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How to Become a Financial Analyst

Do you have a talent for numbers, accounting, and especially finance? A career as a Financial Analyst might be perfect for you.

Financial Analysts play a crucial role in analyzing financial options and opportunities for their companies and help make important decisions on what to invest in and in which ways.

Aside from a strong understanding of financial concepts, Financial Analysts need to keep an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of their employer’s financial situation. They need to have strong communication skills to create and present reports and recommendations on market trends, investments, and economic decisions the company should make, including the benefits and risks involved.

Financial Analysts must be adept at working with larger teams to accomplish these goals.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for a financial analyst! This position has the responsibility of overseeing the company’s accounting and financial status. This would include giving quarterly and annual reports on assets, debt, liabilities, net income, interest, and things of the sort. Aside from providing these reports, it is on the shoulders of the analyst to provide investment opportunities to the company, whether it be stocks, cryptocurrencies, lending, or other business ventures. You must consistently be collecting and analyzing data, which in turn allows you to propose advice to your higher-ups. Although sometimes unpredictable, the financial analyst must also generate forecasts for the future. You must have confidence in your analysis skills to show forecasts to senior management. Because of this, mathematical skills are a must, as well as problem-solving skills. To properly represent this data, the ability to create graphs, charts, and models will help you thrive. To lawfully succeed in finance, one must have a hefty amount of knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding the space. Although this is the primary reason for one, companies may also hire analysts to find the most viable product, marketing strategy, etc. If this sounds like you, please consider applying to this position!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Inform investment decisions by analyzing financial information to forecast business, industry, or economic conditions
  • Prepare plans of action for investment, using financial analyses
  • Evaluate and compare the relative quality of various securities in a given industry
  • Interpret data on price, yield, stability, future investment-risk trends, economic influences, and other factors affecting investment programs
  • Present oral or written reports on general economic trends, individual corporations, and entire industries
  • Monitor fundamental economic, industrial, and corporate developments by analyzing information from financial publications and services, investment banking firms, government agencies, trade publications, company sources, or personal interviews 

Education and experience

he position requires a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related field (MBA preferred). A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification is recommended.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Several years of experience in finance or accounting
  • Demonstrated ability to assess credit risks accurately
  • Ability to work with large groups or teams to implement changes resulting from financial analysis
  • Multi-site experience preferred

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in finance
  • 1-2 years of finance experience
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to present information in a clear manner

Typical work environment

Financial analysts will primarily work in office spaces, usually provided by the company. Although most work full-time, there is a noticeable amount that works more than 40 hours a week. If you are looking for work needing high intellectual levels, more stress, and possibly more hours, this may be the job for you. It requires you to have the ability to complete tasks without supervision or a coworker’s support. Presenting is also a needed skill for this job, as you will always be proposing ideas, budgets, and investments to those that manage the company.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a Financial Analyst can be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary.

Available certifications

Being a financial analyst is not a position that requires a certificate, as experience and proven results are some of the chiefly recognized factors in this field. Certifications like the following, however, can be useful:

  • CFP. The Certified-Financial-Planner is a formal recognition of one’s skills for the financial analyst position. It is given to those that are willing to put in the extra effort in their career and prove that they can maintain and uphold their skills.
  • CFS. This certificate specifically targets mastering your skills with buying, holding, and selling funds for clients or companies. This includes ETFs, Mutual Funds, REITs, and close-ended funds. 
  • CGFM. Certified Government Financial Manager is a certification specifically designed if you wish to work for governmental finance. This includes government environment, accounting, reporting, budgeting, and financial management.

Career path

The career path for a Financial Analyst starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or a related field, with an MBA preferred. The next step is to be recognized as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), by passing the Uniform CPA Exam set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). There are also more specialized training and designation programs to consider, often depending upon the specific type of financial analysis one wants to pursue.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 27-3042

2020 Employment492,100
Projected Employment in 2030523,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 6% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift31,300 increase

Financial Analysts typically earn above-average salaries, depending upon experience and proven successes.