Financial analysts examine data related to products, industries or government entities and use that information to make sound predictions about the future of those entities and the potential for success in business decisions. With the right degree and proper planning, a financial analyst can find tremendous success over time, both in career progression and salary.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
A good financial analyst could work her way to senior finance analyst, finance manager, department director and even CFO.
How to Become a Financial Analyst
To become a financial analyst, you will need to earn a degree in a related field. Financial analyst degrees range from business to accounting, finance and economics. Mathematics or statistics degrees can also prepare you for a role as a financial analyst.
During your course of study, you will need to obtain or hone strong analytical skills, as well as math, computer and communication abilities. Also, you may wish to become licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or get certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Financial analyst requirements vary by company and by state, but a solid educational base is essential, as is compliance with any applicable regulatory measures. Higher-level positions may prefer or require that you have a Master of Business Administration degree.
Are Financial Analysts in Demand?
Every company and government in existence relies on the careful financial forecasts of analysts to make important business decisions. As a result, these jobs are in high demand across industries. Available jobs in the industry are expected to grow by 12 percent through the year 2022, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This is faster than the average growth rate for other jobs.
How Much Money Does a Senior Financial Analyst Make?
A senior financial analyst can be expected to earn $80,000 annually, while a corporate analyst who is just starting out might earn $50,000. If you plan to enter management in the field later in your career, you could anticipate earning $100,000. Departmental directors in the financial analysis industry earn on average $127,000. A financial analyst career path can lead to exciting opportunities and high salaries – all the way up to the company's Chief Financial Officer.
What Skills Should a Financial Analyst Possess?
Financial analysts rely heavily on certain computer programs, including Hyperion. Familiarity with it is essential to success in the field. Also, competency with financial software, including Microsoft Excel and enterprise resource planning systems, is critical. As technologies evolve over time, what is needed to successfully earn financial analyst promotions will change, as well.
Financial Analyst Requirements
A good financial analyst should be meticulous, patient and have great attention to detail. In addition, they must possess excellent data analytics skills and be able to observe big-picture patterns. The ability to work independently and without supervision is a critical aspect of working as an analyst since you will be spending a significant amount of time poring over detailed financial statements. Self-starters and detail-oriented individuals can be very successful as financial analysts.
- CFA Institute: Chartered Financial Analyst
- "Career Management"; Jeffrey H. Greenhaus, Gerard A. Callanan, Veronica M. Godshalk; 2009: Page 187
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011"; Page 105
- Institute for Career Research: "Career As a Financial Analyst"; 2008
- "Encyclopedia of Job-Winning Resumes"; Myra Fournier, Jeffrey Spin; 2006: Page 287
- "Great Jobs for Math Majors"; Stephen E. Lambert, Ruth J. DeCotis; 2006: Page 149
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