The differences between the finance function in Internet companies and companies in traditional industries

Tracy Luo April 21, 2016 2 mins read

Internet companies have recently been in full swing, with miscellaneous “Internet+” companies emerging one after another as the Chinese government provides more and more support for this kind of enterprise. Many finance candidates from traditional industries would, with an open mind, consider joining internet companies as part of the finance team.

What are the differences between the financial work in internet companies and the companies engaged in traditional industries?

1. Workload

In general, internet companies emphasize efficiency and change, and have a relatively open culture, so they have relatively flexible working times. In reality, not all companies follow the working tempo of “working 9pm to 6pm”, and overtime still exists in two circumstances. One is that manual input is required sometimes because the finance staff framework and finance system in some companies are not as sound as those in traditional industries. The other situation is that a company might be in the phase of Pre-IPO or needs to submit regular financial reports to its investors.

2. Remuneration

The remuneration type of internet companies greatly differs from that of traditional industries. Basic salary occupies the largest part in the the salary composition of traditional industries. In the case of internet companies, financial departments often spur employees’ motivation for work through year-end bonus that accounts for a very large percentage or incentive mechanism that offers equity. As the result, year-end bonus covers 6 months or even 12 months, and the cases of converting equity into cash are common to companies after they go public. This phenomenon has even occurred to BAT, Google and Uber, and is particular typical to Chinese internet startups. However, it is another thing to select a reliable internet company to work for.  

3. Working content

The origin of the finance work in most internet companies is the same as that of companies in other industries, which generally involves third-party payment, revenue recognition, fixed assets, assets and liabilities and the concept “flow” which is unique to current internet companies. Hence, candidates need to handle and analyze financial issues in such special business mode and through new thinking. This has also raised more and stricter requirements on candidates. As a matter of fact, such working content is more suitable for finance candidates with a strong capability of innovation, adaptability and potential.

It is recommended that you should understand more of your own background and requirements before choosing your career, especially when taking up a job in a new industry, so as to get a perfect match.  

Tracy Luo's picture
Associate Director | Finance & Strategy Recruitment


MNC Company
Business Controller
Senior FP&A Manager