Becoming a financial analyst may be a potential career path for anyone with a business mind, a big-picture vision, and good communication abilities. Financial analysts can operate in various businesses, examining economic patterns, making projections, and advising on investments and other financial matters.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the job market of Financial Analysts is expected to grow 9% between 2021-2031, faster than the average projected growth of other occupations. A career in financial analysis, thus, can be both profitable and gratifying in the current job market.
If you are wondering how to become a Financial Analyst, this article is the right place to start. Read on to learn the steps in detail.
A step-by-step guide to becoming a Financial Analyst
People with strong analytical minds, attention to detail, mathematical and software knowledge and enthusiasm for finance are perfect for this job role.
Here is a non-exhaustive guide on how to become a Financial Analyst.
Step 1: Get the relevant bachelor’s degree
Earning a degree in finance, economics, statistics, accounting, or any other related field is the first step to carving a future as a Financial Analyst. While general courses are the usual choice, pursuing a targeted degree or enrolling in a programme in financial analysis from a reputed institute can also be beneficial.
Step 2: Acquire relevant work experience
It is critical to have appropriate work experience in the sector or related areas like finance, accounting, business and economics after receiving a bachelor's degree. A hands-on experience can give an edge to your CV in gaining attention from top recruiters.
Many financial analysts begin as financial analysts, data analysts, or junior analysts and work gradually up to higher-level positions. Many analysts advance to management or supervisory positions after several years of expertise.
Step 3: Develop analytical and technical skills
Financial analysts should have analytical minds and be detail-oriented in their research. They need strong math skills and computer literacy, as analysts use software to analyse financial data and create reports. They must also have excellent communication skills to explain financial data to non-financial stakeholders.
Step 4: Obtain the necessary certification
Professional certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential or the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) accreditation can bolster a financial analyst's career and increase their earning potential significantly. These qualifications, however, necessitate passing tough exams and gaining relevant work experience.
Step 5: Customise your resume and cover letter
When applying for financial analyst positions, ensure your CV and cover letter are tailored to the job criteria. Draw attention to your relevant education, professional experience, and technical skills, and demonstrate how your expertise can be a valuable addition to the organisation. There are plenty of online resources available to assist you in designing a powerful resume that will help you ace interviews.
Financial Analyst salaries and demand
The market demand for Financial Analysts has been gaining momentum over the years. Their skills make them highly sought-after in various industries. Rapid globalisation is another contributing factor to their rising demand.
Businesses require the services of a Financial Analyst to filter huge amounts of information to give appropriate recommendations. A financial analysis professional needs to have sound knowledge of geo-political situations, industries, and economic and global trends.
A lucrative career with satisfying earning potential, the starting annual salary of a Financial Analyst in India is about ₹2.1 lakh which can go up to ₹12 lakh as one progresses up the ladder. The average annual salary stands at around ₹4 lakh. This can go up as you gain experience and expand your career.
Must-have skills of a Financial Analyst
Apart from educational qualifications and work experience, a financial analysis professional must also master certain soft skills. Since analysts must collaborate with financial departments, among others, having the necessary people skills is a must. This will ensure that they can communicate their analysis and recommendations effectively.
Some of the soft skills a Financial Analyst must have are:
- Critical thinking - Making the best use of their faculties during times of financial distress to give unique and effective ideas and solve problems.
- Research - Conduct detailed research into industry trends and markets to draw conclusions.
- Analysis - Evaluate systems and structures to assess where and how they can be improved.
- Communication - Capacity to exchange information and ideas with others in a clear and concise manner.
The financial analysis field is highly competitive. Apart from requiring a combination of educational qualifications, skills and experience, a Financial Analyst must have problem-solving skills and the ability to perform well under pressure. If you tick all the right boxes, this is the career for you.
Imarticus’ Financial Analysis Prodegree, in collaboration with KPMG, can help you achieve your ambition. This programme in financial analysis is well-suited for candidates looking to build a career in investment banking, corporate finance and private equity.
Visit their website for more course-related details.