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Skills Required for a Financial Analyst

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37 answers

Nikki’s Answer

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Here is a short list of skills that I found to be very valuable as a Financial Analyst:


Technical skills:
Being very comfortable with large amounts of data and having the ability to look at data in various angles, slicing/dicing, summarizing
Building a model that takes inputs, performs calculations and provides an output
SQL is very helpful (but not required)

Soft skills:
Analyzing data to identify historical trends
Ability to explain why trends are moving in a certain direction
Ability to provide recommendations based on analysis performed
Communicating analysis and recommendations to a target audience
Being curious about what drives growth/decline in your industry
Working with a team and aligning on common goals

Tools used in the job:
Excel for analysis, modeling and visualizing/presenting data
Powerpoint for presentations
Tools for pulling data (Essbase, SQL editors, Cognos, etc)


Thank you! Would you mind telling me how I can develop the soft skills you mentioned? Teresa C. Translate
It does take some time to build on the soft skills I mentioned, but one way you can start developing good analytical skills is by putting some effort in working with data in your school projects. For example, if you are provided with a data set for a case analysis, spend some time summarizing the data in various ways and create a chart to trend the data over time. If there is an industry that you are interested in, challenge yourself to understand what drives sales for certain products in that industry. Hope this helps and good luck! Nikki Aquino Translate
Your advice is useful! Thank you so much! Teresa C. Translate
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John’s Answer

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While there are basic financial analyst skills, successful financial analysts possess essential qualities that put them ahead of the pack. If you want to provide value to your company and to excel in your career, you should strive to develop these unique abilities.

1.) EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP – Those who succeed in financial analysis are those who are self-driven and who can motivate others to move forward. Leadership is the foundation on which effective communication, teamwork, project management and other daily tasks are built upon. Including your leadership experience in your resume may give you an edge over many other candidates. Leaders have the ability to transform.

2.) ANALYST EXPERIENCE – To be a good analyst, you will need to learn how to use the tools in spreadsheets and databases. These tools will assist you to combine disparate data, tackle problems and make presentations to the management. It is also important for you to know the style and preferences of your employer. Different managers will prefer different modes of data representation.

3.) TECHNOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE – There have been many technological advancements in business, and the financial services industry has not been spared. These developments have played a huge role in streamlining processes in this industry. This skill is increasingly becoming a necessity for all candidates. If you can acquire more than the minimum tech knowledge required, you will have an added advantage.

4.) INFORMATION IS KING – A good analyst will still be able to come up with valid conclusions even when they don’t have all the information. You should be able to have an educated gut feeling that tells you whether some information is relevant or not. It is being able to identify instances where continuing with the analysis will not help the process. It is the reason why most accountants and programmers may have a hard time becoming financial analysts; they are so hung up on order and numbers.

5.) CONFIDENT DECISION MAKING – As an analyst, you must understand the risks and consequences that would result from any decision you make. Most of the decisions you make will have a great impact on the company. This impact can be positive or negative. You should do proper research to ensure you have all the relevant information beforehand. It will make sure that the decision you make is the best for the firm or client.

Due to increased global competition and rapid changes in the industry, companies need to have stronger analytical abilities and to make better predictions to improve their financial results. Good analysts will be required to take up this responsibility. It is no wonder that it is one of the jobs with the highest starting salary. The competition will be high no doubt. You can stand out by acquiring the necessary financial analyst skills.

Hope this was helpful Teresa

John recommends the following next steps:

  • Accounting Skills – Including knowledge of standards and techniques, as well as calculating budgets, cost analysis.
  • Communication Skills – Financial analysts should also possess communication skills, as these skills can directly influence working relationships.
  • Problem-Solving Skills – Financial analyst need to have the ability to come up with creative solutions to financial issues should they arise.
  • Financial Literacy Skills –Financial analyst need to have the ability to decipher current investment markets and interest rates.
  • Analytical Skills – Financial analyst need to have the ability to forecast, prioritize, and recognize financial problems.
Thank you! Your advice is really helpful! I even have not thought of some of the you mentioned. Regarding the fourth ability, may I ask how should I develop it? Teresa C. Translate
“You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Being able to a draw your conclusions even when the spreadsheet and database information is measurable, don't get fixated on individual details, or "trees," that he completely loses sight of the overall issue, or "the forest." John Frick Translate
Understood! Thank you so much! Teresa C. Translate
Hi Teresa, I added some additional required Financial Analyst Skills under next steps. Hold fast to dreams. John Frick Translate
Thank you so much, John! I hope I can achieve my career goals soon! Teresa C. Translate
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Sabrina’s Answer

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Use of excel functions (Example-vlookup,pivot tables), financial ratios (inventory turnover, internal rate of return, quick ratio, etc.) Presentation skills
Thank you! Teresa C. Translate
Great answer Sabrina. I really like this one. I majored in accounting and started my career as an accountant. I took the college courses related to Microsoft Excel and databases (using MS Access) to learn these tools. You want to learn these tools to be a financial analyst - Excel is necessary. Knowing how to develop and use Access and other databases is good - but in my opinion, knowing how to use Excel is key. Joel Sung Translate
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Jack’s Answer

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When I interview people for a business analyst position, here's what I tell them...
A beginning analyst makes a report for me and says "Here's the report you asked for."
A better analyst makes a report for me and says "Here's the report you asked for, take a look at the unusual stuff here and here."
The great analyst makes a report for me and says "Here's the report you asked for. I found unusual stuff here and here. The first one is a typo. I talked to the people that feed us the data and they'll have it fixed for next week's report. The second one might be a change in customer behavior that will affect our business, here's what I recommend we do next."

In summary, gather data, look for patterns and anomalies, and make recommendations. Very few people can do this when they start a job, but I think it's good to aim for.
Thank you. Do you have any advice for penultimate year students to land a financial analyst internship? Teresa C. Translate
Penultimate year in high-school or college? Jack K. Translate
Penultimate year in college Teresa C. Translate
I completely agree with Justina's comment about internships. My company sends out campus recruiters every fall, so look for events like that at your school or other schools in the area. The recruiters are looking for both employees and interns. If there's a campus career center, they should have a schedule of job fairs. You should certainly also ask your favorite professors about opportunities. Some of my professors had consulting jobs during the summer, so they were connected with local businesses. Check out the websites of large employers in your area and see if you can find contact info for the recruiting department. Finally, don't forget about professional organizations like the CFA Institute (CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst). Jack K. Translate
So I guess it also depends on business networks, right? Do you think LinkedIn is helpful in that? Teresa C. Translate
It can be helpful, but it isn't magic. Speaking personally, if a friend of a friend reaches out to me, I'll ask my friend for an opinion. But that doesn't work for a friend of a friend of a friend. The more links in a connection, the weaker it is. It looks like you follow up with everyone who answers your question, so you've got networking skills. It wouldn't hurt to ask your contacts to send an intro email to someone they know. Then you can ask to set up a quick (15-30 min) chat to learn more about their company and what they do - an informational interview. If things go well you can ask them about anybody else you can talk to. As long as you're polite and don't spam anyone, the worst that can happen is somebody says no, in which case you're no worse off. Jack K. Translate
Thanks for your advice! They are really helpful. I guess I could start building up my Linkedin profile first. Teresa C. Translate
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Ryan’s Answer

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Hello,

The first skill that comes to mind is to be inquisitive and as curious as possible. Never being afraid to ask questions. Seek background on how things work, how decisions are made, and why.

Additionally, being willing and excited to learn new things. Let's not forget about expecting change to occur early and often, if you are able to adapt, you'll set yourself up for success. I can tell you that analysts are needed in so many types of businesses. You will find a lot of analysts that may not have started in that field, but their interests ended up guiding them to where their skills and interests fit best.

The technical skills - Learn as much about excel, R, SAS etc, as possible, take advanced courses (classroom and online).

Learn Powerpoint, Tableau, and other software as you will need to present your findings and recommendations to your audience.

A good start would be to look through the courses offered at your local community college, then Google to learn more about what they do and how they are used.

Best of luck to you. I trust you will do well.


Thank you. Could you tell me more about the personalities of financial analysts? Teresa C. Translate
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Bailey’s Answer

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Analytical Skills, Computer Skills, Detail Oriented, Interpersonal skills, just to name a few!
Thank you! Teresa C. Translate
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Rob’s Answer

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Build your technical skills in how to query a database and working in excel. Pivot table skills are very good for data visualization and useful for financial analysis. Gaining experience through internships and learning by doing will also help you.
Thank you so much! Teresa C. Translate
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Geetha’s Answer

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successful career as a financial analyst requires strong quantitative skills, expert problem-solving ability, adeptness in the use of logic and above-average communication skills. Excellent analytical skills, Data analysis using different tools and knowledge of different database. Knowledge of various financial analysis software.
Thank you! Teresa C. Translate
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Jason’s Answer

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Being an analytical thinker with a keen sense on market movement and trends. Technical skills are also good to have. Accounting skills are needed in order to break down financial reports Good communication within your organization and with clients is also a definite must.
Thanks! May I ask how did you develop your market acumen? Teresa C. Translate
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ash’s Answer

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I would pay special emphasis to soft skills i.e. communication/presentations. A good analyst not just being able to dive into the numbers but able to articulate the information to management. I would recommend that participate in discussion forum, attend communication training/classes to hone in this skills.

In terms of technology, Excel still leads the market as a must have skill. Apart from that, look for tools currently in market demand. Tableau, Altreyx, Python are some that picking up demand so should focus on gaining some knowledge in tools as such.
I see! Thanks! In terms of effective communication, verbal or written one is more important? Teresa C. Translate
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Robert’s Answer

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You need 1) Strong Analytical Skills. They are essential skills for every financial analyst.
2) Numeracy Skills such as: understanding relationships between numbers, visual perception of information, interpreting mathematical information, understanding trends, calculation skills, working with graphical information, measurement, data analysis and more.
3) Ability to interpret financial, statistical and operational data.
Thank you. May I ask what is a day in financial analysts is like? Teresa C. Translate
A Day in the Life of a Financial Analyst is to gather information, assemble spreadsheets, write reports, and review all non-legal pertinent information about prospective deals. Financial Analyst examine the feasibility of a deal and prepare a plan of action based on financial analysis. Robert Gohary Translate
May I also ask how financial analyst is an exciting career to you? Teresa C. Translate
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Erin’s Answer

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Definitely in the last few years, there has been a lot more focus on data and big data. So Excel skills, and even other databases (Access, SQL) are really helpful. I would try to get exposure to using Excel and especially complex formulas including pivot tables, they are used a ton in Finance.
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Kristyn’s Answer

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Hello! To prepare yourself for a role as a financial analyst, you may want to consider acquiring or honing the following skills:

1. Data analysis - Understanding how to compare/contrast sets of financial data, validate the data and perform trend analysis

2. Technology familiarity e.g. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Tableau Prep, Tableau

3. Written and verbal storytelling so that you will understand how to crisply communicate your findings, the impact of those findings and your recommendations to the individuals requesting the financial analysis.

4. Communication skills so that you can learn how to ask the right questions so that you can get context behind any changes in the numbers from one time period to the next. Also, these skills will help you frame the questions in a way your audience understands and is willing to help.

5. Statistics - So you can use basic concepts like descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode) progressing to more advanced concepts, as needed for analysis and forecasting

6. Foundational Business Understanding obtained through Economics, Accounting, Marketing, Business Mgt, Entrepreneurship classes so that you understand what is needed to run a successful business and how those things impact/connect to financial performance/financial data.
Thank you! May I ask how challenging is this job? Teresa C. Translate
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Pat’s Answer

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Hello,
The roles of a Financial Analyst change form company to company. Some skills I found helpful in my journey as a Financial Analyst are the following.
Soft Skills:
1. Organization
2. Responsiveness
3. Coachability/ Ability to learn
4. Teamwork
5. Punctuality
6. Public speaking
Technical Skills:
1. Excel/ Microsoft programs
2. Synthesize large data sets
3. Basic understanding of Finance
5. Forecasting / Understanding number trends

There are many more, but these are some of the main ones. I hope this helps!
Thanks. May I ask what kinds of companies need financial analysts the most? Teresa C. Translate
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Adriana’s Answer

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Hi Teresa,

The first skill you need is that you like it because if you like it, it will be easier to develop yourself as a financial analyst. You must know the financial statements, do analysis on them so you can give comments to the business and recommendations. I consider it is important that you master Excel, power point, a sense of leadership, curiosity, but above of all, your security and commitment to always want more.
Thanks! I am trying to explore more aspects of this position to see if I am really interested in it. Teresa C. Translate
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Blanca’s Answer

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1. Management Skills. Managing a team can be quite tiresome, especially for financial analysts. But with management skills, financial analysts can do well if they eventually find themselves in a leadership role in the future. Most employers look for these skills when they want to hire a good financial analyst for a new position.

2. Interpersonal Skills. Interpersonal skills help financial analysts to build and maintain very successful relationships with customers, and this is capable of creating a room for excellence. As you meet different people everyday, your interaction with each of them matters. It could invite or scare away a customer.

3. Communication Skills. Possession of excellent communication skills is very essential for financial analysts to defend their analyses and recommendations. Your communication skills must be both oral and written, and should enable you to explain financial jargon in simple terms. The success of every financial analyst depends on his or her ability to communicate effectively with clients and make successful deals.

4. Math Skills. It is so expedient for financial analysts to include differential equations and stochastic calculus in their courses. This helps them in acquiring the knowledge required to use mathematics to solve problems. In order to always get accurate results, it is good for financial analysts to apply calculations and measurements to their daily job routines.

5. Active Listening Skills. To be best on the job, financial analysts should give full attention to what other people have to say. This will help them to first of all understand the points before asking any questions to avoid inappropriate interruptions. Interrupting clients and co-workers at wrong times will make others to see you as unprofessional in your job.

6. Independence. The financial analysis career requires that those involved should be able to develop their own ways of doing things. They should guide themselves with little or no supervision, and depend on themselves to get things done.

7. Critical Thinking Skills. Financial analysts should be able to evaluate multiple options before they can assist the team to find a solution. Critical thinking skills should involve using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses needed for discovering alternative solutions to problems.

8. Financial Knowledge. It is quite helpful for financial analysts to know accounting principles and investment terms in order to understand income statements, balance sheets, and other financial documents of companies they follow.

9. Computer Skills. According to the BLS, financial analysts need a great deal of computer skills in database programs, statistics, and spreadsheet software. These skills can grant them access to large financial data sets, ability to transform data into useful information to bring to notice the investment decisions of individuals, companies, and other organizations.

10. Economic Foresight. Financial analysts should be able to understand the economic nature of the companies they work for, just as they spend enough time studying the financial documents too. They ought to keep their ears open for latest news in the global economy.

11. Learning Strategies. The strategies by which financial analysts learn or teach new things matter a lot in this profession. They should try to select and use training and instructional methods and procedures suitable for the purpose. There are some materials that may be less profitable in learning but more in teaching. Therefore, they must apply the right strategies at the appropriate time.

12. Data Analytical Skills. There are online training and certification programs organized for those interested in acquiring data analytical skills. This creates the urge to go for analytics or informatics projects available at the company where you work as a financial analyst.

13. Detail Oriented. When financial analysts want to review investments, it is necessary that they pay attention to details. Little issues may have strong implications on how sound an investment is. Being detail oriented helps financial analysts to get the best results and gives them the ability to avoid making unnecessary errors.

14. Problem Solving Skills. There are some problems that can be too complicated that they require problem-solving skills to tackle. Financial analysts should be able to identify such complex problems, and review related information to enable exploration and implementation of solutions.

15. Multitasking Skills. With multitasking skills, financial analysts can work on several companies’ data at a time, providing the best accuracy that the work entails. They will be able to fully understand and handle the analyses and the investments of the company they provide services for.
Thank you! Your reply is really comprehensive. May I know which are the top three essential skills among all? Teresa C. Translate
Thank you! Which three skills do you think are the most important? Teresa C. Translate
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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

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A financial Analyst should be very good in numbers and have good analytical skill. Good hand in Microsofy Excel, Power BI, Dashboard preparation. It will be extra advantage the person have the technicality to automate worksheet with the help of VBA
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Aakriti’s Answer

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A good financial analyst needs to be exceptional with numbers and have good analytical skills. Along with that, having good technical skills always helps. Make Microsoft Excel your best friend as most of your time will be spent analyzing numbers using this tool. It is also very important for an analyst to be able to present their numbers well, hence Microsoft Powerpoint is another tool you would want to master. Attention to detail, multitasking, good communication skills, being a team player and inclined towards problem solving are all the other good-to-have skills that will help you stand out. Good luck and hope this helps!
Thank you. I wish I can develop these skills during my internship. Teresa C. Translate
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Johanna’s Answer

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I think you need to be comfortable with business partnering. In my experience as a financial analyst I have supported people in a number of backgrounds - sales, engineering, clinical and regulatory, and marketing. Communication has been really important to make sure I have a good business partnering relationship with the people I support. You need to make sure you can explain the finance implications of decisions that they need to make in a way that they understand. I also think it is important to be analytical, organized, and have a motivated personality.
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Jason’s Answer

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To be successful as a Financial Analyst or Analyst of any sort requires a willingness to dig into the details and requires you to have an intimate knowledge of the business that you’re supporting. The key to being a Financial Analyst is being able to understand the data that your working with and being able to prepare or present guidance based on that data, which in turn will help drive key business decisions. You will always want to be cognizant of your audience and present data in a way which is consumable to different levels of management, from peers to CEO’s. Being proficient in programs like excel and tableau can be key in being able to manipulate large data sets. Keep in mind that not all companies use the same financial systems and may store data in home grown tools that you would need to learn how to use on site. Being able to show trends, formulate hypothesis and drive the business through data/analytics is critical. The more proficient you are with the tools that you use, the more willing you are to ask the tough questions, and the ability to derive conclusions from the data will make you successful as analyst.
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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

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A financial Analyst should be very good in numbers and have good analytical skill. Good hand in Microsofy Excel, Power BI, Dashboard preparation. It will be extra advantage the person have the technicality to automate worksheet with the help of VBA
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Maryana’s Answer

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As a financial analyst, there are so many different things you can be doing! It also depends on the industry.

The most important skills are:

1. Excel - you have to be an expert, learn how to navigate excel without using your mouse (excel shortcuts will be super helpful in the long term!), excel formulas (V-LOOKUP, INDEX-MATCH, SUMIFS/SUMIF, COUNTIF/COUNTIFS, IF/IFS, etc)

2. Understanding of financial statements/Accounting : Understand each financial statement and how they are connected

3. Modeling - being able to build models from scratch is super valuable and you have to be comfortable working with big data
I really appreciate your advice! Can I say that using Excel is the basic skill for a financial analyst? Teresa C. Translate
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Helen’s Answer

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To be good at excel, power Bi, power query . Have strong analytics skills, ability to question everything, team worker, strong business acumen, which you can get throughout your professional career, good communication skills, be humble and kind.
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Rob’s Answer

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Build your technical skills in how to query a database and working in excel. Pivot table skills are very good for data visualization and useful for financial analysis. Gaining experience through internships and learning by doing will also help you.
Thank you! I will be taking some courses related to business analytics in the coming semester. Teresa C. Translate
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Jarenn’s Answer

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Microsoft Office skills, specifically strong skills in Excel
Effective communication skills (written & verbal)
Strong quantitative and analytical skills
Ability to succeed in a team environment
Customer-service oriented
Strong problem solving skills
Ability to adapt quickly and learn new tasks independently
Excellent organization skills
Ability to manage competing priorities
Ability to analyze and resolve issues from multiple stakeholders
Thank you! Teresa C. Translate
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Nicole’s Answer

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Some basic skills for a financial analyst is understanding financial statements. Having an accounting background/knowledge is extremely helpful with this. It's not only about being able to read the financials, it's about understanding what steps it takes to produces the statement, how to do the journal entries, how to balance everything out. That's where having some experience with accounting helps tremendously.

Once you have the basics down, learning how to analyze trends and interpret the financial results is the next step. I was always amazed when I started my career how people who were well established could look at a financial statement and know if it was a strong company or not. Now, after almost 7 years, I'm one of those people. This skill takes time to develop and you continuously have to push yourself to step out of your comfort zone to learn something new. The more financial statements and exposure to all different types of companies you can get, the better off you will be.

To build on this skill, it helps to write about the trends you see and try to explain them, which is where the hard part comes in. I like to start by talking to the business owners. Hearing their story about their business, what they do, what changes the company has made in the last few years, what they are planning moving forward. Looking at the whole picture really adds details to the numbers and helps to explain what's going on with the company.

As I said, this isn't anything that happens over night. This skill takes time to develop. But if you continue to expose yourself to new businesses and industries, and find someone to give you a bit of guidance on your analysis skills, you can be one of those people someone new looks up to.
Thank you, Nicole! I am glad that I have taken some accounting courses before. I find your suggestion useful but as an undergraduate, I am not sure if I can get the chance to meet business owners. Is there any way to train the skills you mentioned? Teresa C. Translate
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Justina’s Answer

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In addition to education, great communication and analytical skills, I would recommend investing time to learn tools that are used such as advance Excel skills, Tableau, Forecasting tools, just to name a few. Different company might use different tools to help with analyzing data. That’s why is good to know what tools are used by financial analyst for day to day activity. Also getting internship that does help learn what is expected by different companies and what skills you might need to improve or get better.
Thank you! Can you give me advice on how to land an internship if I have no prior experience? Teresa C. Translate
For internship most companies are not going to require experience, but companies create internship opportunities to help student gain that real life experience. Help students to be able to apply what they learn in school and gain new knowledge. That said, for internship I would say start with any company’s website that you’re interested. Check the career section and if the company does have any internship/volunteer they will have the opportunities listed. I also recommend asking the teachers/professor they too tend to have great resources related to career opportunities. Schools also do have career department to help students navigate different opportunities that are available in the community /companies within. Also reaching out to family and friends to share any resources. Justina Grebe Translate
Thank you. Teresa C. Translate
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Geetha’s Answer

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successful career as a financial analyst requires strong quantitative skills, expert problem-solving ability, adeptness in the use of logic and above-average communication skills. Excellent analytical skills, Data analysis using different tools and knowledge of different database. Knowledge of various financial analysis software.
Thank you! Teresa C. Translate
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Kendrick’s Answer

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The required skill set of a financial analyst can range from the ability to use sophisticated accounting software to having good communication and interpersonal skills. Financial analysts may also need a combination of unique skills to their field to perform their job duties as well as generalized skills that can be an essential part of any career path.

Financial analyst skills can include a combination of hard skills and soft skills. Generally, financial analysts need technology, software and mathematical skills in addition to analytical, problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills. When hiring a financial analyst for their firm, employers might require the following skill sets:

1. Accounting skills - Accounting skills may encompass the general knowledge you might be required to have to work effectively in finance. General accounting skills may include knowledge of accounting principles, standards and techniques, as well as calculating budgets, cost analysis and reduction, managing cash flow and a general ledger, reconciling bank statements, and basic knowledge of accounting programs and the mathematical formulas involved in these calculations.

2. Interpersonal skills - This skill set refers to a soft skill that can be generalized for most career paths, however, it can prove to be a very crucial aspect of skill development in a financial career. Financial analysts may possess interpersonal skills that aid them when interacting with colleagues and investors, when interpreting nonverbal communication cues and presenting projects as well as collaborating with teammates on analytical tasks.

3. Communication skills - Financial analysts should also possess communication skills, as these skills can directly influence interpersonal skills. Effective communication as a financial analyst can mean being direct when sending emails, leaving phone messages, speaking to an investor about important financial information and utilizing nonverbal communication to navigating professional and working relationships.

4. Problem-solving skills - Financial analysts are also problem-solvers. This can mean solving financial equations effectively or finding solutions to a company's debt problems. Similarly, the outcome of gaining investors for a company may sometimes rely on an analyst's ability to come up with creative solutions to financial issues should they arise.

5. Technical skills - Oftentimes, financial analysts use sophisticated accounting and bookkeeping software, and prior knowledge of programs like Hyperion, SAP, SQL, QuickBooks and other software programs can be highly beneficial when working in this field. Similarly, technical skills can include the ability to learn new software or applications that may be necessary for performing effectively as a financial analyst.

6. Leadership and management skills - Financial analysts may sometimes be in charge of full finance departments or teams, and leadership skills that can be effective to the job may be required by an employer. Effective team communication, professional mentoring and directing collaboration are some of the skills that many managers may possess.

7. Financial literacy skills - Another soft skill essential to a financial analyst is their ability to decipher financial situations, commonly referred to as financial literacy. Knowledge of things like the current investment market, interest rates among lenders and other financial current events can help a financial analyst better perform their duties.

8. Critical-thinking skills - Critical-thinking can relate to problem-solving, and oftentimes, the two skills can be combined. Financial analysts may need to possess excellent critical-thinking skills that ultimately can aid them when finding the best investments for their company, deciding whether to sell an asset or buy a new financial software that may help their business keep track of financial records. Essentially, to ensure success in the job, a financial analyst should be able to think through financial questions prior to making big decisions.

9. Organizational skills - This soft skill can benefit financial analysts as they may be required to keep track of financial records as well as the current processes of a business. Being able to organize records, information, numbers and financial data of an organization can be a critical skill to have.

10. Analytical skills - The ability to forecast, plan, prioritize, rank and recognize financial problems are all qualities of an effective financial analyst. Possessing these skills means that a financial analyst can gauge and solve problems utilizing strategic planning and analysis of financial resources, markets and products to help their company make sound financial decisions.
Thank you, Kendrick! Your advice is very comprehensive. May I know which skills are the most important? Teresa C. Translate
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Conor’s Answer

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I support the answers/advice already provided and don't want to duplicate, so I would offer the advice of always trying to be observant of your colleagues/superiors. This is a generic comment on purpose as it is meant to be regarding everything. A few basic examples that may help illustrate:

(1) If you notice your colleague continually asks about a particular analysis in reviews, see if you can help prep the analysis in advance
(2) If you notice that no one chews gum in a conference room meeting, follow accordingly
(3) Ask to review an analysis with your colleague together so you can get a sense of what they are specifically reviewing in the analysis and may find a new learning perspective
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K MADHAVA’s Answer

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Hello Everyone,
Below are the various skills required for a Accounting job
Accounting
Accounting Principles
Accounting Standards
Accounting Techniques
Averaging
Budgeting
Calculations
Cash Flow Management
Computer
Concentration
Cost Analysis
Cost Reduction
Data Processing
Financial Data
Financial Management
GAAP
General Ledger
Journal Entry
Mathematics
MS Excel
Profit and Loss
Quantitative Data
Reconciliations
Reconciling Balance Statements
Reporting
Sorting
Tax Filing
Tax Planning
Tax Reporting
Trial Balance
Working with Numbers
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Nicole’s Answer

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Some basic skills for a financial analyst is understanding financial statements. Having an accounting background/knowledge is extremely helpful with this. It's not only about being able to read the financials, it's about understanding what steps it takes to produces the statement, how to do the journal entries, how to balance everything out. That's where having some experience with accounting helps tremendously.

Once you have the basics down, learning how to analyze trends and interpret the financial results is the next step. I was always amazed when I started my career how people who were well established could look at a financial statement and know if it was a strong company or not. Now, after almost 7 years, I'm one of those people. This skill takes time to develop and you continuously have to push yourself to step out of your comfort zone to learn something new. The more financial statements and exposure to all different types of companies you can get, the better off you will be.

To build on this skill, it helps to write about the trends you see and try to explain them, which is where the hard part comes in. I like to start by talking to the business owners. Hearing their story about their business, what they do, what changes the company has made in the last few years, what they are planning moving forward. Looking at the whole picture really adds details to the numbers and helps to explain what's going on with the company.

As I said, this isn't anything that happens over night. This skill takes time to develop. But if you continue to expose yourself to new businesses and industries, and find someone to give you a bit of guidance on your analysis skills, you can be one of those people someone new looks up to.
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Johanna’s Answer

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I think you need to be comfortable with business partnering. In my experience as a financial analyst I have supported people in a number of backgrounds - sales, engineering, clinical and regulatory, and marketing. Communication has been really important to make sure I have a good business partnering relationship with the people I support. You need to make sure you can explain the finance implications of decisions that they need to make in a way that they understand. I also think it is important to be analytical, organized, and have a motivated personality.
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Chris’s Answer

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Hi,

I started my career as a Financial Analyst also. Below are the skills that you will need to have/pick up:

1) How to read financial statements such as Annual Report, Income statemtents, etc.
2) Budgeting
3) If you are involved in month end closing, then you will need to know Accounting as to how create accrual entries for revenue and expense
4) In Excel, you will need to know how to write formulas and perform Pivot Tables
5) Some of the tool/applications that are widely utilized by employers that many Financial analysts use are Oracle, Microsoft BI, and Tableau. It would behoove you to get the training sine they will allow you to become more marketable

Hope this helps and best of luck in your career.

Chris

Thank you, Chris! May I ask why did you quit the position? Teresa C. Translate
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Johanna’s Answer

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I think you need to be comfortable with business partnering. In my experience as a financial analyst I have supported people in a number of backgrounds - sales, engineering, clinical and regulatory, and marketing. Communication has been really important to make sure I have a good business partnering relationship with the people I support. You need to make sure you can explain the finance implications of decisions that they need to make in a way that they understand. I also think it is important to be analytical, organized, and have a motivated personality.
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Adriana’s Answer

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Hi Teresa,

The first skill you need is that you like it because if you like it, it will be easier to develop yourself as a financial analyst. You must know the financial statements, do analysis on them so you can give comments to the business and recommendations. I consider it is important that you master Excel, power point, a sense of leadership, curiosity, but above of all, your security and commitment to always want more.
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Chris’s Answer

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Hey!

More technical skills to build:

1. MS Excel. If you know and enjoy working in excel you'll always be employable!
2. Data analytics software like R (free) SAAS, Stata, etc. This will help you crunch larger sets of data and build forecasting models, etc.
3. PowerPoint. After all the numbers are crunched and models are built, you have to communicate your findings to your manager, partners, etc. Knowing how to present data is crucial.

Hope this helps!
Chris
Thank you so much! Teresa C. Translate
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