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Financial Analyst Career

Considering a career as a Financial Analyst? Find out all you need to know to decide whether this career is right for you.

What does a Financial Analyst do?

The role of a Financial Analyst is to conduct studies, evaluate data and present conclusive information that aids in making sound financial decisions. This job can vary significantly depending on which industry the Financial Analyst is involved and how much experience the Financial Analyst has acquired.

In the private business sector, Financial Analysts will review the costs associated with running a business and will perform cost benefit analysis of programs under scrutiny. Data will be accumulated and based on the Financial Analyst's knowledge of the industry, any laws or regulations, staffing costs, etc. decisions will be made to create more profit for the organization.

In the banking or investment industries, Financial Analysts may carry the title Securities Analyst. In this industry, a Financial Analyst will only be valuable after he/she understands the money market through and through. These Financial Analysts have very high salaries, but they also need the highest of credentials, either a Masters or MBA in Finance or Accounting or a PhD in Finance.

As a Financial Analyst, you will need to be familiar with all facets of how your industry's economy works. You will need to know all laws, legislature and regulations that effect the way your hiring organization(s) do business. You will also need to have a strong understanding of the money market whether you are involved with helping your organization invest in stocks or invest in personnel for future projects. Understanding the money market means understanding the valuation of businesses at all levels.

For basic skills, you will need to have strong observation and analytical skills. You will need to have strong personal skills when working with many different types of business people. You will also need very strong sales skills. Financial Analysts often present extremely complex financial evaluations to individuals who know very little about the intricacies of finance. You will be charged with the job of convincing business people to make large financial decisions that are based on concepts they do not fully understand.

How to Become a Financial Analyst?

Educational requirements may vary slightly depending on the company, the area you wish to work and your previous work experience.

For most Financial Analyst careers, the minimum educational requirement is the completion of a Bachelor's degree. However, many organizations require job candidates to have a Master's or MBA degree.

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Beyond a quality education and the development of skills necessary to succeed as a Financial Analyst, you will need to learn where to gain experience by finding career opportunities.

You will find some career opportunities on Financial Analyst Career portals such as The CFA Institute. Unfortunately, you have to become a member to take advantage of the CFAI's career resources. In addition, you will probably have quicker results if you contact a local recruiter or begin contacting hiring firms directly. You may find Financial Analyst openings under newspaper or online classifieds (Craigslist or Monster.com).

What is a Financial Analyst's Salary?

As a Financial Analyst, your salary can vary significantly depending on your level of experience, your level of acquired education and size of the company you work for.

The median salary* for a Financial Analyst is $66,600.

The top 10% of Financial Analysts are pulling in an average of $130,100.

In order to boost yourself to this level of success, you will need to perform highly, develop years of experience at a respectable company and lastly, earn yourself an advanced degree.

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* Source: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2006

How does the future look for a Financial Analyst?

The projected job growth for the Financial Analyst career is expected to grow at a faster than average pace. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics believes from 2004 to 2014, the Financial Analyst title will grow in popularity by 17% from 196,800 to 230,900.

This forecast of strong growth can be mostly contributed to the increasing complexity of modern business. With the pressure of keeping pace with new technology and the fight to maintain healthy margins in a global economy, businesses and investment firms need every inch of financial expertise they can get.

The future looks bright for the Financial Analyst profession, so go ahead and get started!

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