So you're considering a career in finance. You have a passion for numbers and you want to manage significant sums of money. But beyond the excitement and challenge of doing so, you want to make a difference in people's lives.
A finance job in the multifamily industry just might be a perfect fit for you.
When you work in an apartment company's finance department, you're part of a team that is at the very nerve center of the organization. The finance department manages a company's money and is responsible for planning, organizing and accounting for its finances. It doesn't get any more important than that.
And in all likelihood, you'll be dealing with some serious cash flows. Many apartment companies own and manage portfolios worth billions of dollars.
But more important than all of that: you're doing much more than making sure the dollars and cents add up. You're part of a team that's providing quality homes to a diverse range of residents. These are the places where residents will raise their families, meet lifelong friends and forge memories they will carry with them the rest of their lives.
This is more than a job – it's an immensely rewarding career.
Click on the links below to learn about the specializations within multifamily finance and the kinds of jobs available within those specializations:
Finance is about the high-level management of an apartment company's assets and liabilities and the planning of its financial growth. Professionals in this specialization help set a company's financial strategy and look to the future to plan the growth of assets and revenues as well as the mitigation of losses.
Stated simply, a treasurer is in charge of helping a multifamily company grow revenue and manage cash. Treasurers are strategic advisors who advise leadership on the ways to navigate economic conditions and changes. They obtain loans and other sources of credit from outside sources, build and maintain relationships with banks, raise equity funding and communicate with shareholders.
A strong attention to detail, excellent communication skills and a love of organizing are all required to shine in this critical role.
- Corporate Controller
While treasurers have a largely external facing role, controllers oversee the internal financial workings of a multifamily organization. They manage the budgeting process and supervise accounting and auditing work. Controllers also produce financial reports for management and make sure the tax returns and financial statements required by regulators are prepared and submitted.
Not surprisingly, controllers need an exacting eye, a passion for detail and first-class organizational skills.
- Financial Analyst
Financial analysts play a key role in helping a multifamily organization achieve optimal financial performance.
They plow through financial data and reports to measure their company's performance against budgets, key internal benchmarks and competitors. They also evaluate industry trends, forecasts and economic conditions to make recommendations for optimal financial practices.
Accounting is focused on the precise, accurate recording and reporting of an apartment company's financial transactions. It ensures compliance with all relevant financial laws and standards. Whereas finance is more about the future and projections, accounting concerns the thorough documentation of what has already taken place.
- CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
In the multifamily industry, CPAs can play a whole range of vital roles in the functioning of an organization. They prepare and maintain a wide variety of financial statements and records, including balance sheets, cash flow statements and statements of changes in equity. They prepare tax returns and can oversee a company's payroll function to ensure employees are paid on time. They may also undertake internal audits to make sure all relevant laws and regulations are followed.
A company's leadership routinely relies on the advice and perspective of accountants when making important business decisions.
- Internal Auditor
Talk about getting a chance to make a real difference – that's especially true in the case of internal auditors. Although they are employees of the company, internal auditors are charged with conducting tough-minded, independent and regular evaluations of a company's financial practices, operations and regulatory compliance.
Often reporting directly to a committee of a company's Board of Directors, an internal auditing team plays a major role in the ongoing improvement and innovation of an apartment company.
Maintaining and updating financial records is at the heart of a bookkeeper's job. Depending on the size of the apartment company he or she works for, a bookkeeper may be responsible for processing the financial paperwork and records of one or several apartment communities.
Bookkeepers have to be extremely detailed oriented, efficient and on top of a community's debits and credits, its accounts payable and accounts receivable procedures, and its payroll. Depending on the size of a community's onsite staff, a bookkeeper may also be needed to help with other aspects of the day-to-day operations of a property.
- Accounts Payable
Accounts payable clerks are responsible for paying an apartment community's bills on time and ensuring that the community is being billed the right amount. They process invoices and obtain approval to pay expenses when necessary.
Very little is more important to a company than paying its employees on time every time. The primary responsibility of payroll clerks is to ensure that employees are paid, and to make sure that the right amount of payroll taxes are paid to local, state and federal governments.
By ensuring these processes go smoothly, payroll clerks play a significant role in employee satisfaction, as paycheck-related errors can be a huge source of worker frustration.
Like the saying goes, there are two certainties in life – death and taxes. And every company needs someone to help them with their taxes. Paying taxes is a fundamental part of a multifamily company's financial operations. Professionals in the tax specialization ensure that all of the necessary tax forms, filings and payments are sent on time to local, state and federal governments. Crucially, they will also strategize about ways to reduce tax burdens in order to maximize net operating income.
- Tax Specialist/Analyst
Tax specialists/analysts are both doers and thinkers. On the one hand, they are responsible for filling out an apartment company's necessary tax forms and making sure that a company is in compliance with all relevant tax laws and regulations.
On a higher level, though, they are relied upon to advise a company's leadership team on the best ways to limit tax liability, an especially valuable role in light of the relative complexity of the federal tax system.