Financial analysts are experts on the economy and have the ability to read and predict market trends. They use this sort of information to consult to companies, advising on what the best potential business opportunities are. Analysts research every aspect of a prospect deal or investment, and weigh the worth in order to give the best advice. They know how and why a company experiences gains and losses.
Because this department interfaces so closely with management and the business, the specific roles in this sector and their responsibilities vary widely from company to company. Even with this variability, there are some areas you can focus on that will help brand you as a candidate in your company for this role.
Have the need to learn
Most people understand how important it is to learn a new skill and are almost always willing to jump on the knowledge bandwagon.
A natural curiosity and desire to learn is the most critical attribute of an analyst candidate, as they will constantly be required to learn more about the business, evolving issues, and aspects of the industry in order to perform quality analysis. A basic part of an analyst’s role in the company is to take aspects of multiple elements and perspectives mirrored in the business and bring them together with a measurable approach.
A good analyst knows they never know everything about all the aspects of the business and industry, and there is always more to research, study, and absorb.
Creative problem solving ability
You will be required to come up with ideas for resolving the problem and to find fresh approaches. When people face a problem they try and find a solution. Creative problem solvers ask themselves why the problem exists in the first place and what can be changed to prevent it in the future. Sometimes the best solutions to a problem are preventative. Adopt this kind of thinking and be prepared to explain how the way you approach challenges in the workplace is different than most people.
It’s important that an analyst has a conceptual technical understanding because it helps you analyse the problems to be solved and communicate with technical stakeholders, you don’t need to be able to write code or run database queries. However, candidates should have the ability to solve problems using technology. This will likely be demonstrated through an in-depth understanding of Excel group formulas and other commonly used applications like SAP.
Must have experience with working on projects
A good candidate should be able to demonstrate that they have taken on projects in the past and can communicate how those projects have added value to the company. Even those without experience in a project-focused role, should have identified “extra” things that warranted change in their area. They should have had the confidence, drive, and support to institute even small changes and the understanding and communications skills to explain how that project added value to the business.
Understanding of Financial systems
In order to be able to evaluate and communicate the impact of specific business issues for the company, a candidate must have a good understanding of all components of the financial statements. Journal entries and reconciliations are likely to be reserved for those in the core accounting department, but a thorough understanding of this is the foundation upon which leading indicators and other metrics are built. Knowledge of the debits and credits made throughout the accounting cycle brings a valuable perspective to an analyst who must understand the function of all aspects of the business.
If you possess all of these things and are looking for finance job opportunities, make sure you can communicate your strengths in these areas and are able to give specific examples if asked in the interview. Always insure you stay up to date with the latest trends in the finance industry, who knows? Your next job opportunity might be just around the corner.