what is a financial analyst?

A financial analyst guides individuals or businesses on investment opportunities with lucrative outcomes. You use industry knowledge, market trends and financial data to find the best strategy for continued growth. Your job involves analyzing economic trends, financial information and business news.

As a financial analyst, you work in investment companies or financial institutions like banks. Some businesses also need internal finance analysts to monitor their investment strategies and minimize losses.

Since you build financial models for data analysis and forecasting, proficiency in various statistical software for analysis and building portfolios is important. The tools help you keep track of past and present financial information and use prediction models to determine if an investment deal is viable.

what does a financial analyst do?

As a financial analyst, you can work as a buy-side analyst. Your job entails developing investment strategies for institutional investors, including hedge funds, insurance companies and mutual funds. Finance analysts also work for the sell side and guide individuals or financial service agents on the best-performing stocks, bonds and investments. Switching between buyer-side and seller-side clients is possible since the roles and prediction models are similar. However, buyer-side finance analysts have broader responsibilities and require accuracy.

Would working as a financial analyst suit your analytical skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a financial analyst role.

financial analyst roles

average financial analyst salary

According to Job Bank, a financial analyst earns an average salary of $102,334 per year — or an hourly rate of $52.48. The earnings fluctuate based on experience, area of expertise and qualifications. With minimal qualifications, you receive a salary of $72,584 annually. Your earnings increase as you improve your skills and gain expertise in the role. The highest-paid financial analysts earn over $133,349 yearly.

what factors influence the salary of a financial analyst?

Various factors determine the earnings of a financial analyst. Some of the internal factors that affect your earnings include qualification and experience. When you work in an entry-level position, your starting salary is lower since you have minimal skills. Your experience also determines your salary. You negotiate a higher salary when you have additional expertise.

The location also influences your earnings. Some territories and regions have a higher salary compared to others. For instance, working in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nunavut attracts higher earnings due to the high demand for the role. Your earnings are also higher in large cities due to the high cost of living.

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types of financial analysts

Some types of financial analysts include:

  • investment banking analysts: your responsibility as an investment banking analyst is to help companies meet their financial goals by looking for investment opportunities. You also create economic models and complete evaluations to determine the performance of current investments.
  • equity research analysts: your job is to oversee investment portfolios for companies in a particular industry. You can work for both buy-side and sell-side firms to help them decide the securities to hold and the ones to sell.
  • treasury analysts: as a treasury analyst, you manage finances in various government agencies. You oversee investment income, cash flow and asset levels. You also advise on ways to improve financial health.
  • corporate development analysts: your job is to optimize business processes and enhance income from business operations. You assess operations and expenses and develop better strategies.
woman smiling
woman smiling

working as a financial analyst

Financial analysts help businesses and individuals make the best investment decisions and grow their finances. If you are interested in the role, check out the tasks and responsibilities of a financial analyst.


financial analyst skills and education

In order to work as a financial analyst, the following educational requirements are necessary:

  • educational qualifications: you require educational qualifications such as a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, commerce and economics. Pursue a degree course to learn the principles of working as a financial analyst. You can also join the role by completing industry courses and on-the-job training.
  • certification: financial analysis is a regulated profession in Canada, and you require professional certification from a regulatory authority. Gaining a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from a CFA institute is also important. Some employers may require financial analysts to be Certified Treasury professionals or Chartered Professional Accountants. To work in Manitoba as a financial analyst, you require licensing from the Manitoba Securities Commission, while in Saskatchewan, the profession is regulated by the Saskatchewan Financial Services Commission.

competencies and characteristics of financial analysts

Aside from educational and academic requirements, you require the following soft skills to excel in the role:

  • research skills: your job involves mining data from various sources for financial analysis. Research skills help you find historical data from company records and macroeconomic data from industry sources. You can make predictions from the data analysis with sufficient information.
  • attention to detail: being detail-oriented helps you notice market trends and make accurate predictions. Attentiveness to detail is important in making insightful conclusions based on changes in the market.
  • analytical skills: as a finance analyst, you evaluate tons of data and make accurate conclusions. You require analytical skills to ask the right questions, draw accurate conclusions and discern the best solutions for your clients.
  • math skills: you should be good at math and with numbers since you handle complex calculations in financial modelling. Sometimes, you use complex equations to complete data analysis. Math skills also help you formulate financial models, including charts and graphs.
  • communication skills: you need communication skills to explain financial jargon to clients and investors. Communication and people skills also help you maintain relationships with stakeholders to gain access to information.

FAQs about financial analyst jobs

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a financial analyst.


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