Teaser: Financial analysts play a crucial role in creating investment strategies for their organization or its clients. If you are considering a career in financial analytics, freelancing could offer a flexible and rewarding option, offering the autonomy to choose projects and work from home.

Key Insights

  • Freelance Financial Analysts have the flexibility and autonomy to choose the projects they work on, often from the comfort of their own home. They may work on a range of tasks from making investment recommendations to researching economic trends.
  • Financial analysts are highly valued by organizations and often find employment with large corporations, security firms, or government agencies. Their role involves a range of tasks including studying market trends, examining financial statements, and creating financial models.
  • Freelance financial analytics is a suitable career path for self-motivated individuals that excel at managing their own work schedule. They perform many of the same services as in-house Financial Analysts but also manage their own bookkeeping and seek out new projects.
  • Freelance Financial Analysts work across a range of industries and typically have the same educational qualifications as in-house Financial Analysts. They may need additional licenses if they work in the securities industry.
  • Freelance financial analytics can be a rewarding career, offering the ability to set your own schedule and negotiate pay rates. However, it also requires excellent communication and time-management skills, and the ability to network and seek out new projects.
  • There are several steps to becoming a Freelance Financial Analyst, including determining your path, learning about finance and financial analytics, building a professional portfolio, completing projects, making industry connections, and learning business skills.

If you’re interested in becoming a Financial Analyst, one career path you may consider is freelance work. In this flexible position, individuals typically work from home. The type of projects they take on depends on their current client’s needs. Some Freelance Financial Analysts make recommendations on individual investments or portfolios; others research economic and business trends, as well as current and historical financial data. Freelance work takes many forms in the finance industry. In all cases, Freelance Financial Analysts work as their own boss and decide which projects to take on.

What is a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts study financial data and perform various research tasks to spot investment opportunities and analyze possible outcomes for business decisions. These professionals play an integral role in helping to create more informed investment strategies for their organization or its clients. To do so, Financial Analysts routinely perform tasks for their employer like studying current events and developments in the market, examining financial statements, and creating financial models that can anticipate future performance. They also may study macroeconomic trends or hone in on particular industries or sectors. Financial Analysts rely on their background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics to perform these tasks.

Because of how valued they are by organizations, Financial Analysts often find employment with large corporations like insurance companies, security firms, investment banks, venture capital firms, or government agencies. They play an integral role in supporting an organization’s budgeting initiatives, as well as writing financial status reports and recommendations. Their process often involves steps such as collecting data, organizing information, performing data analysis on these numbers, providing projections or forecasts, offering recommendations, creating Excel models, presenting their findings to organizational stakeholders, and writing reports or dashboards to convey suggestions. Depending on their professional focus, Financial Analysts do extensive research on their organization’s buy-side and sell-side financial data. They often focus on either credit markets or equity markets.

Read more about what a Financial Analyst does.

What is Financial Analytics Freelancing Like?

Freelance financial analytics is a great career option for disciplined, self-motivated individuals who do well being in charge of their own work schedule. Freelance Financial Analysts perform many of the same services as in-house Financial Analysts. These professionals work with investments and portfolios, research market trends, and analyze an organization’s current and past data. Some Freelance Analysts evaluate a company’s value, review its financial statements, and write reports or service contracts. They work with individuals and organizations and provide advice on making better financial decisions. 

In addition to common financial tasks, Freelance Financial Analysts also are in charge of their own bookkeeping. They must keep a careful record of the hours they work, the projects they complete, and the money they earn. Some freelance financial professionals are employed to work regularly for an organization, whereas others complete one project and then move on to different tasks. For Freelance Financial Analysts who work on a project-by-project basis for clients, their job also entails regularly applying for new work. These individuals must be able to actively promote themselves, complete projects on schedule, and simultaneously seek new work. Often, Freelance Financial Analysts will need to negotiate contracts. This requires clear communication skills. Once they agree to a project, Freelancers then must manage their time effectively to complete it successfully and on time.

Freelance Financial Analysts are employed in a range of industries. Some work for finance companies, securities firms, banks, major corporations, or insurance companies. Others may be employed by a small business or nonprofit organization. They generally have the same educational qualifications as in-house Financial Analysts, such as a bachelor’s degree in finance, math, accounting, economics, or statistics. Some also hold an MBA or other advanced degrees. Those who work in the securities industry also may need to have a license.

Is Financial Analytics Freelancing Right for Me?

Freelance financial analytics can be a rewarding career path for those with the right training and temperament. While this profession is a great match for some individuals, it can be challenging to succeed as a Freelancer for others. The following paragraphs will explore the challenges, as well as the benefits, of working as a Freelance Financial Analyst.

One of the main benefits of working in a freelance capacity is that you are your own boss. You set your own schedule, decide which projects you wish to work on, and even negotiate your pay rate with each client. You can decide to work part-time or full-time or vary your schedule around other commitments. Freelance work can usually be completed remotely, meaning you can work from the comfort of your home, at a local coffee shop, or even while traveling. Some Freelance Financial Analysts choose to work on one project at a time; others are employed by multiple clients or organizations and balance work from each. If you’re the kind of person who thrives in an ever-changing, fast-paced work environment, Freelance Analyst positions may be a good option. It’s a profession in which you are paid for the work you complete as you complete it, and you won’t be required to do busy work or spend a specified number of hours in an office.

There are some challenges to freelancing to be aware of as well. Because Freelance Financial Analysts are their own bosses, their job extends beyond the normal requirements for finance positions. In addition to needing a wide range of technical and analytical skills, these individuals must also be business-savvy and excellent communicators. Since they will be communicating with clients remotely, clear writing for email exchanges and reporting and clear verbal skills are needed. Time-management skills are also essential for those working in a freelance capacity. Whereas in-person work usually includes a structure in which higher-ranking Analysts make sure projects are being completed on schedule, Freelance Financial Analysts must be able to complete projects on time without a boss checking in. 

In addition, freelance work entails regularly networking and reaching out to financial institutions for future employment. This is why Freelance Financial Analysts must have an up-to-date resume, LinkedIn profile, and professional portfolio available at all times. Although some Freelancers are contracted to work for months or years for an organization, others may only work on one small project for a client before moving on to other work. This can mean applying for jobs simultaneously while completing others. This profession also requires you to be a careful bookkeeper because you will have to keep track of your hours when reporting taxes each quarter or year.

Steps to Become a Freelance Financial Analyst

If you are interested in becoming a Financial Analyst, the good news is that there’s no one “correct” career path. Instead, there are skills you’ll need to acquire as you go (hard and soft skills) and certain training options you may consider to help you succeed in this field. While your path may change as you study finance and related fields, certain steps are common to most individuals who aspire to be Financial Analysts. The following paragraphs will further explore each step in the process of becoming a Financial Analyst:

Determine Your Path

Finance is a broad field, one that extends far beyond financial analytics. If you’re interested in pursuing this field as a possible career, you may want to decide on a path that will take you to your goal. Financial Analysts may decide to work for local or regional banks, real estate investment brokerages, insurance companies, or data-driven organizations. The options extend into all industries where decisions take place about how best to spend money. In addition, other career options in finance are also available and can make excellent careers. Perhaps you will want to explore options like becoming a Securities Trader, Financial Planner, Actuary, Portfolio Manager, or Quantitative Analyst. The more articulated the idea you have about which field of finance you wish to go into, the easier it will be to create a plan to help you reach your goals.

If you’re still testing the waters and unsure of which finance-related career path is right for you, Noble Desktop provides free articles and videos on finance that can help you learn more. For those who want to learn the basics of how to invest in the stock market, Noble’s Intro to Stock Market Investing provides an hour of video content on core investing topics like what stocks and bonds are, how they’re priced, the risk-reward principle, and capital gains tax, among others. In addition, Noble also has several short YouTube videos aimed at helping beginners learn financial modeling. Each video is just a few minutes long and provides insights into topics such as Interest Rates and the Fed, Foreign Exchange, and Understanding Terminal Value

Learn About Finance and Financial Analytics

Nearly all employers require aspiring Financial Analysts to have a bachelor’s degree in finance or a closely related skill. Some aspiring Financial Analysts elect to earn a bachelor of science in finance or accounting management. Others may opt to study economics, business management, statistics, or math. Regardless of your approach to education, it’s important for aspiring Financial Analysts to learn fundamental skills like investment portfolio management and the basic principles of finance. Several schools even offer undergraduate or graduate programs specifically in financial analysis. These programs provide real-world training like hands-on lab instruction, as well as internship opportunities in corporate finance, business statistics, risk management, and financial reporting. In addition to providing you with career-relevant training, those who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2020 made $19,000 more than those who had associate degrees and $27,000 more than individuals with a high school diploma or GED.

Following undergraduate study, some choose to enroll in MBA programs or complete master’s degrees in finance or related fields. Higher education not only provides additional training in data analytics, statistics, and forecasting, but it also is a great way to take the concepts you studied as an undergraduate further and master more advanced financial skills.

Some individuals elect to study financial analytics in other learning formats. In-person and live online bootcamps and certificates are available from many top educational providers like Noble Desktop, Coursera, and Udemy. In these classes, students receive expert instruction from those with real-world training in finance. Learning options like certificate programs also provide the added benefit of being much shorter in duration than traditional college study. Most span several weeks or months and teach relevant financial analytics skills and tools.

Over 100 free financial modeling tutorials are also available on Noble Desktop’s Training Resources & Articles page. Those who want to learn more about finance or financial modeling can explore topics like the stock exchange, stock movements, and a liquid market, among others. 

Build a Professional Portfolio

When applying for jobs as a Financial Analyst, a strong professional portfolio is an essential part of your job application materials. The materials you choose to include in a portfolio, as well as how they’re displayed and presented, tell the story of your academic and professional experience. The more effective the story you tell, the more likely you’ll be to impress an employer. While the kind of portfolio you create will depend on the specific type of job you’re applying for, most financial analytics portfolios include elements such as transcripts, a resume, proof of skills, letters of recommendation, certificates or licenses, and visual elements illustrating the training you’ve received, like overviews or reports from projects you’ve been involved with or managed. 

Professional portfolios are a great way to showcase examples of your best work and to do so in a way that communicates to employers that you can contribute to their organization. They provide a creative, engaging way to highlight your financial training, skills, and achievements, as well as your commitment to presenting them in a professional manner. Those with a solid financial analytics portfolio can stand apart from other applicants with similar credentials. A portfolio is an excellent way to demonstrate the impact of the work you’ve completed at prior companies, the lessons you’ve learned from your efforts, and any pertinent outcomes achieved as a result of your efforts.

Complete Projects

A crucial step in your journey to becoming a Financial Analyst, or progressing to a more senior Analyst position within your organization, is to complete projects. Working on a team with other financial professionals is a great way to demonstrate soft skills, such as collaboration, time management, clear communication, and prioritizing. Not only does project work help your organization achieve its financial and budgeting goals, but your contributions to projects can be included in your professional portfolio to illustrate the impact you’ve made at your current job.

Make Industry Connections

As you gain educational and industry experience in financial analytics, you will likely encounter many others on similar career paths. The more connections you’re able to make with those working in finance, the more likely it will be that you can hear about new job opportunities, find solutions to complex financial problems, and stay on top of real-time financial news. Networking can take many forms. Sometimes it involves connecting with other students in bootcamps or workshops. It may mean reaching out to former professors, coworkers, or team leaders. It also might involve attending events like cocktail receptions or other social gatherings where Financial Analysts are in attendance.

Networking doesn’t have to happen in person to be effective. Another way to make industry connections in finance is to explore blogs. Financial Analyst blogs like Financial Mentor and The Reformed Broker provide resources on finance and related topics like politics, economics, and market trends. They also provide a great way to connect with other financial professionals, learn about job opportunities, and stay current on industry trends and best practices. Financial Analyst Insider is another great resource for aspiring accounting and finance professionals. This site was created to help with career advancement and cost savings. Content is available on cryptocurrency, budgeting, investing, and loans, among others.

Begin Searching for Jobs

Once you’ve devoted the time and energy to learning about financial analytics, made industry connections, put together a professional portfolio, and decided which career path is most suited to your professional goals, it’s time to start the job search. 

Resources like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, Ziprecruiter, and Glassdoor.com have helped many people worldwide find competitive jobs in their respective fields. You may also want to explore sites likeGoogle Jobs, eFinancial Careers, Financial Jobs Web, Association for Financial Professionals, or CPA Career Center for more job opportunities specifically intended for those with a background in finance. Keep in mind that the job application process requires time and persistence. That’s why it’s important to be patient when applying for jobs.

Learn Business Skills

In addition to the skills needed to be a Financial Analyst, those interested in working in a freelance capacity in this field must also have business skills since they are essentially running their own business. This may mean being knowledgeable about contract law or finance. It also means that they will need to market their own business, such as through social media or by creating their own website. Some Freelancers may wish to work with Contract Consultants to help them run their small businesses. Doing so requires that Freelance Financial Analysts be able to articulate their professional needs and goals, as well as understand when they will need to outsource to others to support their freelance efforts.

Learn the Skills to Become a Financial Analyst at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in New York City, offers a range of classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis. Financial Modeling Bootcamp is a hands-on, 18-hour course that teaches students fundamental financial concepts, such as corporate valuation, accounting, and finance. Participants in this small class create their own discounted cash flow using Microsoft Excel. Over three days, expert instructors also help students develop a comprehensive financial model for an actual company. As a prerequisite to this bootcamp, students should have intermediate Excel proficiency.

Noble also has a Financial Analyst Training Program that provides expert instruction on timely corporate and financial concepts, such as making a full valuation model. Those enrolled in this intensive program receive instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as using shortcuts and PivotTables. Advanced Excel techniques are also covered in this 30-hour program, like Goal Seek and cash flow projection tools. All learners also receive instruction on creating a three-statement financial model for a public restaurant company.

In addition to the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, Noble Desktop also has in-person and live online financial modeling training courses. The

Excel Bootcamp offers 18 hours of instruction on core business Excel skills like working with VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and What-If Analysis for Goal Seek. FinTech courses are also available, like Algorithmic Trading with Python, Python for Data Science Bootcamp, and FinTech Bootcamp. This course provides students with hands-on training from expert instructors in FinTech skills like working with Python and SQL for data analysis, creating machine learning models, and working with different data types like integers, floats, and strings. All students have the option of a free course retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.