Financial Analyst: what they do, how to become one, and where to study
If you are interested in finance and love analyzing numbers, a career as a financial analyst might be a good fit for you. Financial analysts are professionals who help businesses and individuals make informed financial decisions by analyzing data and trends. They are in demand in many industries, including banking, investment management, and insurance. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.
- Tasks and responsibilities
- Pros and Cons
- Salary ranges
- Where do Financial Analysts work?
- Important qualities of a successful Financial Analyst
- Step-by-step career path
- How to become a Financial Analyst
- Where to become a Financial Analyst
- Can you enter the profession with a different degree?
There are different types of financial analysts, each specializing in a specific area of finance. For instance, investment analysts evaluate investment opportunities for businesses, while credit analysts assess the creditworthiness of individuals and companies. Other specializations include risk analysts, budget analysts, and financial planning analysts.
Tasks and responsibilities
As a financial analyst, you will be responsible for:
- Collecting and analyzing financial data and trends
- Creating financial models and forecasts
- Preparing reports on financial performance and risk
- Evaluating investment opportunities
- Making recommendations on financial decisions
- Presenting findings and recommendations to clients or senior management
Pros and Cons
- Good salary and benefits
- High demand for the profession
- Opportunities for growth and advancement
- The ability to work in different industries and sectors
- A chance to make a positive impact on businesses and individuals
- Long hours and demanding workloads
- High stress levels, especially during financial crises
- The need to keep up with industry changes and developments
- The pressure to produce accurate and timely reports
- The potential for conflicts of interest
In the United States, financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand for financial analysts is also strong in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
The median annual salary for financial analysts in the United States is $83,660, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Canada, the median salary is C$68,025, while in the United Kingdom, it is £40,000. In Australia, the median salary is AU$75,000.
Where do Financial Analysts work?
Financial analysts work in various industries, including:
- Investment banking
- Asset management
- Hedge funds
- Corporate finance
Financial analysts are needed because they help businesses and individuals make informed financial decisions. By analyzing data and trends, they provide valuable insights and recommendations that can help clients achieve their financial goals.
Important qualities of a successful Financial Analyst
To succeed as a financial analyst, you should have:
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Excellent communication and presentation skills
- Attention to detail and accuracy
- Knowledge of financial principles and regulations
- The ability to work well under pressure
Those who are not detail-oriented or do not enjoy working with numbers may not be suited for this profession.
Step-by-step career path
Here is a step-by-step career path to becoming a financial analyst:
- Obtain a Bachelor's degree in finance, economics, accounting, or a related field.
- Gain work experience in finance or a related field, such as an internship or entry-level position.
- Consider obtaining a Master's degree in finance or a related field to enhance your skills and qualifications.
- Obtain relevant certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.
- Build a network of professional contacts and attend industry events to stay informed about developments in the field.
- Continue to develop your skills and knowledge through ongoing training and education opportunities.
How to become a Financial Analyst
To become a financial analyst in the United States, a Bachelor's degree in finance, economics, accounting, or a related field is typically required. Some employers may prefer candidates with a Master's degree. Relevant certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, can also improve your job prospects.
Higher education is not strictly necessary to become a financial analyst, but it can increase your chances of getting hired and advance your career.
To become a financial analyst in the US, there is no residency or graduate program required. However, employers may prefer candidates with relevant work experience or internships.
Where to become a Financial Analyst
If you are interested in becoming a financial analyst, there are many universities and colleges that offer finance and business-related programs. Here are five examples of universities in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia that offer finance-related programs:
- Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
- NYU Stern School of Business
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Harvard Business School
- Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago
- Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto
- Ivey Business School at Western University
- Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia
- Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary
- John Molson School of Business at Concordia University
- London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
- Said Business School at the University of Oxford
- Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge
- Imperial College Business School
- Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick
- Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne
- AGSM at the University of New South Wales Business School
- Monash Business School at Monash University
- UQ Business School at the University of Queensland
- Macquarie Business School at Macquarie University
Can you enter the profession with a different degree?
While a degree in finance, economics, or accounting is preferred, it is possible to enter the financial analyst profession with a different degree. For example, a degree in mathematics or statistics can be valuable in this profession. However, you may need to supplement your education with additional coursework or certifications to demonstrate your financial expertise. Relevant work experience in a finance-related field can also be helpful in gaining entry into this profession.
Financial analysts play a crucial role in helping businesses and individuals make informed financial decisions. This profession offers a variety of specializations, tasks, and responsibilities. While it can be demanding and stressful at times, financial analysts are in high demand and can earn good salaries. A strong educational background, relevant certifications, and work experience can all increase your job prospects in this field.