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Financial Analysts examine data to identify opportunities and evaluate outcomes for business or investment opportunities. They communicate with CEOs, CFOs, and other executives or the board of directors at their place of employment. A Financial Analyst will likely specialize after their first year of work or even while they are still in school. This specialization will determine the data they work with, their team, and their working environment.
Most Financial Analysts work for a corporation, a firm, or the government. They can find jobs in venture capital, public banks, investment banks, and private equity firms. Financial Analysts make important decisions like which securities should be syndicated and offered to the public. They’ll also work to attract new corporate clients, purchase investments, and recommend which investments their clients should buy.
Financial Analysts gather data, organize information, compare historical results, create reports that forecast or project future outcomes, make recommendations, generate Excel models, create and present slide decks, and put together reports. They’ll also spend time in team meetings and create budget models.
Financial analysts might specialize in investment banking, equity, treasury, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), or corporate development. This specialization will determine the types of data and predictions they’ll work with as well as the environment they’ll work in. While most Financial Analysts work in an office setting, some work remotely from home.
A Financial Analyst must have a complete understanding of industry jargon from YoY and ROE, to ROA and EPS. Financial Literacy is key in this position. They’ll use databases, statistics, historical reports to make regression analyses, reports, and presentations. This means proficiency in Hyperion, SAP, SQL, and Quickbooks is usually required by employers. Most companies use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software like Netsuite, SAP, or Sage and a Financial Analyst must become proficient in at least one of these systems.
Financial Analysts will be communicating with c-level leadership often which will require some soft skills. This includes strong communication, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, financial literacy, and the ability to take direction. The Financial Analyst will likely be conducting presentations in front of a full table of executives, public speaking skills will likely be required whether they’re explicitly included in a job description or not.
Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft that runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It is used for calculation, graphing, data visualization, and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro programming.
Financial modeling is the use of a tool built into Excel to forecast the future financial performance of a business. These predictions are based on the historical performance of a company, and inferences of the future.
Finance involves the management, study, and creation of money and investments. Finance dictates how a company, individual, or governing power acquires necessary capital. Finance typical uses tools like Quickbooks, Oracle, and Excel.
Accounting involves processing, measuring, and communicating financial information about businesses. Accounting often uses software like QuickBooks, Excel, and other office communication tools.
Investing is allocating money with the expectation of a future benefit. Benefits accrued through investment are called returns.
FinTech stands for Financial Technology. FinTech is the technology or computer programs that are used to support, improve, enable, and automate banking and financial services.
A Financial Analyst in the United States makes, on average, $71,284 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Financial Analysts vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Financial Analyst salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
A bachelor’s degree is almost always required for Financial Analysts. Popular degrees for this field include accounting, finance, statistics, economics, and business administration. More advanced or senior-level positions might require a master’s degree or higher-level certification. Certifications are not required to land an entry-level Financial Analyst position.
There are multiple different certifications for Financial professionals which are awarded by the Financial Management Association and at least one is usually desired for senior-level positions. The Chartered Financial Analyst is the most commonly earned certification for Financial Analysts. This certification requires three exams with 300 hours of study recommended for each exam.
Financial Analysts might specialize in investment banking, equity, treasury, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), or corporate development. These specializations will determine whether they’re looking for a position at a firm, corporation, or within the government.
Financial Analysts can find jobs on these sites:
Most Financial Analysts at top companies landed their job during a recruitment cycle. The recruitment cycle in the financial industry is extremely important and competitive. Well-established firms use head-hunters to find the best candidates for the positions and landing a job as an Analyst outside of the recruitment process is extremely difficult unless they plan to work at a firm outside of the major US financial hot spots.
The most important thing for a Financial Analyst is building their professional network. Finding a job often comes down to who you know. Finding a mentor in the industry can be a game-changer for any new Financial Analyst, so it helps to make long term connections while networking and interning. Utilize LinkedIn to make remote connections, set up informational interviews, and ask anyone you know with connections to the industry for an appointment.
If you’re still in college take advantage of your professors and university career center. You’ll likely find help getting internships, informational interviews, or at least some feedback on your resume or side projects.
Use your knowledge of financial jargon and concepts to start and maintain a finance blog. This gives you the opportunity to freely communicate your ideas and thought processes while also showing potential employers your knowledge. Plus, practicing your written communication and industry skills regularly also looks exceptionally good to employers. If you’re feeling great about a certain blog post, consider trying to get it published on a larger blog or Medium publication for more visibility.
Financial Analysts and hopeful Financial Analysts should always stay up-to-date on current financial news. They should also brush up on the industry lingo. There are many industry-known abbreviations and knowing them will certainly go a long way in an interview and during networking conversations.
You can also practice your knowledge by using a trading simulator. Write blog posts about your trades! To get ahead on studying for certifications that you’ll need later and to show future employers that you’re serious about this career, you can enroll in online Financial Analyst courses to better learn software, procedures, and prepare for certifications.
Financial analysts might specialize in investment banking, equity, treasury, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), or corporate development. Financial Analysts will also find opportunities for specialization within industries like pharmacy, tech, or automotive. If you’ve recently graduated or are new to the industry, look for junior or entry-level positions.
Financial Analysts can look for these positions:
Financial Analyst roles are usually considered entry- or mid-level roles. They can look forward to a promotion to Senior Analyst about two years into their job or move into management positions, depending on their firm. Financial Analysts might also find career satisfaction by pivoting into a title like Investment Analyst, Investment Banker, or Business Analyst. These titles use many of the same skills and tools that Financial Analysts do but are more specialized within a specific area of Finance. Business Analyst positions will take some of the financial decisions out of the equation and focus more on operations and management.
Investment analysts are experts in analyzing financial and investment information and using it to make recommendations. Buy-side investment analysts help mutual fund managers target investment opportunities, and sell-side analysts work with investment banks. Using their deep expertise in stock, bonds, commodities, and currencies, these financial professionals continuously analyze trends to forecast performance. Experienced analysts can become certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).Learn about becoming a Investment Analyst
Investment bankers are financial advisors for corporations. These professionals help clients with mergers and acquisitions and advise on investments in capital markets. Companies looking to make capital investments or to expand operations may turn to an investment banker to help locate and acquire capital. Investment bankers have nearly limitless earning potential, as they are compensated for the value they provide.Learn about becoming a Investment Banker
Business analysts use business, technology, and project management skills to analyze business problems and propose data-driven solutions. Grounded in technical expertise, business analysts perform risk analyses, manage project plans, and translate technical information such as diagrams and blueprints. Experienced business analysts can become business or project managers, which puts their professional expertise to work with the management of project deliverables and other people. Business analysts can put their skills to work across a variety of industries, companies, and job functions.Learn about becoming a Business Analyst
A Research Analyst researches, analyzes, and interprets data on markets, operations, finance, economics, and customers in their industry. They can find work in nearly any industry but are found at the highest concentration in the financial services sector.Learn about becoming a Research Analyst
Private Equity Associates are responsible for leading deal processes from beginning to end. They work with private equity firms to analyze and monitor data, look for potential investment opportunities for their firm, and raise capital from outside investors.Learn about becoming a Private Equity Associate