How to become a financial analyst

If you are looking to embark on a career that makes the most of your financial skills, and to embark on a course in the world of business investing, then working as a financial analyst may be for you.

Thinking about wanting to break into the field is all well and good, but what is the role of a financial analyst in a company? How does one become a financial analyst and what type of degree do you need to be successful in the industry?

What is a financial analyst?

Financial analysts work to determine the viability of buying and selling and help guide the investment decisions of their clients or managers. They use their knowledge of a business and the financial state of the market to recommend potential growth avenues, performance improvements, and possible pitfalls to avoid when making an acquisition or sale.

The role of a financial analyst is essential to the success of an investment firm.

Regardless of the size and direction of the company you choose to work for, you will find yourself delving deep into critical business issues as a financial analyst. You can address shareholder interests, stock viability and availability, growth expectations, fluctuating market values, industry competition, areas of opportunity, and various other influencing issues. the direction an investor can take. In addition, these issues will likely change over time, be added or eliminated as the business, customer base and market evolve.

What does a financial analyst do?

A financial analyst is responsible for providing business leaders with the information they need to make strategic decisions. Your research and analytical skills will be used often and extensively, such as you will dig into financial data, business trends, weigh company values, and provide reports to enable your managers to make their decisions, according to the role distribution of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, you may be called upon to meet with both your own management team and those of the companies you are called upon to assess. Interpersonal and communication skills will be important for success in this career path.

Finance is a part of all businesses, and most large companies have financial analysts on staff. Financial analysts can also find employment opportunities wherever investments are managed – in banks, securities firms and insurance companies, BLS notes. However, you don’t have to link to a particular company. You can find work in commercial media and research houses that provide independent data.

As you progress through your career, you may specialize more in your chosen area of ​​financial analysis. According to the BLS, some of these options including becoming a portfolio manager who takes responsibility for the management of a firm’s or client’s investment portfolio, a fund manager who deals specifically with hedge funds or mutual funds, a rating analyst who focuses on the assessment of an entity’s ability to repay its debt, or an analyst risk that determines the risk inherent in an investment, guiding the decision to pursue it or not.

Whichever route you choose to take, financial analysts play an important role in the business world. The BLS reported a median average salary of $ 85,660 per year in 2018 and jobs are expected to increase at a rate of 6% (compared to the national average) until 2028.

How to become a financial analyst

Kristin Regis and the text Kristin Regis.As a financial analyst you will need some significant skills to implement, but having a good head at calculating numbers or even personal investment success will not be enough. Potential employers will want to see the credentials, which means the place to start is education.

Data collected by the BLS shows that a bachelor’s degree is required for any position within financial analysis. Kristin RegisSouthern New Hampshire University (SNHU) associate dean of finance said job postings often require a finance degree, although a related field like accounting may be acceptable.

Beyond the classroom

While taking courses will help you develop the skills you will need to break into the financial analysis field, there are a number of opportunities you should consider taking advantage of outside of the classroom.

Contact a career advisor early on so they can guide you alongside your educational advisor. It is never too early in your study program to team up with the Careers Department and you will benefit from all their insider knowledge about the events and programs offered by the school that could complement what you learn by. class.

See if there are any organizations you can get involved with to start connecting with other students, instructors, and industry professionals. This will be the basis of your professional network. “Join a finance club – if your school doesn’t have one, ask an instructor or dean how to start one,” Regis said. “Join a financial association like the American Financial Association or the Association of Financial Professionals and start networking in the field of your choice – many associations offer student rates.

There are also opportunities to broaden your knowledge of the industry while keeping you abreast of new developments that relate directly to your field. Remember to subscribe to the Wall Street newspaper (which also offers a discount for students), said Régis. Even small steps like this are a great way to start moving forward on the path to becoming a financial analyst.

Sarah A. Easley ’12 ’18G is a professional content writer and proofreader. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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