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What do you think is the biggest challenge to be a financial analyst?

I want to know what I need to work hard or what changes I need to make to become a financial analyst. #finance #business #bank

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Evan’s Answer

I think a number of people who are drawn to financial analysis are naturally good with numbers. And this makes sense given that data analysis is core to the job. But many of the same people may find it surprisingly challenging to do another core part of the job: communication. To be effective in an organization you have to not only find solutions but be able to explain and convince others to go along with your conclusions. This is why learning how to present and learning how to be an excellent writer is so crucial, no matter how quantitative a job may be.
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Brad’s Answer

Understanding basic accounting and finance are critical to success as a financial analyst, along with being able to communicate in simple terms the results of your work.
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Nicole’s Answer

As someone who currently works in Finance, I think the biggest challenge is being able to influence teams and learn to be able to use the latest tools (ex. Anaplan, SQL, Tableau, etc.). In regards to influencing teams, the data needs to be in a concise and easy-to-understand format. Another challenge is being able to reconcile data; often times, data can be messy and there needs to be some manual rework to get a clean set of data to work with. Finance also works with time constraints. There are typically tight deadlines when it's month-end or quarter-end close; sometimes you may need to work on the weekends and holidays.
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Jake’s Answer

I would agree with what Evan said—having good communication skills is crucial for a financial analyst and any job in general. You must be able to convey information about a company you analyzed to someone unfamiliar with the company. Another challenge is time management, as you are usually working on multiple things at once. With that in mind, I'd recommend you focus on developing a strong work ethic, good communication skills, and effective time management.
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Jason’s Answer

Hello: Yes, you definitely need to build an understanding of accounting and finance, which you can do through many in person or online educational programs. Your ability to analyze data, spot trends, and increasingly use technology such as articifical intelligence and machine learning to review large amounts of data will help you stand out from the crowd. One of the great things about this career is that you can work in many different types of companies. Technology, retail, consulting, manufacturing-- pretty much every large company needs financial analysts!
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Nikki’s Answer

Hi Yonghua - Glad to see one of the steps you are taking in understanding the financial analyst role is to know the challenges! That is a great mindset to have. Being in FP&A for 7 years now, one of the challenges is being able to be a tell a good story. One of the key responsibilities of a financial analyst is to be a good business partner and that means arming your business partner with the right information to make the right decisions. Oftentimes, this will require articulating what went right and what went wrong in the past so you can propose a solution to move forward.

Having the ability take various historical data points, connect the dots and provide a comprehensive story of the state of the business is one of the important skills to be a successful financial analyst. It takes curiosity and a deep understanding of the business. Good luck in your career journey!
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Jacob’s Answer

One of the biggest challenges in becoming a financial analyst, like several people have mentioned, is developing communication skills. Most people that become interested in a career as a financial analyst already have a good understanding of numbers, trends, etc. However, communication is essential since financial analysts need to be able to present and explain their findings to their company's leadership for them to be able to lead effectively and help the business grow.

Another growing challenge for financial analysts is being able to deal with large sets of data that need to be analyzed. While data analytics is something most people don't think of when thinking of financial analysts, it is becoming an essential skill for financial analysts. Having a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel will go a long way in being able to work with large amounts of data. While there are other tools and methods of analyzing data, Microsoft Excel is a "building block" for developing data analytics skills.
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