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Financial Analyst


Description

In today's fast-paced marketplace, companies have become more concerned with their financial planning and investing because they want to ensure their company is producing and investing at its highest potential. The result is the trend in hiring financial analysts to do this work specifically. Financial analysts collect and analyze financial marketplace information such as economic forecasts, trading volumes, financial backgrounds of companies, historical performances and future trends of stocks, bonds and other investment instruments to provide financial and investment advice for their company or their company's clients. Financial analysts seek out possible risks and potential returns from investments, provide guidance and make recommendations on these findings. They assess the economic performance of a company and seek ways to invest their money profitably.

In large institutions such as banks, pension funds and governments, financial analysts may monitor national and international stock and bond markets and the economic conditions surrounding all other markets. They also follow major American and international industries such as oil and gas, forestry, mining, banking and telecommunications, conducting detailed studies of different investment opportunities that a company may be interested in investing in.

Financial analysts then prepare reports or make presentation to managers that recommend how the company should invest its money and whether they should buy or sell certain investments or securities. Another method of analysis is using statistical data to measure the different financial risks associated with a particular investment idea.

Financial analysts read company financial statements and analyze commodity prices, sales, costs, expenses, and tax rates in order to determine a company's value and project future earnings. They often meet with managers to get better insight into a company and determine the managerial effectiveness. Usually financial analysts conduct studies of an entire industry, assessing current market trends, products and industry competition. They must keep up-to-date on new regulations or policies that may affect the industry, and very importantly, monitor the economy to determine its effect on potential earnings.
 
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Program Spotlight
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Grand Canyon University
There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
Programs Offered:
  • M.B.A.: Finance
  • B.S. in Finance and Economics
  • M.B.A.: Accounting
  • And more...

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$34,570
 
Median Salary:
$57,100
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$108,060

  Interests and Skills  
Financial analysts must possess the analytical skills required to conduct thorough, objective research and make recommendations for investment decisions. They have excellent communication skills because they write reports and publicly present their research and findings to management officials in companies. Analysts have high ethical standards and can keep information confidential because they are often dealing with millions of dollars in an organization.

Successful financial analysts enjoy taking a methodical approach to collecting information, working with numbers, analyzing problems and finding innovative solutions. There is some risk involved in the work therefore they must be confident in their decision making skills and stock market knowledge.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Collect financial and investment information about companies, stocks, bonds and other investments using daily stock and bond reports, economic forecasts, trading volumes, financial periodicals, securities manuals, company financial statements and other financial reports and publications
  • Examine and analyze financial and investment information collected, including profiles of companies, stock and bond prices, yields and future trends and other investment information for use in making investment decisions
  • Provide investment advice and recommendations to senior company officials, pension fund managers, securities agents and associates
  • Prepare company, industry and economic outlooks, analytical reports, briefing notes and correspondence
  • Draw charts and graphs to illustrate reports, using the computer
  • Call brokers and purchase investments for a company, according to company policy
  • Financial analysts often work long and irregular office hours. Days are often filled with meetings and phone calls therefore in order to complete research, analysts may be required to stay late in order to finish their work. Further, some meetings may take place at night or on weekends. Financial analysts frequently travel to companies and conduct interviews with investors. They usually work on computers with specific company databases or financial software programs.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Financial analysts are generally employed in the head offices of securities firms, investment banking firms, governments, banks, trust companies, investment and underwriting firms, stock and mortgage brokerages, commodity exchanges and other companies and non-profit organizations.
  • Wealthy foundations, educational institutions and, sometimes corporations with substantial amounts of their own money to invest also employ financial analysts. Otherwise, they may be self-employed and either own their own analyst firm or work as a freelancer.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Financial analysts usually come equipped with years of experience, often in other sectors of business. They are generally not young and fresh out of university as companies tend to entrust their money with older, more experienced investors. Also, it takes years to make a name for yourself in the industry and get contracted by companies to conduct financial analysis. Experienced financial analysts may decide to specialize in a particular aspect of financial investing, for example mergers and acquisitions, or move into supervisory or senior management positions in larger companies or professional associations. More established financial analysts may write a financial column for a newspaper, or appear on television or radio shows to offer their financial suggestions.
 

  Educational Paths  
Financial analysts require an undergraduate degree in commerce, finance or economics. Preference is certainly given to applicants who have post-graduate degrees such as an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) or a combination of degrees in related fields. For example, a degree in forestry is an asset for financial analysts working in the forestry and logging industry. Most companies require prospective financial analysts to have several years of relevant training and work experience.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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Grand Canyon University
Do you have entrepreneurial visions to advance your career in the business world? Learn about the options available at GCU.
Programs Offered:
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Utica College

Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution located in upstate central New York.  The College offers regionally accredited online certificates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in healthcare, cybersecurity, financial crime, nursing, physical therapy, business, criminal justice, and data science.  All courses are taught by credentialed, highly experienced faculty with significant and ongoing accomplishments in their respective fields.

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The University of Scranton

The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of five degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the top 10 master’s universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

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University of Delaware Online

The University of Delaware’s tradition of proven academic excellence in online learning brings together expert faculty, experiential learning, and the flexible access online learning offers.

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Argosy University

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

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Founded in 1856, Seton Hall is one of the country’s leading Catholic universities.

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Benedictine University

Founded in 1887, Benedictine University is dedicated to the education of undergraduate and graduate students. Benedictine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

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