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Financial Analyst job description

Written by: ICAEW
Published on: 9 Mar 2021

man and woman discussing charts

Pic: Nataliya Vaitkevich, Pexels

Being a finance analyst is an important role within a business, but what is the role and what are they expected to do in it? ICAEW delves deeper in this financial Analyst guide. 

What is a Financial Analyst? 

A financial Analyst is a vital and senior role in the accounting or finance department of a business. Usually reporting to senior management, the financial analyst has responsibility of providing financial analysis and reporting. These reports are used to make business, industry and sector recommendations and also aid with the long term financial planning of a business. 

What does a Financial Analyst do? 

A financial analyst is responsible for financial reporting within a business. To do this they will research microeconomic and macroeconomic conditions along with company information, analyse the data and form reports. These reports can then be used to make strategic business recommendations, forecasts and projections, generate excel models or be presented to senior management. 

A Financial Analyst will also be able to determine a company's performance by establishing financial benchmarks. They will compare historical performance to present data and current results in order to forecast future performance and identify any areas of weakness that can be improved upon. 

They will also create models using competitor and industry analysis information. These models can be used to illustrate impacts on the business from certain industry trends or market movements. 

What does a Senior Financial Analyst do? 

Senior financial analysts are responsible for a wide range of activities. This includes budgeting, forecasting through the review of historic reports, constructing financial models, financial planning, carrying out research and analysis of current economic climates, preparing and reviewing reports, and assisting with close processes. 

Key Financial Analyst responsibilities 

There are many different roles a financial analyst will undertake, some of these being: 

  • Analysing financial data and performing financial forecasting - Reported to senior management to aid strategic decision making. 

  • Support planning and forecasting by creating financial models. 

  • Providing analysis of trends and forecasts and recommending actions to improve business performance. 

  • Evaluating financial performance by analysing historic data and comparing it to current results and industry trends to come up with recommendations for improvement. 

  • Performing market research, extracting data and industry information. 

  • Ensuring you have correct and up to date knowledge of financial practices, trends and market conditions. 

  • Creating generic and ad hoc reports. 

  • Liaising with the accounting team to ensure accurate financial reporting. 

Skills required for the job 

Financial Analysts are expected to have incredible analytical, numerical and modelling skills and must be able to work to tight deadlines. An FA should have strong personal and communication skills alongside confident leadership and management skills as they progress in their career. They should also show a strong business acumen, and the ability to influence people at all levels. 

How do you become a Financial Analyst? 

As a minimum, to become a financial analyst you’ll need a finance-related bachelor's degree. Aside from finance, this can be from economics, statistics or accounting. An MBA (Master's of Business Administration) or a master’s degree in finance would also help to broaden the range of opportunities available to you

Career opportunities for a Financial Analyst 

A finance analyst is a key role in any business. As a finance analyst, you may choose to work in the securities industry analysing stocks, bonds and other securities for banks, money management firms or brokerages. You may however choose to work internally for an organisation and work to analyse financial data from the business, create predictions for revenue and expenditure, set budgets and suggest recommendations to senior management. 

In terms of progression, when a senior level is reached you can often move into a supervisory role. In the securities industry, this would mean progressing to become a portfolio manager or a funds manager. In the corporate sector, finance analysts can become treasury managers and work supervising others in the department. A hard working analyst could also rise through the ranks to become a chief financial officer or a chief investment officer and be responsible for all of the company's financial activity. 

How much does a Financial Analyst make? 

The average salary for a financial analyst in the UK is £39,254. Entry level financial analysts could earn in the region of £25,818, while senior roles can pay as much as £78,314 on average. This will vary greatly depending on location, level of experience and skill set. 

What skills should a Financial Analyst possess? 

Financial analysts are expected to have incredible analytical, numerical and modelling skills and must be able to work to tight deadlines. An FA should have strong personal and communication skills alongside confident leadership and management skills as they progress in their career. They should also show a strong business acumen and the ability to influence people at all levels. 

There are high-level competencies required for the financial analyst role: 

Advisory and consultancy 

  • Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates. 

  • Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage. 

  • Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems. 

  •  Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans. 

Corporate and business reporting 

  • Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology. 

  • Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities. 

  • Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies. 

  • Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks. 

Data, digital and technology 

  • Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology. 

  •  Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools. 

  •  Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively. 

  •  Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology. 

Financial management 

  • Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation. 

  • Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques. 

  • Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance. 

  • Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics. 

  • Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact. 

Management accounting 

  • Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation. 

  •  Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators. 

  • Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management. 

  • Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance. 

Strategy and innovation 

  • Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives. 

  • Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives. 

  • Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options. 

  • Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change. 

If you’re looking for a new role, ICAEW Jobs have the latest financial analyst jobs which you can apply for online. New roles are posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear. 

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