Financial analysts gather data, crunch numbers, and analyze all kinds of financial information to advise clients to make the ideal investment decisions. As clients can range from companies, securities firms, banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, and pension funds to brokerage firms, financial analysts assess their fundamentals to offer solid market-based recommendations.
The financial services industry is highly competitive. To enter the financial analyst field, you must be prepared to work hard and stand out from the crowd.
To prepare for a career in financial analysis is to get a degree in economics or finance from a respected university. Alternatively, you could complete an internship or work placement at a financial institution to gain experience in the industry. Whichever route you choose, remember that hard work and dedication are crucial to success in the financial services industry. Read ahead to understand in detail.
Career paths as a Financial Analyst
There are many types of financial analysts, each with a unique focus.
- Budget analysts prepare budget reports, help identify a company’s operational costs, and guide where departments should allocate money. Analysts must give attention to detail and have excellent math skills to create an accurate budget report.
- Rating analysts recommend companies on their capacity to repay debts.
- Credit analysts study credit records to identify risks that could lead to trouble when extending credit.
- Investment analysts are like investment counselors who evaluate investment data to advise clients on the best investments.
- Fund managers handle the day-to-day operations of hedge funds or mutual funds.
- Risk analysts identify potential risks and losses and then take steps to minimize them.
- Other career tracks in this field include tax analyst, security analyst, treasury analyst, and personal financial advisor.
How can you become a Financial Analyst?
A financial analyst typically needs a related bachelor’s degree to work in the field. Many employers prefer candidates who have a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) qualification. However, these certifications are not always necessary to become a financial analyst.
A skilled financial analyst can think critically and have excellent mathematical and analytical skills. They must also be proficient with computers and necessary data analysis software, including but not restricted to MS Excel, to interpret financial data, create portfolios, monitor trends, and create forecasts.
To start a career as a financial analyst ideally, you can:
- Enroll for a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, business administration, or a related field. It is the best way to prepare for a career in finance. This degree usually takes three years of full-time study to complete.
- While studying, seek an internship to gain experience applying your skills under the guidance of skilled financial analysts.
- Getting a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) qualification may help if you want to make yourself more employable.
- Alternatively, a postgraduate degree in something like an MBA could give you similar benefits in your career.
A recent college graduate who wants to become a financial analyst will probably start in a junior post, working with and learning from a more experienced senior analyst. A graduate with a master’s degree can begin work as a senior financial analyst or rise to the position very quickly. A few years after the job, many junior financial analysts decide to go back to school to get advanced degrees.
Many financial analysts seek professional accreditations later in their careers, although it is not typically required at the start of their work experience. Firms that sell financial products must comply with specific regulations to protect their consumers from deceitful or unfair practices.
Under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ‘s administration, all entities must register with necessary regulations compulsorily. They specify that FINRA must license financial analysts, so employers widely prefer FINRA-licensed financial analysts.
Other skills needed for a Financial Analyst
Being a financial analyst requires unique skill sets that few people have. You need sector-specific skills, undoubtedly. However, some other skills are not as commonly considered. Financial analysts need to be able to wear many hats – they have to be part data scientist, part-investigator, part-manager, and part-customer service representative.
Good communication skills are essential at every point. As a financial analyst, you will likely present your results to the management team and board of directors. You might also have to meet with clients or media members based on project requirements.
Solving problems is a vital trait of any good financial analyst. After all, once you know what the numbers mean, it’s your job to develop a solution to help your company make profits.
Having strong interpersonal skills is essential for financial analysts. They need to be able to interact with other employees who have the data they need to complete accurate financial analyses.
Analytical skills are a must for financial analysts. They need to be able to examine data, calculate it, and understand what it all means.
Financial statement explanation
Businesses want employees who can understand and explain financial statements in simple terms. The ability to put together, decode, and describe these reports is a beneficial skill.
In the business world, financial analysts play a critical role in any firm’s business. They consider their client’s financial history, vision, and the company’s direction. They examine their client’s income, expenditure, risk tolerance, and investments. A career as a financial analyst is a lucrative option. To get more insights and the latest updates, download our app today!