How to Become a

Financial Analyst

The complete career guide to be a Financial Analyst: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $95,320
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 11.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute

A financial analyst monitors financial instruments such as bonds, stocks, and equities in order to make profitable recommendations to the company they are working for. You typically make suggestions on which securities should be bought or sold in the employer’s portfolio.


What is a Financial Analyst?

Duties

The job responsibilities of a financial analyst include the following aspects:

  • Track regional variations in forecasts to pinpoint potential gains for the business in areas like operating budgets, price and currency fluctuations, capital spending, facility rationalizations and changes in channel, i.e. direct or via distributor.
  • Perform monthly processing work in a punctual manner to make sure that important observations from financials are disseminated by the deadline.
  • Keep abreast of the latest financial planning software applications and other information like time permits; support the development and implementation of new software upgrades at the organizational level.
  • Consistently conduct analyses of the company performance, keeping an eye out for areas of improvement based on current trends in the industry.
  • Make informed recommendations to senior leadership on cost saving and profit optimizing strategies.

Day In The Life

As a financial analyst you will spend your day assessing the financial situation of your employer, and create accurate reports that will convey your recommendations clearly. Most of the work involves continuously tracking and interpreting available statistics on industry trends and forecasts for future profits, calculating a good market rate for selling company stock, and making strong suggestions to investors or the management. As a financial analyst, you will have to take risks to see gains but you will also manage risks effectively based on what works well for your clients.

Since much of the job entails thinking logically and keeping pace with fluctuating markets, you need to think critically at all points for potential investments. You will also make efforts to be a lifelong learner by studying economic policies and market conditions closely, via research like finance journals such as The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

Most of the financial analysis work is office-based, therefore they follow the regular full-time with the standard working hours of about 40 hours per week. Their work is however time sensitive and demanding which means that they usually have to work for extended hours beyond their normal working schedule. It is estimated that 1 of each 3 financial analysts work for 50 to 70 hours per week. Financial analysts can have work peaks when the company is considering a major investment, merge or entry into a new market for example. Financial analysts also need to be flexible as you may need travel frequently to visit companies or clients.

Projected Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the employment of financial analysts is expected to increase by at least 5 percent from 2019 to 2029 which is a little faster than the projected growth rate for other jobs which is directly related to the economy growth and the increase of financial products. The modern technology advances and big data will give the financial analyst new and better tools to perform high-quality analysis to give companies and corporations better ways to manage their business and investments. Moreover, financial analysts currently use machine learning and artificial intelligence tools including programs as MATLAB, SAS, and QlikView. This tools help provide more accurate and competitive conclusions.

Typical Employers

Financial analysts can work for private and public financial firms, many of them located at NYC, and some also distributed across the country. Major companies working in financial analysis include Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group. These firms employ hundreds of analysts to make as much profit as possible and would be a great place to start and gain enough experience and connections. Other employers include private companies whether small businesses or huge corporations who need financial analysis to be able to gain new investment options and profits. Some experienced financial analysts may choose to work as freelancers allowing them to work from home with more flexible schedule. If you aim at working as a freelancer, then you should build your network of clients by working in financial analysis agents before making this transition.


How To Become a Financial Analyst

To be a financial analyst, you need to at least hold a bachelor’s degree in a related subject like economics, accounting, business studies, or statistics. You can find a specialization like finance, insurance claims or marketing. The more advanced your educational credentials, the better job prospects you will have in this industry. When you are hired as a junior professional in this industry, most employers will have training programs on-the-job to equip you with the skills needed for the role.

Entry-level jobs are usually very competitive and need you to have at least two years of work experience. While an undergraduate degree is enough for several positions, you can advance your career prospects with a graduate degree in business administration, which provides you with advanced knowledge in business theory. Depending on your interests, working as a financial analyst can be an exciting career choice if you excel with numbers and like being in a fast-paced environment.


Financial Analyst Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$61,650

Average

$95,320

High Range

$160,760

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$30/hr

Average

$46/hr

High Range

$77/hr

How do Financial Analyst salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Financial Analyst's can make an average annual salary of $95,320, or $46 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $61,650 or $30 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #75 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Financial Analyst. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Financial Analysts

  • 5.2%   Doctorate
  • 35.6%   Masters
  • 45.3%   Bachelors
  • 3%   Associates
  • 8%   College
  • 2.7%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

277,600

2024 Est. Jobs

310,000

Job Growth Rate

11.7%

Est. New Jobs

32,400

How does Financial Analyst job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 32,400 jobs for a total of 310,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 11.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #152 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally


What Companies Employ The Most Financial Analysts

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Other financial investment activities 44,400 16,100 16%
Management of companies and enterprises 37,700 1,800 2%
Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage 22,700 1,100 1%

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