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Financial Analyst Job Description

Ujwal Deshmukh
If you are interested in making a career in finance and analysis, read here about financial analyst's job description, salary range, and educational requirements.
Financial analysts are key members of an organization due to the fact that money, as a resource, is in itself the lifeblood of any organization.
Financial Analysts shift through the financial data of an organization and help in the decision-making, with regard to financial investment.
Working independently, they also help individuals analyze investment plans and stock options. They may also be referred to as investment advisers or financial advisers, and are often employed by mutual funds and brokerage firms.
Financial analysis has gained importance after the 2008 financial crises, where companies and individuals are now seeking help from professionals, who can guide them through the ups and downs of the market with keen financial acumen. The job profile is suitable for multinational organizations, finance, banking, and insurance companies.
After gaining experience, they may opt for self-employment as well. Jobs in this sector are expected to increase considerably in this decade. Let's take a look at some important aspects of the job, the educational background required, and compensation that can be expected.

Financial Analyst - Job Description

The core job of any financial analyst involves -
Analyzing finance reports from various departments like sales, marketing, purchase, production, communication, etc.
Preparing reports based on research and suggest investments for companies as well as individuals.
Determining, planning, and foreseeing marketing activities.
Developing effective new techniques for financial planning to render better services to clients.
Reading financial statements of the organization and taking into consideration the sales, expenses, and production costs, to recommend investments and foresee future earnings of the organization.
Keeping a tab on the latest trends and techniques in the field of financial analysis.
Coordinating with the top management as well as other departments, to report on progress and changes, if any.
Assessing competitors, to help the company make the necessary changes in their value delivery mechanisms.
Handling audits and working for client information support services.
Planning and decision-making on financial analysis.
Using statistical tools to analyze the facts of their reports.

Educational Requirements

Generally, a candidate with a Bachelor's degree in business administration, finance and accounting, and/or statistics is preferred by organizations and may work as a junior financial analyst. A core education in financial studies must include investment analysis, marketing studies, international business, business laws, and managerial finance.
Besides formal training and education - excellent analytical skills, a result-oriented approach, the ability to work in a team, along with excellent written and oral communication skills, are valued prerequisites for the job.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Many organizations today require that the candidate be a CFA - a title awarded by the CFA Institute to professionals working in the field of finance and investment banking. The program is an extensive and difficult one, spanning a period of 4 years for the average candidate and involves several exams.
Once through, the professional is awarded a charter and becomes a charterholder, who can then become a member of the CFA Institute and also a local CFA charter, and apply to companies where there is the need for a financial analyst.

FINRA Certification

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA, is a non-governmental body under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which serves as a regulator for several exchanges and brokering houses that are its members. It holds several certification examinations for professionals who wish to work as a financial analyst in the industry.
Most companies today have a mandatory requirement for a finance professional to have a FINRA certification, some of which are:
  • Series 7 General Securities Representative Qualification
  • Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination
  • Series 65 & 66 Uniform Investment Adviser Law and State Law Examinations

SEC Approval

Analysts with more than $110 million in Assets Under Management (AUM) must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Those under this limit must register with the state securities regulator. Investment firms have set processes to help in the paperwork, however, this may have to be done by the analyst himself if he is working independently.

Salary Data

According to the 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics - 
  • Mean Annual Wages - $84,300
  • Mean Hourly Wages - $40.53
  • Employment Opportunities - New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Florida
  • Sector Growth - 11%
  • Number of jobs (2016-2026) - 32,200
Financial analysts are compensated well. Studies say that experience and location counts more than education when determining salary in this field. An analyst with more than 5 years of experience may earn anywhere between $49,528 - $91,874. CFA certification is a positive influence on the salary offered.
Senior professionals may find their salaries ranging anywhere between $49,477 - $116,673. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top earning professionals may receive more than $165,000 annually. These figures may include annual bonuses and other benefits that may vary from one company to the next.
Financial Analysis is a good choice for a career in finance. Knowledge and experience combined with cutting-edge performance during initial days will move your career forward. Although there is a healthy growth of new jobs in this field, the competition is fierce. One must update his/her skill-sets often to remain at the forefront of this exciting career.