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)
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)
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
Doc recommends the following next steps:
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.
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.
Effective communication skills (written & verbal)
Strong quantitative and analytical skills
Ability to succeed in a team environment
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
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 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.
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.
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.