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Become A Finance Analyst

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Working As A Finance Analyst

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $71,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Finance Analyst Do

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Duties

Financial analysts typically do the following:

  • Recommend individual investments and collections of investments, which are known as portfolios
  • Evaluate current and historical financial data
  • Study economic and business trends
  • Examine a company’s financial statements to determine its value
  • Meet with company officials to gain better insight into the company’s prospects
  • Assess the strength of the management team
  • Prepare written reports

Financial analysts evaluate investment opportunities. They work in banks, pension funds, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, and other businesses. Financial analysts are also called securities analysts and investment analysts.

Financial analysts can be divided into two categories: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.

  • Buy-side analysts develop investment strategies for companies that have a lot of money to invest. These companies, called institutional investors, include mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, independent money managers, and nonprofit organizations with large endowments, such as some universities.
  • Sell-side analysts advise financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Some analysts work for the business media or other research houses, which are independent from the buy and sell side.

Financial analysts generally focus on trends affecting a specific industry, geographical region, or type of product. For example, an analyst may focus on a subject area such as the energy industry, a world region such as Eastern Europe, or the foreign exchange market. They must understand how new regulations, policies, and political and economic trends may affect investments.

Investing is becoming more global, and some financial analysts specialize in a particular country or region. Companies want those financial analysts to understand the language, culture, business environment, and political conditions in the country or region that they cover.

The following are examples of types of financial analysts:

Portfolio managers select the mix of products, industries, and regions for their company’s investment portfolio. These managers are responsible for the overall performance of the portfolio. They are also expected to explain investment decisions and strategies in meetings with stakeholders.

Fund managers work exclusively with hedge funds or mutual funds. Both fund and portfolio managers frequently make buy or sell decisions in reaction to quickly changing market conditions.

Ratings analysts evaluate the ability of companies or governments to pay their debts, including bonds. On the basis of their evaluation, a management team rates the risk of a company or government not being able to repay its bonds.

Risk analysts evaluate the risk in investment decisions and determine how to manage unpredictability and limit potential losses. This job is carried out by making investment decisions such as selecting dissimilar stocks or having a combination of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in a portfolio.

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How To Become A Finance Analyst

Financial analysts typically must have a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is often required for advanced positions.

Education

Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. A number of fields of study provide appropriate preparation, including accounting, economics, finance, statistics, and mathematics. For advanced positions, employers often require a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in finance. Knowledge of options pricing, bond valuation, and risk management are important.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. It requires licenses for many financial analyst positions. Most of the licenses require sponsorship by an employer, so companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job.

Certification is often recommended by employers and can improve the chances for advancement. An example is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification from the CFA Institute. Financial analysts can become CFA certified if they have a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of qualified work experience, and pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field of specialty.

Advancement

Financial analysts typically start by specializing in a specific investment field. As they gain experience, they can become portfolio managers, who select the mix of investments for a company’s portfolio. They can also become fund managers, who manage large investment portfolios for individual investors. A master’s degree in finance or business administration can improve an analyst’s chances of advancing to one of these positions.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Financial analysts must process a range of information in finding profitable investments.

Communication skills. Financial analysts must explain their recommendations to clients in clear language that clients can easily understand.

Computer skills. Financial analysts must be adept at using software packages to analyze financial data, see trends, create portfolios, and make forecasts.

Decisionmaking skills. Financial analysts must provide a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell a security.

Detail oriented. Financial analysts must pay attention to details when reviewing possible investments, as small issues may have large implications for the health of an investment.

Math skills. Financial analysts use mathematical skills when estimating the value of financial securities. 

To be successful, financial analysts must be motivated to seek out obscure information that may be important to the investment. Many work independently and must have self-confidence in their judgment.

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Finance Analyst Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Finance Analyst 3.0 years
Finance Executive 3.0 years
Revenue Analyst 2.7 years
Asset Analyst 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Finance Analyst
Accountant 13.7%
Internship 7.5%
Analyst 4.5%
Controller 3.1%
Consultant 2.5%
Top Careers After Finance Analyst
Controller 6.0%
Accountant 6.0%
Consultant 4.3%
Manager 3.2%
Analyst 3.1%

Do you work as a Finance Analyst?

Finance Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

48.7%

Female

38.8%

Unknown

12.5%
Ethnicity

White

55.2%

Asian

14.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.5%

Black or African American

11.2%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.2%

French

11.2%

Mandarin

10.3%

Chinese

9.6%

German

4.7%

Russian

4.4%

Portuguese

4.0%

Italian

3.4%

Cantonese

3.1%

Hindi

2.7%

Arabic

2.6%

Japanese

2.4%

Korean

2.0%

Polish

1.0%

Urdu

0.9%

Gujarati

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Turkish

0.7%

Greek

0.6%

Ukrainian

0.5%
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Finance Analyst Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.3%

New York University

6.2%

DePaul University

5.7%

Strayer University

5.7%

University of Houston

5.4%

Northeastern University

4.8%

Pennsylvania State University

4.3%

University of Southern California

4.2%

Arizona State University

4.0%

George Washington University

4.0%

University of Texas at Austin

4.0%

Florida International University

3.9%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.8%

University of Maryland - University College

3.8%

George Mason University

3.7%

Georgia State University

3.7%

San Jose State University

3.7%

Drexel University

3.7%

Fordham University

3.6%

Pace University - New York

3.5%
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Majors

Business

30.6%

Finance

27.3%

Accounting

23.1%

Economics

4.3%

Management

3.1%

Marketing

1.6%

Political Science

0.9%

International Business

0.8%

Project Management

0.8%

Mathematics

0.8%

Computer Information Systems

0.7%

Business Economics

0.7%

Law

0.7%

Psychology

0.7%

Human Resources Management

0.7%

Health Care Administration

0.7%

Management Science

0.6%

Real Estate

0.6%

Computer Science

0.6%

Management Information Systems

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.4%

Masters

39.8%

Other

7.3%

Associate

2.6%

Certificate

2.2%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$71,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
North Shore Univ Hospital
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Finance Analyst make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Finance Analyst in the United States is $71,496 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $108,000.

Real Finance Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Financial Analyst Otter Media Holdings, LLC Santa Monica, CA Aug 22, 2015 $300,000
Financial Analyst Federal Reserve Bank of New York New York, NY Jan 12, 2015 $260,000
Financial Analyst Glencore Ltd. Stamford, CT Sep 15, 2015 $250,000
Financial Analyst Coltrane Asset Management LP New York, NY Oct 09, 2016 $225,000
Financial Analyst Tiger Veda Management, LLC New York, NY Feb 10, 2016 $225,000
Financial Analyst Littlejohn & Co. LLC Greenwich, CT May 01, 2015 $220,000
Financial Analyst Bruce S. Brickman & Associates, Inc. New York, NY Feb 15, 2016 $205,000
Financial Analyst Consulta USA Inc. New York, NY Oct 02, 2015 $200,000
Financial Analyst-Portfolio Manager Moneda USA, Inc. New York, NY Jul 29, 2015 $200,000 -
$300,000
Financial Analyst Bronson Point Management LLC Fairfield, CT Apr 02, 2015 $200,000
Financial Analyst Blazeridge, LLC New York, NY May 30, 2016 $200,000
Financial Analyst Sanoor Capital Management LP Greenwich, CT Dec 21, 2015 $200,000
Financial Analyst Investment Placement Group San Diego, CA Sep 30, 2015 $200,000
Financial Analyst Fir Tree Partners Inc. New York, NY Sep 02, 2015 $200,000
Financial Analyst Us21 Inc. T/A Us21 Computers Inc. Fairfax, VA Dec 30, 2015 $77,938
Financial Analyst Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Allentown, PA Sep 22, 2015 $77,800 -
$124,400
Financial Analyst Rearth USA LLC Plano, TX Aug 25, 2016 $77,771
Financial Sales Analyst Meridian Office Systems, Inc. Addison, TX Apr 15, 2016 $77,771
Financial Strategy Group Analyst Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc. New York, NY Aug 17, 2016 $77,700 -
$94,900
Financial Strategy Group Analyst Mercer Investment Consulting New York, NY Oct 09, 2016 $77,700 -
$98,500
Financial Analyst Amazon Corporate LLC New York, NY May 15, 2015 $77,700 -
$144,300
Financial Analyst Geo Investing LLC Skippack, PA Mar 25, 2016 $65,166
Financial Analyst 48 Factoring Wayne, PA Mar 28, 2016 $65,166
Financial Analyst Ibidsmart Inc. Trevose, PA Feb 29, 2016 $65,166
Financial Analyst BRC Real Estate Corporation Highlands Ranch, CO Aug 11, 2015 $65,166
Financial Analyst U.S. Bank National Association Bloomington, MN Jul 09, 2016 $65,100
Financial Analyst It America Inc. Carson City, NV Aug 25, 2015 $65,100
Financial Analyst Portocork America, Inc. Napa, CA Aug 16, 2016 $65,062
Financial Analyst II Rackspace Us, Inc. San Antonio, TX Oct 01, 2015 $65,000

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Top Skills for A Finance Analyst

  1. Financial Statements
  2. External Auditors
  3. Journal Entries
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and analyzed financial statements and other financial documents to aid management in decision-making processes.
  • Supported the divisional controller by developing process documentation for external auditors to aid in their understanding of company policies and procedures.
  • Assisted in monthly financial close with primary responsibility of preparing inter-company vouchers and journal entries.
  • Provided general ledger account variance analysis and explanation of monthly reconciliation of general ledger accounts and follow-up on outstanding items.
  • Developed financial models including statement and variance analysis, forecasting, budgeting, and cash flow allowing enhanced decision making.

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Top 10 Best States for Finance Analysts

  1. Connecticut
  2. New York
  3. Washington
  4. Minnesota
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Delaware
  7. New Jersey
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Illinois
  10. California
  • (629 jobs)
  • (2,586 jobs)
  • (1,158 jobs)
  • (1,051 jobs)
  • (1,588 jobs)
  • (163 jobs)
  • (1,216 jobs)
  • (161 jobs)
  • (2,163 jobs)
  • (6,417 jobs)

Top Finance Analyst Employers

Jobs From Top Finance Analyst Employers

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