Do you have what it takes to be a financial analyst?
A career as a financial analyst means combining a wide range of abilities, such as critical thinking and strong research skills.
Read on below to find out if being a financial analyst is your path to job success.
What is a financial analyst?
Financial analysts are vital for businesses, as they provide in-depth analysis of investment data and company performance in order to recommend improvements and help businesses to make better decisions.
This means that they can advise management on where performance is flagging, identifying potential risks, and spotting where the company can grow. Insights like these often help businesses to make decisions such as whether to pursue significant deals, such as mergers or acquisitions.
The main elements of this include data collection and analysis, research, and report writing. Some larger companies have entire departments dedicated to this role, but it is more likely to work in a small team.
What skills will you need?
Analytical skills: A key part of the role is thinking critically about the business and being able to identify problems as they arise – or even before. You will also need to interpret data quickly in order to decide what information is relevant for different departments and reports.
IT: Having a good grasp of technology is vital for this role, as you will be doing computer-based tasks such as using spreadsheets, financial modelling, and creating projections. Some skills can be learned whilst you work, but it is always a good idea to try to get up to speed before you begin the job.
Calm under pressure: You will face many tight deadlines, as business environments can often be fast-paced and the kind of information you will be providing may need to be available first thing in the morning. Some days may be longer than others, so ensuring that you can keep up your productivity is essential.
What’s in it for me?
Glassdoor estimates that the average salary of a financial analyst in the UK is £38,000 (£40,000 per year in London), and more senior roles can be worth up to £55,000. However, these are only averages: some professionals earn much more.
You may also be able to travel and see different cities, as you will need to be working with lots of different teams – particularly in the larger companies, which can also offer you the opportunity to work abroad.
How do I get there?
The most important qualification for this role is the professional Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification, which gives you a good grounding in economics, finance, and professional standards. You will also learn more practical elements, such as financial reporting, asset classes, and portfolio management. Classes are available online or through classroom-based learning.
Work experience can be useful for making contacts, gaining experience, and improving your chances of impressing future employers. However, competition for internships is usually very fierce – so prepare yourself for plenty of applications, and make sure you always show genuine interest in the role.
You can find out more about CFA courses at LSBF here: /programmes/professional/cfa-courses