How to become a financial analyst

Find out what it takes to become a financial analyst and find out if this career is for you!


are you a detail oriented no one? You like research and follow world news? have you strong analytical skills? If so, you may be a good candidate for a career as a financial analyst!

What is a financial analyst?

A financial analyst is someone who researches and interprets financial data to help businesses make investment decisions. Some of the data that financial analysts will consider in their research comes from stocks, bonds, business operations, franchise performance, marketing techniques, economic factors, and more. Based on their research, financial analysts advising businesses about which stocks to invest in, which to sell and other factors. A financial analyst must have a solid knowledge of macroeconomics and microeconomics to make predictions about future economic conditions, markets and businesses.

How to Become a Financial Analyst in 3 Easy Steps

Find out how to become a financial analyst by following this single track to succeed.

First step: education

To become a financial analyst, you must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in accounting, finance, commerce, business, economy, statistics, or any other program that shows you can work with numbers and financial information. These programs will help you develop essential skills for this position, such as research, communication, logic, problem solving, analysis, attention to detail, and strong math skills.

Since there are more financial analyst candidates than there are vacancies in Canada, you will need to stand out from other candidates. One of the best ways to do this is to pursuing a graduate degree. A graduate degree is not necessary to become a financial analyst, but it will help you become a more desirable candidate for jobs. If you are considering a graduate degree, a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance may be most useful for this career. You can also set yourself apart by gaining valuable work experience through internships and co-op placements while pursuing your undergraduate studies.

Second step: additional certifications

Most companies require or want their employees to complete the CFA Institute’s Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program. It’s a rigor three-level exam it takes a at least three years complete. In addition to the three exams, you will need one of the following experiences:

  • a bachelors (or equivalent) diploma
  • you have to be within 11 months of the month of your graduation for your baccalaureate (or equivalent) at the time you take your Level I exam
  • to have 4,000 hours of work experience or a combination of these hours with your education

The good news is that you can take the exams before, during, or after meeting any of these requirements. It’s a challenging program, but with this designation, you show potential employers your patience, drive and perseverance who helped you succeed. You will also be eligible for higher level positions where you can make more money.

Increase your chances of passing the CFA exams by taking your baccalaureate at schools affiliated with the CFA Institute. These affiliated schools use an extremely helpful curriculum to prepare students for the CFA program exams. This list of schools includes Toronto Metropolitan University, Thompson Rivers University, and the University of Waterloo. With the help of these programs, you will be ready to face the CFA program exams!

Keep in mind that you can always choose to return to complete the CFA certification at any time in your career. You don’t need to do this right after your undergraduate degree.

Third step: work experience

Although it is not necessary to gain work experience before graduating, it helps you stand out from other applicants. Many employers will prioritize candidates who already have some work experience on those who do not.

The best way to gain work experience is to participate in internship and cooperation opportunities while you complete your undergraduate degree. This way, you can study while gaining valuable work experience. Most schools will help you connect to these internships, so you won’t have to deal with the stress of finding these positions on your own.

What do financial analysts do?

As a Financial Analyst, you can expect to perform the following tasks:

  • analyze client investments projects
  • attend prepare budgets
  • collect, analyze and present Data
  • identify potential risks and returns investments
  • make investment recommendations for the customers
  • evaluate and predict economic markets

Advantages and Disadvantages of Working as a Financial Analyst

As in any career, there is advantages and disadvantages at work.

Advantages

Discover the advantages of this career:

  • make a living wage
  • room for growth and promotions
  • variety of work optionssuch as banks, investment advisory firms, insurance companies, trust companies, utility companies, etc.
  • a chance to offer meaningful advice to businesses and individuals

The inconvenients

Check out the downsides of being a financial analyst:

  • long working hours (and may have to work weekends)
  • increased stress due to a high level of responsibility and a fluctuating economy
  • extreme attention to detail
  • little room for creativity
  • hard to get a positive review work-life balance

Career Prospects for a Financial Analyst

Want to get an idea of where in Canada you could work as a financial analyst? Consult the Canadian government’s Job Bank for financial analyst job offers. You may also be wondering “what do financial analysts earn?“The average financial analyst earns $76,794. Find out the low, medium and high salary expectations of a financial analyst.

Now that you know a little more about financial analysts, is this the career for you?

Explore a career as a financial analyst
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