A financial analyst job involves reviewing and analyzing the broad number of financial instruments available within a particular investment market. Based on their analyses, the financial analysis will then provide an interpretation as well as recommendations to the companies or individuals that they are working for. Financial analysis provide information that guides decisions in personal finance, corporate investments, company mergers, acquisitions and initial public offers (IPO). A financial services job can be found in a number of different companies.
Financial analyst careers based in a stock brokerage, investment firm or financial services company will be tasked with undertaking extensive research on the various options of investment that are available, analyzing the pros and cons of each depending on the companies short, medium and long term objectives, preparing the pertinent reports, making presentations on the data and recommendations to the key decision making organs within the organization. The sources of research for financial analysis are diverse and can include data on credible websites, company reports, business news, industry journals, company announcements and industry regulator reports.
A financial analyst job based in what can be termed as an ordinary non-finance business will be involved in preparing company budgets, end of year company accounts and performing financial audits to some degree. The financial analysis will be one of the key point persons in the design and negotiation of financial instruments that the business is contemplating. Such instruments or products would include foreign currency future contracts, price hedges and syndicated loans. If the business intends to raise funds through the public, financial analysis will be heavily involved in the process of structuring the IPO, rights issue, debenture, corporate bond, commercial paper etc. The financial analyst job will also prepare or oversee the preparation of dividend payouts as well as the financial reports for distribution to the shareholders.
So what do you need in order to succeed in financial analyst careers? First, you must be good in mathematics and statistics. This is because the financial analyst’s job demands a great deal of calculation and statistical data analysis. The need for mathematical aptitude cannot be overemphasized given that the reports that financial analysts develop will usually be used to make major and sometimes high value investment decisions on behalf of the institution he or she works for. But financial analysts will often be asked to make presentations to management so good presentation and reporting skills are of paramount importance. It is one thing to have accurate data-but it is completely another to communicate the data in a way that makes sense for an audience.
A financial analysis job will favor persons with an undergraduate degree in a business related field such as finance, commerce, business analysis, economics, business administration, business management, accounting etcetera. A minor, a separate degree or a postgraduate qualification in mathematics or statistics will be an added advantage. Senior financial analysts’ jobs will often have much more stringent requirements such as the need to have a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or a Masters in Finance. In addition, many firms now require that one have professional qualifications such as Certified Public Accounting (CPA), Certified International Investment Analyst (CIIA) or Chartered Financial Analysis (CFA).