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What skills do you need to become a Financial Analyst?

Written by: ICAEW Jobs
Published on: 11 Jul 2023

Financial Analyst

Financial analysis combines two disciplines (finance and data analysis) to help businesses generate revenue, as well as analysing the financial performance of a company. 

A large part of working in this role involves evaluating investments, projects, transactions and businesses to find out if assets or business entities are profitable, liquidable and stable in the future. 

This guide explores what skills do you need to become a financial analyst.

What are the technical skills required for a Financial Analyst? 

If you are a qualified accountant, looking to become a financial analyst, you’ll need to be open to learning new technologies and programming languages. 

SQL is a useful programming language to learn, as you can build more advanced databases for storing financial data for clients or organisations. Python is another language worth having in your skillset as you can do so much with it, particularly in terms of processing and analysing large datasets due to the various libraries you can use.

SAS and R programming and an understanding of Tableau and Power BI softrware are also good technical skills to have for financial analysts, particularly when it comes to analysing and visualising financial data for clients and organisations.

Knowledge of financial modelling

Having knowledge of financial modelling is a key skill for finance and accounting professionals. Testing hypotheses by creating models that can be easily explained to stakeholders and clients is key for a financial analyst.

It’s important that the models you build are not only easy to understand, but can also be used in an organisation’s decision-making process. As you will spend a lot of time working with large datasets, you’ll be analysing the data to create various business models for an organisation’s financial statement or return on investment analysis. 

You’ll need to rigorously test your financial models while making any necessary adjustments to ensure the results you get are reliable and accurate. By keeping a log of your data sources, as well as your assumptions, you can then tweak it to ensure that you have a solid financial model in place.

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Have good strategic and leadership skills

Approaching situations in an analytical way, as well as leading finance departments or teams is key for any financial analyst working within an organisation. Being able to assess situations in a logical way will not only help you, but your fellow colleagues, particularly when it comes to dealing with difficult scenarios. 

Be an excellent communicator

For any financial analyst, having excellent communication skills is a prerequisite. As part of the role, you will spend a lot of time speaking with stakeholders, investors, company representatives and clients. 

Therefore, you need to be able to communicate those insights and information to others and assist them with how they can be used. Alongside that, you also need to be able to persuade or influence prospective clients or investors who want to work with your company.

Secure your dream Financial Analyst job with ICAEW Jobs

Mastering a number of different technical and soft skills is crucial to becoming a successful financial analyst.

If you’ve spent years working as a qualified accounting or finance professional and are looking to make the transition to becoming a financial analyst, there are a few things that you need to do. Upskilling, as well as identifying what types of organisations you would like to work in is essential.

Applying for your next position? ICAEW Jobs can help put you one step closer to getting your dream job. Find out more about the latest job listings and careers advice on the ICAEW Jobs website.