these capacities.


  • Because corporations often hold large amounts of money, for which they have no immediate need, they often seek to put this money to work for them and yield more interest. To this end, investment bankers advise or act as brokers for various financial instruments. The bankers may recommend stocks, bonds, futures or many other investment vehicles. It depends upon such factors as the return the corporation desires, when it will need the money back and the degree of risk it is willing to accept.

Stocks and Bonds

  • One of the most advantageous aspects of the corporate structure is the ability to raise funds by issuing bonds (debt instruments) and common stock (equity instruments). Conceptually, these activities are simple. The company sells bonds to investors, then issues a regular payment to the bondholders until the bond matures. Upon maturity, the original sale price of the bond is refunded to the bondholder. Stock is sold to the public, which gives buyers partial company ownership and control. Each share of stock entitles the holder to an equal share of company profits and one vote to be used in each issue the board of directors puts up for a vote. While these may not seem terribly complicated, the laws and regulations surrounding the issue and trading of securities requires extensive specialized knowledge.


  • Investment banks vary in size; thus, there is some variation in the education standards of applicants. The largest and most prestigious institutions may demand an MBA from an elite university; the financial sector employs workers with terminal degrees in their disciplines, paying a premium for their credentials and experience. However, smaller establishments, or the more junior positions within the larger ones, may only require a bachelor’s degree. Finance and economics are the most desirable majors.

Conditions and Salary

  • Bankers almost invariably work indoors, in comfortable conditions. Most time is spent either on the telephone; in meetings; or on a computer, doing research or analysis. The more prestigious and well-paid positions have comparably less mundane activities. An investment banker’s salary is ill-spent on filing or making coffee, when support staff can do these tasks for a fraction of the cost to the firm. Despite the physical ease and status of the position, the banker does have the challenges of long, irregular hours and considerable stress. Pay is generally commensurate with the size of the company and the affluence of its clients.