What is a Financial Analyst?
A financial analyst is a highly skilled professional who uses their expertise to analyze business and market data. They then make investment recommendations to help companies, banks and other organizations succeed.
The job requires strong quantitative skills, expert problem-solving abilities, and above-average communication skills. A bachelor’s degree in a math or finance-related major, along with industry certifications such as a CFA charter, are typically sought after qualifications for this career.
Financial analysts provide companies and teams with guidance on how to make the most of their finances. They analyze financial data and recommend investments based on market trends, economic conditions and internal information.
These professionals work in a wide range of industries, including investment banking and financial services. While most people associate their jobs with securities, they also advise businesses on other types of investments, such as real estate or marketing dollars.
A day in the life of a financial analyst involves research and analysis, connecting with management teams and company officials, writing reports and presentations and generating data-driven insights that help leadership make decisions.
They create and analyze financial models, which use expense and earning data to forecast future performance. They then present these models to clients to ensure that they can understand the information and make informed financial decisions.
Education and training requirements
There are many paths to become a financial analyst, but most require at least a bachelor’s degree. The CFA Institute recommends a major related to finance, accounting, economics or statistics.
In order to work as a financial analyst, you must have strong analytical and interpersonal skills. This job requires frequent interaction with senior management, project team leaders and other financial professionals.
To succeed as a financial analyst, you need to stay abreast of industry news and current events. This can be accomplished by reading articles in newspapers and attending trade conferences.
Additionally, you should be familiar with technology used in the financial industry. Programs like Tableau can be helpful in creating charts and graphs that communicate information to project stakeholders.
Getting an internship is another way to gain experience. It can help you build a resume and prepare for interviews with companies that hire junior financial analysts. It also gives you the chance to build relationships with other employees and ask for advice.
Financial analysts study data to help businesses make investment decisions and communicate with executives about their findings. They gather information from a variety of sources, including historical financial reports, accounting data, stock price information, industry research, and statistics.
Most analysts specialize in a particular financial product, geographic region or industry. Specialists analyze business trends, competition, and products as well as keep up with new policies and regulations, and economic factors that affect investments.
The work environment for a financial analyst is often fast-paced, but it is rewarding and highly-paid. This career requires strong attention to detail, analytical skills and mathematical knowledge.
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for this job, but employers also look for candidates with experience and a master’s degree. Students interested in this field may want to consider earning a master’s in business administration (MBA) with a focus on finance.
Financial analysts help companies optimize their investment strategies to maximize profitability. Their duties include analyzing market data and business information, creating financial models and making recommendations.
They also help companies make investments, such as buying or selling stocks and bonds. The salary of a financial analyst depends on their position and company size.
A senior financial analyst, for example, would take a more active role in building financial models, forecasting trends and making recommendations for business leaders. They may also lead a team of financial analysts and manage workflows to ensure reports and recommendations are ready when needed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,590 in May 2019. While this number applies to all financial analysts, it could be higher for those with more experience.