Financial analysis is a lucrative and in-demand profession. Financial analysts can be employed by banks, stock brokerages, investment houses, insurance agencies and many other similar institutions. The profession tracks stocks, bonds, equities, and other financial instruments in order to make financial recommendations based on their research.
For this reason, the knowledge and skills acquired by financial analysts is in constant demand. If you prioritize education, you can create a financially rewarding career in this industry. The profession requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. However, those who want to enjoy greater opportunities should pursue advanced education in the chartered financial analyst program, to become more appealing to potential employees.
Read on to find the tips to become a highly-desirable financial analyst in this lucrative field!
1. Gain qualifications and experience
Further education including a master’s degree and chartered financial analyst (CFA) approved programs is the most beneficial way to separate yourself from other competitors.
Many financial analysts find employment as soon as they graduate from an MBA or CFA program and will enjoy increased salary potential as they gain traction within the industry. However, it is never too early to start gaining experience. To stand out amongst your peers after graduation, pursuing internships or paid experience within the field is vital.
2. Sharpen your skill set
Financial analysis is a competitive industry, therefore it is important to acquire the wide range of relevant skill sets in order to effectively compete within the industry. Some relevant skills include:
Mathematics: This one is a no-brainer. Analysts must be able to perform complex equations and calculate extensive financial projections quickly.
Data analysis: In the Digital Age, analysts must know how to read and interpret digital financial data.
Communication: Analysts must be able to break down financial issues into smaller components that can be understood by their clients. This often involves financial modelling. The other component of the analyst’s job is to convince others to follow the recommendations.
ERP (enterprise resource planning) software: Financial analysts need to have an understanding of numerous financial software programs, including ERP’s in order to manage and automate financial tasks for their clients.
Strategic thinking: Financial analysts must be commercial minded in order to derive solutions to maximise profit for their clients.
Attention to detail: Even the smallest mistake can result in a significant loss of money for clients. Therefore, all financial analysts must pay attention to detail and regular review their work for errors.
3. Raise ambitions
The demand for finance experts by companies and investment firms has fueled the growth of the careers of financial analysts. The profession allows for significant career growth, depending on the ambitions of the individual.
Experts in the industry can rise through the ranks to become chief financial officers, consultants, managers of finance departments or pursue a career making strategic investments. The wide range of employment options available for financial analysts broadens both income and career opportunities.
4. Excel at your core duties
The core duties undertaken by financial analysts include:
- Evaluation of current and historical data
- Study of economic and business trends
- Recommendation of investments and portfolios
- Gain insight into the company’s prospects
- Evaluate financial statements to determine their value
- Prepare written reports
- Explain recommendations to investors.
Being able to excel at these core duties is a sure fire way to become a highly desirable (and hireable) financial analyst.
5. Get global-minded
Investing is becoming more global-oriented. Therefore, businesses want analysts who can understand the business environment, political conditions, language and culture in any country or region that they cover.
They must understand how new regulations, policies, and political and economic trends may affect overseas investments. Therefore, being global minded is of increasing importance in order to understand financial trends that affect the world as a whole.
6. Be tech-savvy
The ability to leverage cloud-based technology platforms and other accounting software has heralded a new era in the financial profession. The most successful analysts are ones that develop proficiency in the use of spreadsheets, databases, PowerPoint presentations and learn other software applications. Being able to utilize and interpret data obtained through software processes is a key skill required for all financial analysts.
7. Be Creative
Hiring people with the skills to deliver actionable, strategic and data-driven conclusions is a must for companies. Therefore, employees are seeking creative individuals who can interpret financial data and use this to deliver innovative solutions to financial problems. Having this skill can help you move up the corporate ladder more rapidly.
A career as a financial analyst offers an exciting opportunity to shape the finance industry. As it is estimated that financial analyst jobs will grow by 23% from 2010 to 2020, it is also a career that provides significant job and financial security.
Bio: Laura Costello is in her final year of a Bachelor of Law/International Relations at Latrobe University. She is passionate about the law, the power of social media, and the ability to translate her knowledge of both common and complex topics to readers across a variety of mediums, in a way that is easy to understand.