Career Spotlight: Financial Analyst

Click for The Best Collection of Kindle Fire HDs The financial analyst occupation is a hot career path in the accounting industry. Financial analysts perform advanced accounting duties that require expertise in analyzing data to closely monitor costs, financial records, and other financial documents.


Financial analysts perform financial forecasting, prepare financial reports, and monitor financial budgets and transactions. They maintain database files and create spreadsheets that help explain financial data and statistical records. Financial analysts may conduct industry research to assist with the analysis of financial information and help prepare financial reports. Some financial analysts may evaluate investment opportunities for their employers.
Skills Financial analysts must have a strong accounting background. They must understand accounting principles and procedures, as well as auditing functions. They are also required to have knowledge regarding the laws and regulations of fiscal record keeping, Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) requirements, as well as other government-required tasks. For many job positions, candidates for financial analyst positions must understand standard financial software applications. Prospective financial analysts must be able to understand complex mathematical computations and identify mathematical errors in financial documents. Financial analysts should possess several general skills, such as effective interpersonal/written communication skills and organizational/multitasking skills. Some positions may require financial analysts to have management skills, in order to manage and coordinate duties for lower-level staff in accounting or finance departments.


Most employers require applicants for financial analyst positions to hold at minimum a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Accounting majors in college would benefit from completing courses in finance, and finance majors will benefit from completing courses in accounting. This is primarily due to the fact that financial analysts combine accounting and finance skills to perform their job duties and responsibilities. Many financial analyst positions are entry-level or junior-level type jobs, while other positions are advanced-level or senior-level jobs. Most employers require applicants for entry-level positions to have about 1 to 3 years of accounting or finance experience, whereas applicants for senior-level financial analyst positions may be required to have 5 or more years of experience.


Many companies do not require prospective financial analysts to be licensed. Most companies that require licensure provide sponsorship to enable current financial analysts to obtain the training needed to acquire their license with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).


Most financial analysts work a typical 40-hours-a-week schedule, which may also include additional overtime hours. Typical employers of financial analysts are insurance companies, banks, investment firms, nonprofit organizations and universities.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, financial analysts held 236,000 jobs in 2010. Job opportunities are expected to increase by 23% over the course of the next decade. By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that financial analysts should hold 290,200 jobs. The expected job increase is primarily due to the increase in financial services firms creating new job positions for financial analysts. As of May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for financial analysts is $74,350.

Aaron Gormley understands the importance of sound finances, which is why he writes this article on behalf of Churchwood Finance debt management.