What is a financial analyst?

Financial analysts are responsible for financial planning, analysis and projection for companies and corporations. They forecast future revenues and expenditures to establish cost structures and determine capital budgeting for projects. Senior-level financial analysts work with CFOs and other executive-level team members to set company-wide investment direction and policies.

Here at Parker + Lynch, we know how valuable financial analysts can be, and we help them put their value to work at some of the best companies in the country. We have full-time, part-time and contract positions available for experienced and aspiring financial analysts, so explore our current financial analyst jobs and apply today.

A Financial Analysts' Job Requirements

Financial analysts leverage strong accounting and compliance backgrounds to explore historical financial data, predict future results and drive process and policy improvements. Day-to-day responsibilities for financial analysts include:

  • Analyzing current and past financial data and performance
  • Preparing reports and projections based on this analysis
  • Evaluating current capital expenditures and depreciation
  • Exploring investment opportunities
  • Establishing and evaluating profit plans
  • Identifying trends in financial performance and providing recommendations for improvement
  • Coordinating with other members of the finance team to review financial information and forecasts
  • Providing financial models and forecasting

Related jobs: Senior financial analyst, financial analysis manager, financial reporting manager, investment analyst

Financial analysts and technology

Technology plays a huge part in the lives and careers of financial analysts today, and those looking to advance in the field should gain expertise in these tools, systems and platforms as soon as possible.

One of the most common requirements for financial analysts is an understanding of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Another technical skill that can set you apart in your job search is in-depth knowledge of big data and data analytical systems, as companies are stressing the importance of data-driven decisions over intuition-driven decisions.

Essential items for a financial analysts' skills set

When we seek to align our clients with financial analysts, we look for professionals with these traits:

  • Expert-level analytical and financial modeling skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Great presentation skills
  • Ability to influence and persuade
  • Knowledge of ERP systems and related technologies
  • Strong understanding of Sarbanes-Oxley
  • Excellent time management and organizational ability
  • Ability to multitask and meet constant deadlines
  • Willingness to work long hours, when necessary

Financial analyst salary and employment outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for financial analysts is tremendously positive. The field is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average for all other careers.

This growth is reflected in our own nationwide hiring and salary data, and we have identified financial analysts as one of the most in-demand job titles in accounting and finance. This is true at all levels, from entry to senior, with companies bulking up on their accounting and finance workforces for the first time since the end of the recession. In addition, U.S. News and World Report lists financial analysts as one of the 100 Best Jobs (63) and Best Business Jobs (13) in the country.

Required education for financial analysts

At a minimum, financial analysts are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, statistics, economics, business administration or another related field. A master’s degree is often required for more advanced positions.

Some employers prefer candidates with specific certifications, such as Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) credentialing.

Common financial analyst interview questions

Here are some questions you should expect to hear in an interview room, so prepare in advance:

  • What tools and software programs have you utilized in your career?
  • When would you conduct a ratio analysis?
  • When it comes to profitability models, which do you find most accurate? Inaccurate?
  • Can you walk me through how you create your reports and recommendations?
  • Can you tell me about a decision you got wrong, the outcome and your response?
  • Could you describe a situation in which you had to use your analytical skills?
  • Have you worked with ERP systems in the past?

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