The economy is always in a state of flux, and those ebbs and flows can significantly affect the financial stability of both organizations and personal investors. If you are interested in working with numbers and financial data to help businesses and individuals make sound decisions about their money, then becoming a financial analyst may be the career for you. Not only does the job have long-term employment prospects, but it also provides steady opportunities for career advancement and salary increases. If you have been wondering what is a financial analyst, how much does a financial analyst make, and what does a financial analyst do, then we have answers for you!
What is a Financial Analyst?
Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make critical financial decisions. This is usually done by assessing the financial health of the business through its performance of stocks, bonds, and other investments. Financial analysts may also help develop investment portfolios. They study economic and business trends, evaluate current and historical financial data, perform financial forecasting, conduct performance analysis/reporting, and examine a company’s financial statements. If you are considering getting a job as a financial analyst, then you should learn how to analyze data and create financial models to help make informed business decisions that generate the highest profit.
What Does a Financial Analyst Do?
Financial analysts generally focus on economic trends, and understand how targeted trends, regulations, policies, and political environments affect investments and business transactions.
Specific financial analyst duties vary depending on the company, which makes this role highly flexible. Analysts may work for banks, financial planning institutions, insurance companies, government regulatory firms, or portfolio management providers. They may also be hired by companies to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing strategies relative to profit and loss or to analyze data surrounding major corporate decisions such as those involving real estate or mergers. They frequently prepare financial models to identify future economic conditions.
There are professional skills that employers look for in a financial analyst job candidate. For example, the economics major may have a natural tendency towards analysis and organization, and a demonstrated ability to think critically and make logical business judgments to build trust. Another important skill to have is effective time management, as you will likely work on multiple projects at the same time and may work long hours.
Communicating well with multiple levels of an organization and with a diverse clientele is also critical, whether it is generating corporate reports, making presentations, writing effective emails, or communicating face-to-face and on the phone. Most economics majors will have gained experience researching their degree pursuit; however, honing your research skills to investigate information and draw conclusions will be key as a successful financial analyst.
How to Become a Financial Analyst
Interestingly, no career-wide educational standards exist for becoming a financial analyst. That being said, today’s competitive market will likely leave behind anyone without a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, statistics, accounting, or math. Ottawa University’s online degree in economics can make preparing to become a financial analyst much more convenient, even allowing you to continue gaining practical experience in a related field while completing your education on your schedule.
Built on a foundation of critical thinking, OU’s online degree in economics leaves the economics major particularly well-positioned to move into a financial analyst role due to training in macroeconomics, microeconomics, business operations accounting, business statistics, and business ethics. By adding a concentration in finance, the economics major goes deeper, with immersion in different financial models and strategies, capital management, international finance, money and banking, investment finance, spatial and entrepreneurial economics, real estate finance, behavioral finance, and investment theory. Many students who wish to advance their career in Finance often pursue an MBA with a concentration in finance.
How Much Does a Financial Analyst Make?
The average salary for a financial analyst average salary for financial analysts was $83,660 in May 2020. Experience, education, and added credentials are the path to that can rise upwards of $165,000 for the top 10%. The job growth rate is expected to be 5% through 2029, which is faster than average. A bachelor’s degree in economics, or a related major, is the minimum requirement for entering a career as a financial analyst. However, a master’s degree is often required for more advanced positions.
Fortunately, there is a wide-open opportunity for advancement within the field for anyone wanting to put in the work, get the education, and earn the licenses required to move up. Whether graduates gain their first experience working in accounting, investment, or banking, they can determine exactly what area of the industry they want to specialize in and begin working towards obtaining the required licenses or certifications. Read further about the lucrative salaries in finance.
Financial Analyst Certifications
Professional finance certifications not only increase earning power but also boost an analyst’s reputation as an expert in financial analysis. Some of the most recognized include:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
- Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)
Start a Career as a Financial Analyst
If you’re ready to achieve your career goal of becoming a financial analyst, do your research. Not all online economics degrees are created equal. The unique nature of Ottawa University’s accelerated online degrees, a generous credit transfer policy, 8-week terms, accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, and the quality of instruction are just a few of the reasons why we are the best, fastest, and most affordable option in the Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix areas, as well for online students across the country.
To learn more about these programs, contact us today!
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