Explore the diverse roles and responsibilities of a Financial Analyst, from studying financial data to supporting an organization's budgeting initiatives. Discover the vital skills you'll need in this field, including technical training, financial literacy, accounting knowledge, critical thinking, clear communication, and leadership, and learn about the variety of careers that require these skills.

Key Insights

  • A Financial Analyst performs various tasks such as researching investment opportunities, analyzing outcomes for business decisions, and creating financial models to predict future performance.
  • These professionals often find employment in large corporations, insurance companies, security firms, investment banks, venture capital firms, or government agencies and play a crucial role in supporting budgeting initiatives.
  • Technical training, financial literacy, accounting knowledge, and analytics training are among the hard skills required for Financial Analysts. They should also possess soft skills such as critical thinking, clear communication, problem-solving, and leadership.
  • Financial Analysts can specialize in fields like equity, investment banking, treasury, corporate development, or financial planning and analysis. They can also choose to work in various industries such as automotive, tech, or pharmacy.
  • Junior Financial Analysts, Senior Financial Analysts, Financial Managers, Corporate Spokespersons, Finance Instructors, Project Finance Analysts, Client Financial Analysts, Research Analysts, and Private Equity Associates are some of the roles available in finance that require skills similar to a Financial Analyst.
  • Noble Desktop offers classes and training programs focused on financial modeling and analysis, providing students with the necessary skills to become a Financial Analyst.

If you’re an aspiring Financial Analyst, you may wonder if it’s enough to have a bachelor’s degree or if you’ll need additional skills and qualifications to get a job. Even though there are no standard requirements to pursue a career as a Financial Analyst, most employers seek candidates who have an undergraduate degree in a field related to finance. In addition, real-world experience is another essential component of becoming a Financial Analyst. Internships and entry-level finance positions are great opportunities to acquire some of the core hard and soft skills you’ll need when working in financial analytics, such as accounting knowledge, financial literacy, and technical skills. In addition, soft skills like communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills can also be acquired through real-world experience. This is why many employers seek job applicants for financial analytics positions with a solid educational background and experience working in finance.

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 Skills Are Needed to Become a Financial Analyst?

Employers interested in hiring those to fill job openings in financial analytics typically search for candidates with an educational background in a field related to finance. They also look for applicants who can demonstrate the hard and soft skills needed to succeed as a Financial Analyst. The following are some of the core skills needed to pursue a career as a Financial Analyst:

Hard Skills

Most Financial Analysts rely on technical, financial, analytical, and mathematical training to help them successfully perform their job. The following are some hard skills most Financial Analysts have, as well as how they’re used:

Technical Training

Financial Analysts work with a range of software and tools to perform daily tasks. This means that it’s important to know bookkeeping and accounting software like Quickbooks, SAP, Hyperion, or FreshBooks. In addition, some Financial Analysts work with SQL to communicate with databases. Other technical skills like knowledge of topics like financial modeling, corporate valuation, and SEC findings are also important skills for Financial Analysts. 

Most Financial Analysts also work with Microsoft Excel to create financial models. If you want to learn more about Excel, Noble Desktop’s Blog & Learn Excel page has over 40 articles on pertinent Excel topics, such as working with macros and the Excel skills most widely used by Accountants.

Financial Literacy

Financial Analysts must know how to understand financial situations and the language used in them. Financial literacy plays a key role in facilitating this understanding. This may mean learning jargon and terminology like ROA, ROW, EPS, and YoY. It also may involve studying the current investment market, financial current events, interest rates for lenders, and historical reports. The more literate you are on the language used in finance, the easier it will be to communicate with stakeholders and coworkers.

Accounting Knowledge

General accounting skills are often used in financial analytics. This is why it’s important to have a working knowledge of standards and techniques, basic accounting principles, budgets, cost reduction and analysis, ledgers, bank statements, and cash flow. In addition, Financial Analysts also perform a range of calculations as part of their daily job. The more familiar you are with the mathematical formulas used to make these calculations, the easier it will be for you to complete daily work tasks in finance.

Analytics Training

A background in data analytics is another key skill set that can help you become a Financial Analyst. These professionals regularly work with data, which means a solid background in data analytics is essential to work in this field. These professionals must know how to plan, prioritize, rank, and forecast a range of financial problems. Not only that, but Financial Analysts then analyze financial markets, products, and resources for their organization so that they can propose fitting financial recommendations.

Soft Skills

In addition to technical knowledge and other hard skills Financial Analysts should have, the following soft skills play an integral role in their jobs:

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a sought-after skill across industries. In financial analytics, it plays an essential role. These professionals must be masters of critical thinking so they can help their organization find the best investments, as well as make important decisions like whether to purchase new financial software or sell assets. Critical thinking helps them thoroughly consider complex financial questions and propose viable solutions. A holistic understanding of the organization’s structure, financial history, monetary goals, and current practices is also essential for informed critical thinking.

Clear Communication

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is an asset to any situation or organization. In financial analytics, clear communication is a valuable tool that can influence interpersonal situations and lead to positive outcomes. Financial Analysts communicate in a variety of manners, both written and oral. Clear communication may entail creating succinct, direct emails. It may pertain to leaving comprehensive phone messages. It could also mean speaking with investors to convey crucial financial information. Nonverbal communication skills also play a role in financial analytics. When attending meetings or making presentations, Financial Analysts may also use body language or other physical cues to express themselves. Regardless of the manner of communication, those with the ability to clearly convey ideas can navigate a range of professional relationships.


In addition to critical thinking and clear communication, another soft skill you’ll need as a Financial Analyst is problem-solving. Problem-solving takes many forms in this profession. It may entail finding solutions to financial equations or proposing ways to manage the organization’s debt. Additionally, problem-solving skills have applications for finding investors. Proposing creative solutions to problems, as well as anticipating challenges that may take place in the future, are just two ways Financial Analysts use problem-solving skills.


Senior Financial Analysts are sometimes asked to manage finance teams or entire departments. To successfully do so, they must have strong leadership skills. Effective leaders communicate clearly with coworkers. They also facilitate communication within their team or department. This may involve providing professional mentoring and directing collaboration efforts. Leadership skills ensure that projects are completed on time, budgets are adhered to, and financial goals are met that benefit the entire organization.

What Other Jobs Require These Skills?

Financial Analysts play an integral role in both small and large organizations. Some choose to specialize in fields like equity, investment banking, treasury, corporate development, or financial planning and analysis. Others may pursue a career in the automotive industry, tech, or pharmacy.

The following are some of the most common professions currently available in finance, as well as a brief job description of each:

Read more about the other career paths related to Financial Analyst careers.

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.

Key Takeaways