It takes professional knowledge and experience to make confident financial decisions and recommendations in the world of business. A Financial Analyst plays a key role in the decision-making processes of a company, based on the strength of research and analysis to evaluate its financial situation.
What does a Financial Analyst do?
Financial Analysts develop financial models to support valuation, planning, budgeting and forecasting, through aggregating and interpreting large amounts of complex data. It is their responsibility to improve business performance through the analysis of financial results, variances and trends determined through research into the market and business performance.
Financial Analysts work across all industries, covering a wide range of companies and organisations. This could be in the public sector, e.g., local government, health authorities, schools, colleges or charities; or in the private sector, which can include banks, building societies, software companies, media, hospitality, utilities, retail or manufacturing.
A Financial Analyst draws upon their financial modelling experience, analysis capabilities, and their knowledge of market conditions and trends to provide accurate information and advice upon which decisions can be made.
In your career as a Financial Analyst, you can expect an average salary of up to £40,000. This figure can vary depending on location, qualifications and experience. As you progress and gain expertise, there is further scope to command a higher salary.
The events of the pandemic in 2020 saw the role of the Financial Analyst evolve, as rapidly changing data meant they were challenged more than ever to use their analytical skills to predict outcomes in an uncertain financial landscape.
As a result, financial data analysis has become an area of increased interest for employers and new candidates emerging into the Financial industry. With investment into Advanced Analytics technology, and its application in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, this is a role that has plenty of scope for new skills, expanding understanding and applying that knowledge at the forefront of innovation.
Is a Financial Analyst job a good fit for you?
Financial Analysts will usually have experience in a lead financial position such as stock broking, or investment banking, with proven expertise in analysing and reporting data. Financial Analysts are relied upon to utilise their strong communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate with colleagues and advise key decision makers. They need confidence to present data and reports in an understandable format, with key actionable advice.
Experience needed includes:
- Assisting in the budgeting and expenditure planning processes.
- Developing financial models to support planning, budgeting and forecasting.
- Conducting research and reporting on factors influencing business performance.
- Analysing market changes and conducting comparable analyses.
- Interpreting complex data with a view to predicting future trends.
- Building on financial performance through the analysis of financial results and trends.
- Aggregating and interpreting financial data, taking into account financial market trends and historic transactions.
- Managing the corporate financial plan and achieving quantifiable progress.
- Maintaining relationships with appropriate contacts, e.g., Auditors, Solicitors, Bankers and Statutory Organisations.
Are you a good fit for a Financial Analyst job?
Having the following skills and experience will further assist you in succeeding in this role:
- Excellent skills in interpreting financial information.
- Understanding financial accounting, monitoring and reporting systems.
- Ability to use accounting and office software packages, e.g. Sage, QuickBooks, Oracle, Zoho Books, Microsoft Excel, Access, Word.
- Competence using analytical software such as Tableau, datapine, Insight Squared.
- Able to analyse microeconomic conditions.
- Multi-industry financial modelling experience.
- Confident in analysing competitors and market trends.
- Ability to monitor, interpret and effectively present complex data with a view to predicting future trends.
- Experience conducting reviews and evaluations to produce cause and effect reports.
- Able to develop relationships with cross-departmental team members.
- Ability to produce accurate reports to specific deadlines.
- Good working knowledge of financial regulations, legislation, market conditions and trends.
Qualifications, Licences and Certifications
To be a Financial Analyst you should have a bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics or Business Administration. You will also need a minimum of 4 years’ experience in a relevant financial role and be fluent in spoken and written English.
A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification would put you ahead of the competition. This is a qualification that can also be worked towards whilst in the role if you do not already have it.
An accountancy qualification is a good substitute if you do not yet have your CFA. This can be through a professional body such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) or the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).
Depending on the financial service activities of your employer, a licence from the Financial Conduct Authority may be required. You can find more information on the Government website here.
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is also highly valued by employers.
In addition to the essential qualifications, employers may look for the following qualities:
- Commercial and business awareness.
- Ability to turn complex data into understandable form.
- Analytical approach to work.
- High numeracy and sound technical skills.
- Proficient I.T. skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Confidence to use initiative.
- Good time management skills.
- Ability to prioritise.
- Excellent communication and presentation skills.
- Positive and approachable manner.
- Work well under pressure.
- Problem-solving skills and initiative.
- Negotiation skills.
- Investigative nature.
- Capacity to make quick but rational decisions.
- Adaptability to change.
- Willingness to embrace new ideas and processes.
- Enthusiasm to develop skills and knowledge.
- Ability to accept criticism and be challenged.
- Can work as part of a team and build strong working relationships.
- Strong leadership qualities, if managing a team.
Where can a Financial Analyst job take you?
The expertise of a Financial Analyst is extremely valuable to a company. The knowledge and experience you gain can be applied across a variety of industries. You will have plenty of scope to build on your technical skills and expand your industry knowledge to move on into a senior position, overseeing a team of Analysts.
As you increase your specialist analytical knowledge in specific areas, roles such as Fund Manager or Treasury Manager are also great options. After 5 years in a senior Financial Analyst job, with the right qualifications, the very best can find themselves in prime position to take on a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Chief Investment Officer (CIO) role.
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