TL;DR: Don't over emphasize work experience, It doesn't "speak for itself" in academia like it does in business. Think instead of using it as examples of how you will make a good PhD student
This is a very interesting question because the answer depends pretty heavily on the field you area looking at, the university you are applying to, and the program that is looking at your application. I and a current Computer Science PhD student, and my path here involved a Masters Degree, then working in my field for 3 years, and applying to PhD programs twice, the first time after 2 years of work ( failing to get accepted anywhere) and the second time after 3 years of work. After I didn't get in, I reached out to one of the professors (at MIT) that I had shown interest in working under in my application. He read my resume and said, "Well theres the problem right there: you haven't done research in 3 years!" I worked at an R&D company all those years, and was surprised that what I thought would be an advantage was actually a disadvantage. The next year, the only time I mentioned my work (which was still pretty often, after all it was most of what I had done since I finished my Masters) was to exemplify how it made me a good researcher...and the rest, as they say, is history.
Really what it comes down to is, just like in business, how are you going to present yourself? You can highlight your business or not, but from my experience detailed above, it seemed to matter much more how you use your work history as an example, and less how much. The people reading our application are likely contextualizing it with their own experience as a person who once-upon-a-time was trying to get into a PhD program and is now a researcher, and the successful cases from their past students. They are going to look at your application and think, "Does this seem like a person who could really contribute to this field?" For me, when I focused on work experience as a part of what made me an applicant, set apart from other applicants coming straight out of school, it actually hurt me in the top schools. This is because all of the people reading my application were researchers and they wanted to cultivate more researcher from their students. As such, my emphasis on work experience hurt me. The following year, when I emphasized what research I had done at my job, as opposed to the general experience I gained at it, I got in to a bunch of top schools.
From what I understand, PhDs in Econ and Finance have very different goals internally (e.g. People who do a PhD in Econ want to do research on markets, trends, and math, and influencing policy vs. People who do a PhD in Finance want to work in finance, maybe do research in Finance, and get job in Finance). Knowing this, what the goals of your PhD are, and the goals of the application readers will help a lot in deciding what is the best way to use your work experience in your application.
Last piece of advice: don't be afraid to reach out. The worst you'll get is a silence or a "I don't talk to prospective students;" no one will hold it against you. You think that some school or someone's research is interesting? If you can get them on the phone or email they will tell you exactly what they expect of their incoming applicants. Was the best decision I made in this long journey of mine...