Explore a day in the life of both junior and senior financial analysts, learning what tasks they undertake, the hours they work, and the vital role they play in their organizations. Also, examine the different types of financial analyst careers and the importance of financial analyst training.

Key Insights

  • Financial Analysts study financial data and perform various research tasks to spot investment opportunities and analyze possible outcomes for business decisions. They play an integral role in supporting an organization’s budgeting initiatives and writing financial status reports and recommendations.
  • There are various Financial Analyst job titles, including Junior Financial Analyst, Entry-level Financial Analyst, Associate Financial Analyst, and Senior Financial Analyst. Their specific tasks and responsibilities vary according to their position and the organization they work for.
  • Other available roles for those trained in handling financial data include Equity Research Analysts, Financial Planning and Analysis Analysts, Treasury Analysts, Corporate Development Analysts, and Risk Analysts, each with a unique set of responsibilities and duties.
  • A typical workday for a Financial Analyst begins early in the morning and may extend beyond regular office hours, with tasks including checking news and market developments, attending meetings, reviewing financial models, collecting and organizing data, analyzing financial metrics and ratios, and preparing for the next day’s work.
  • Financial Analysts often work overtime due to the rigorous nature of their work and tight deadlines. Many financial professionals work between 50-80 hours a week to complete assigned work.
  • Training programs like the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program offered by Noble Desktop can provide the fundamental financial concepts and advanced Excel skills necessary to excel in a Financial Analyst role.

Before becoming a Financial Analyst, it’s important to know what a work day looks like for these professionals. Although your specific work schedule will depend on variables like your industry, employer, seniority within your organization, work environment, and the project(s) you’re currently involved with, most Financial Analysts who hold junior roles who work in the in-person environment hold similar hours and perform standard tasks throughout the day, as do those who hold more senior positions. This article will explore what a day in the life is like for both a Junior and a Senior Financial Analyst. 

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.

Financial Analyst Specializations

Many positions are currently available for qualified Financial Analysts. Those who recently earned a bachelor’s degree or are new to working with finance may pursue Junior Financial Analyst positions. In this role, they assist Senior Financial Analysts with tasks such as financial management or accounting. Depending on the organization, Junior Financial Analysts serve as part of the accounting or finance department. Another popular job title for new graduates is Entry-level Financial Analyst. These individuals work to transform income statement forecasts and budgets into reports. They analyze financial data to provide insights into how the company can better use its assets or reduce operating costs. Entry-level Financial Analysts present their findings to higher-up decision-makers.

Associate Financial Analysts work with a company’s financial data, analyzing vast amounts daily. This position is on a higher level than junior or entry-level finance work. Individuals interested in becoming Associate Financial Analysts need extensive financial training to pursue this position. For those who have worked their way up the professional ladder, a position like Senior Financial Analyst is an option. These professionals play an integral role in helping their organization make better financial decisions. This typically involves performing data analysis on the organization’s numbers so that they can make decisions pertaining to investment portfolios. In addition, Senior Financial Analysts oversee others within the finance department and create proposals for CFOs about how best to maintain budget targets.

In addition to different Financial Analyst job titles, many other jobs exist for those who have training working with financial data. Equity Research Analysts are involved in the securities industry. They perform tasks like tracking financial data, monitoring client investment portfolios, and deciding which securities to hold. Financial Planning and Analysis Analysts, also known as FP&A Analysts, work with quantitative and qualitative analysis to study their organization’s operations and ensure it’s progressing toward its financial goals. Their daily tasks involve managing financial affairs like capital expenditures, investments, and taxes, analyzing departmental cost efficiency, and consolidating various organizational budgets into a single budget.

Treasury Analysts are usually employed by government agencies or companies. Their job involves responsibilities like creating strategies for internal investment, corresponding with different finance departments and Investment Managers, and providing projections about anticipated expenses. Corporate Development Analysts work to improve business processes and increase their organization’s revenue. This involves evaluating operations, investigating sales leads, and devising strategies to improve the organization’s operations. Risk Analysts help their organizations explore new physical locations, markets, or investment opportunities. They perform risk analysis and research government libraries and records to locate pertinent information.

Read more about other job titles related to Financial Analyst.

A Day-in-the-Life of a Junior and a Senior Financial Analyst

Because Junior Financial Analysts and Senior Financial Analysts perform different daily tasks within an organization, their jobs may differ from one another in some key ways. The following sections will break down a typical workday for Analysts working in both junior and senior roles:

Starting Your Day

Early in the morning, before the workday starts, Senior Analysts will likely check the news and international trade and markets. This is an important part of a Senior Analyst’s day, as any significant developments or releases in the market could potentially create challenges or present unexpected variables. This may require performing data updates and reaching out to administrators to communicate the changes.

7-9 AM:

The start of a typical workday for a Financial Analyst will usually begin at or before nine a.m. The first tasks these professionals may set out to accomplish will depend on the industry and, therefore, will vary. Both Junior and Senior Financial Analysts may ease into the day by checking emails or reading slack messages. Some days may commence with contacting colleagues to set meeting times. Early-morning meetings may also already be on the schedule to meet with clients or potential clients or to present investment ideas to others within the organization. Because the market ebbs and flows throughout the year, Financial Analysts working in busy periods may start their day by planning projects, reviewing schedules, and revising calendars to adhere to market fluctuations.

In addition, internal team meetings are a regular part of a Financial Analyst’s workday. These usually occur close to the beginning of the day and provide a way for Junior and Senior Analysts to review key points from the previous day. This early time window in the day is also when teams are updated by traders or product specialists about any relevant market happenings. 

9-12 PM:

Financial Analysts at all levels are involved with one or more projects. These projects not only require regular work to stay on schedule but also meetings and schedule updates. From the mid-morning until the afternoon, Junior Analysts may attend meetings with Senior Analysts to review financial models and the data that was collected. Senior Analysts might have meetings with their supervisors as well to propose new business strategies and models. The mid-morning window may also be spent reaching out to investors or networking with contacts so the business can expand.

Morning hours not devoted to meetings may also be a time for Junior Analysts to collect and organize data for any long-term projects they’re involved with. Those who work on the sell side may perform due diligence tasks for a client interested in finance or a possible acquisition. This process often involves searching through accounting data, industry research, quantitative data, historical reports, or statistical information. Relevant data is then placed into a spreadsheet so it can be organized in an easy-to-understand way. Junior Analysts may also use templates to organize this information, such as an internal financial model. Technical work like this takes up a significant portion of a Junior Financial Analyst’s daily work.

12-2 PM:

Junior Analysts may choose to use this time to touch base with their mentor. This Senior Financial Analyst not only helps them learn the necessary skills, formulas, and tools to work in finance but also may also provide advice that can help them decide what the next move in their career path may be. Other Senior Analysts may use their lunch hour to meet industry contacts or investors at nearby restaurants. Networking plays an integral role in their job and is important for the organization to ensure that it continues to grow.

2-5 PM:

The afternoon hours are a busy time for most Junior and Senior Analysts. Many choose to use this window of time to study releases and reports. This is an effective way to prepare for the next day’s work. Those who work in more senior roles could study earning reports, whereas Junior Analysts may look at various financial models, as well as their research notes pertaining to earnings releases. Toward the end of the day, Junior and Senior Analysts may convene to review the day’s numbers, which will prepare them for the meetings the next morning. They also will make updates to to-do lists for the following day.

Additional technical work may also take place during this afternoon time slot. Junior Analysts may be tasked with analyzing additional data or comparing how competing companies are performing financially. Other tasks may involve updating financial metrics and ratios like price-earnings, fixed vs. variable costs, or return on equity. 

After Work

Because of the rigors involved with working in finance, workdays may extend beyond the nine-to-five window for these professionals. Some may stay at the office later to continue working with financial models, touching base with investors, or performing research. Others may decide to take some work home and complete it from their home office. If a long-term project is nearing an important deadline, both Junior and Senior Financial Analysts may need to devote additional time and effort to complete it on time. Financial analytics is considered a stressful field of employment due to deadlines. For this reason, working overtime is common in this profession. Many financial professionals work between 50-80 hours a week to complete assigned work.

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.