If analyzing data trends and performance of stocks and bonds or helping people and companies in investing excites you, then Financial Analyst is the perfect job role for you. Recent growth in the financial market has piqued the interest of employers in hiring an individual who is qualified to provide financial analysis services to the organization. According to Forbes, the demand for financial analysts will replace the demand for many professionals in other areas. Financial analysis mainly thrills those who have a fair amount of interest in math and analytical thinking. People interested in these areas might find it difficult to proceed in the field since there is a lot of information on the internet that confuses them.
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What is a Financial Analyst?
A financial analyst is a professional who interprets financial data and uses the result of this data for their analysis to help businesses and individuals make informed investment decisions. The investment may differ in areas like bonds, stocks, real estate, business operations, franchise performance, etc.
Professionals with knowledge in this area are employed at – banks, financial planning institutions, investment advisory firms, portfolio management providers, insurance companies, etc.
A financial analyst does not only mean analyzing stock or bond markets. Companies also hire analysts to use numerical data to pinpoint the efficiency of various marketing techniques with the cost. Businesses with a franchise model employ the services of financial analysts to find whether the business will work in that specific region keeping in mind the strengths and weaknesses of the business.
Required Skills and Education
Moving on to the skills and education required to become a financial analyst. In the field of financial analysis, no such thing as a career-wide educational minimum exists. The skills required to become a financial analyst are broad, very less rigid, and well-defined.
The requirement of a license depends on factors like the industry your employer is working in and the duties you will be handed in your job role. Some of the common skills for analysts are – quantitative financial analysis, analysis skills, understanding of financial law, and knowledge of enterprise resource planning software.
Coming on to the education required for financial analysts. A bachelor’s degree with a major in economics, finance, and statistics has become a definite requirement to become a financial analyst. But a degree in other majors like accounting and math, biology, and engineering is also given preference, especially if you want to go in that direction.
Keeping education aside, a person with strong quantitative financial analysis, expert problem-solving abilities, and good communication skills can achieve a successful career as a financial analyst.
If you are not typically from a financial background, then you must enroll in a course that provides certification to showcase your knowledge and eagerness to work as a Financial analyst. To obtain a certificate in the area, the candidate has to give a few exams. The best and the most common course to enroll in to become a financial analyst is CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). Many candidates wish to distinguish themselves from other professionals and pursue an advanced degree in the same area while doing the CFA preparation. The course also offers financial analytics training which gives the candidate some practical experience.
A license in this area is required when the company is working in a company at the role of selling financial products. The license helps to keep consumers safe from fraud or unfair practices. So, preferably a company looks for candidates who already hold the license. The license is registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and it makes sure that all license holders comply with the rules and regulations of the field. In cases where a license is required, prospective candidates may not be required to have a license before an offer of employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most companies will consider unlicensed applicants if their qualifications seem fit for the job role.
Requirements for CFA are –
- Bachelor’s degree in finance
- Four years of work experience
- Passing scores on all three CFA institute exams
Certification is important on the road to becoming a financial analyst, but it’s also important for the candidate to have a good experience in the corporate world. The more experienced you are, the faster you will climb up your career ladder. According to net data, when hiring financial analysts, employers consider relevant work experience and favor those candidates who have hands-on experience with work in the field of finance, accounting, and economics.
As discussed above, a master’s in this area is not necessary but helps the candidates in fortifying their resumes. Many people choose to do this advanced course to improve their knowledge which will increase the interest of potential employers, and they will be offered better pay and job opportunities.
Types of Analysts
- Buy-side analysts – These analysts help people make decisions about where to invest.
- Sell-side analysts – These analysts evaluate and compare different securities in an industry.
- Investment banking and equity analyst – These analysts analyze whether mergers and acquisitions of two firms are feasible or not.
This area of finance offers a pretty good amount of salary. According to BLS, the salary of a typical financial analyst is somewhere near $84,300. But the salary in this industry may vary from field to field. For example – the salary of an analyst in the field of securities and investment is somewhere around $100,180, whereas someone working in the field of insurance will earn around $76,780. The salary also depends upon the level of work experience the candidate has had in the past.
The financial markets and economies are constantly changing, so the demand for someone who can predict it is also rising. This area has great earning potential as people in this field are limited. The area of finance is ever-growing and will continue to offer great positions to job seekers. Although a career as a financial analyst requires a lot of hard work, it will not only provide you with financial satisfaction but with a good reputation in front of the world.
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