Financial Analyst Job Description: The Only Guide You Need – Part 1

This post is about Financial Analyst Jobs Description.

As many of you know, I love to write on financial analyst careers. You can read the basics of some of the top careers like:

  • Private Equity Analyst
  • Hedge Fund Analyst
  • Investment Banking Analyst
  • Equity Research Analyst

And so on…

I will publish the entire guide in parts.

Here we start with the first one.

Note: This is a big post, so if you need, grab a cup of coffee, relax and read on … 🙂

Financial Analyst Job Description: The Only Guide You Need – Part 1

Why write on financial analyst job description?

Yesterday I got an email with this simple question: “How to become a financial analyst?”

I get that question almost ten times a month.

I thought people who are doing MBA, CFA, CAIA, CPA, CA would already know what is the job profile of financial analyst. But, when I did a search on Google, I was surprised to know that there is a big chunk that wants to know details of the financial analyst job description.

Before I share my analysis and observation about the topic—financial analyst job description—I want to state that the following analysis should be used with data on offline mode as well.

I’ve already written about financial careers available for good Financial Analysts.

Well, you have to be good to break into finance, or anything, really.

If you want to “break into” finance or already are “into” finance, and still want to reach greater heights, here are some ideas to polish your skills and do a fresh start.

The basics

First of all, you need to check job description of financial analyst career based on your aptitude.

Here’s a short but powerful guide to finding your aptitude.

Once you know what interests you, the second step is to check whether it will pay you enough.

In short—whether you can make money out of this passion or skill.

I said skill.

Not information.

The third and most important thing is to combine three things—Your passion, your core skills to do the job and whether people are ready to hire you for your skills.

I recommend doing this exercise first and once you think you have what it takes to be a financial analyst, go and check what market demands.

Suggested Read: Want to know about risk management courses and certifications?

Financial analyst roles in the market

Before we start looking at the financial analyst job description, let’s first understand the different roles or positions available in financial analysis space.

Financial Analyst Job Description

The above image shows various sectors for financial analyst jobs.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of sectors in finance. In a minute, we’re going to see what duties—as a financial analyst—you are expected to perform in each sector.

1. Financial Analyst in Accounting and Auditing services

In Accounting and Auditing services, the financial analyst has to perform one or many job responsibilities mentioned below.

Financial planning and analysis job description

  • Participate in compensation management, semi-annual incentive compensation payments.Provide financial and analytical support for the incentive compensation accounting and forecasting processes. Respond to ad-hoc projects related to incentive compensation program
  • Assist with the new business process and working with Finance and Business Managers.
  • Cash reconciliations, payment date accounting, monthly reporting and report production, daily modeling, analysis and reporting and financial Analysis.
  • Responsible for the day- to-day general ledger accounting and reconciliation, financial reporting and analysis for assigned functional areas.
  • Research and resolve Business Unit(s) inquiries for assigned functional areas.
  • Perform monthly balance sheet, income statement and changes in financial position/budget variance analysis
  • Investigate and report to the Manager any inconsistencies or improprieties.
  • Analyze data to ensure proper accounting procedures have been followed
  • Prepare financial reports, charts, tables and other exhibits as requested
  • Train new employees and ensure training material/documentation is kept current
  • Responsible for performing special projects to improve process efficiency and performance Projects as assigned by Management
  • Provide timely, relevant and accurate reporting & analysis of the results of the division’s performance against historical, budgeted, forecasted and strategic planning results to facilitate decision-making toward the achievement of the budget and strategic plan.
  • Maintain and develop various financial models and standard templates distributed for use by all of Finance during the planning processes, ensuring quality, accuracy and focused analytic review.
  • Support Financial Planning & Analysis(FP&A) business unit analysts by being the first point of contact for issues and questions.
  • Demonstrate appropriate understanding/working knowledge of accounting principles and internal controls, and apply them.
  • Describe an insightful use of financial analysis techniques, tools, and concepts, to provide practical counsel to business area partners and management to drive business results.
  • Understand and facilitate the integration of business processes, people, and relevant technology, in order to identify, configure, and communicate useful information, and to provide practical business leadership to drive business decision making across the company.
  • Identify non-value added processes within the department and seeks solutions.

Skills & qualifications required

The financial analyst position in accounting and audit services demands following skills and qualifications.

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance. CPA/MBA preferred.
  • Thorough understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Knowledge of Statutory accounting principles.
  • Must have extremely strong MS Excel skills
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to multi-task and work in a challenging fast paced environment
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Maturity, professionalism, and high level of discretion are required
  • Knowledge of procedural controls and data validation techniques required
  • Strong work ethic with a positive, can-do attitude
  • Independent worker and analytical thinker with an ability to conduct research, data analysis and resolve complex problems
  • Strong presence with the ability to interact with Senior Leadership.
  • Financial modeling expertise a plus

2. Financial Analyst in Aerospace and Defense

Financial Analyst jobs in Aerospace and Defense industry are less compared to other industries.

Let’s see the job responsibilities and skills required to perform this job.

Senior financial analyst job description

  • Support the Govt.’s Configuration Management organization in the planning and requirements for an enterprise-based tool solution investment analysis effort.
  • Support program planning and development and tracking of documentation required by the investment analysis effort, including development and updates to the business case.
  • Coordinate with process owners and stakeholders as the investment analysis process continues.

Skills & qualifications required

  • Bachelor Degree in finance, accounting, economics or related field.
  • Knowledge of the Acquisition Management System (AMS) life-cycle aspects
  • Experience in business case preparation
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

3. Financial Analyst in Banking

Financial Analyst job in banking is an exciting one. Here’re the job duties and competencies required.

Financial advisor job description

  • Work with team to manage and support all phases of the expense financial planning process including consolidations
  • Create monthly expense reports/ P&Ls and provide variance analysis for management review
  • Review monthly expenses to ensure that expenses are booked correctly and work with the accounting team to make any necessary reclassification
  • Develop annual budgets, quarterly forecasts, and 3-year strategic plans in conjunction with managers in company’s analytics and enter the numbers into company’s planning system
  • Responsible for consolidating financials, headcount reporting, and compensation analysis
  • Work on ad-hoc projects/analyzes including systems user-acceptance testing Help integrate any new acquisitions
  • Track financial status by monitoring variances from plan
  • Determine financial status by comparing and analyzing plans and forecasts with actual results
  • Improve financial status by analyzing results and variances; identifying trends; recommending actions
  • Reconcile transactions by comparing and correcting data
  • Provide information to management by assembling and summarizing data; preparing reports; making presentations of findings, analyzes, and recommendations
  • Researching and analyzing industries, companies, historical financial statements and projecting financial information
  • Building financial models and performing a valuation analysis
  • Assisting in the management and execution of due diligence processes

Skills & qualifications required

  • Undergraduate degree in Finance, Accounting, or Economics
  • Prior forecasting and reporting experience a plus
  • Strong communication, analytical and data organization/ interpretation skills
  • Proven ability to multi-task, work under pressure, and meet tight deadlines
  • Attention to detail and accuracy is required
  • Superior skills with Microsoft Office applications (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook)
  • Reporting Skills, Informing Others, Financial Skills, Forecasting, Corporate Finance, Financial Diagnosis, Financial Software, Analyzing Information, Statistical Analysis, Process Improvement, Financial Planning and Strategy
  • Financial modeling experience and understanding of financial statements
  • Understanding of Securities and Fund Services Product Offerings a plus.

4. Financial Analyst in Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals

Companies like Abbott and PAREXEL need financial analysts with following skills and responsibilities.

Accounting Analyst job description

  • Responsible for developing, interpreting and implementing financial concepts for financial reporting and control.
  • Understand and apply complex concepts. Identify risks, propose recommendations and solutions to issues.
  • Implement solutions for problem resolution. Complete a broad range of financial services and deliverables. Assess reasonableness and relevance of financial assumptions with limited supervision.
  • Prepare and analyze account reconciliations promptly. Assure availability of timely and well-presented, high-quality actual P&L, balance sheet, and sales detail results vs. current and prior year benchmarks as well as trended information.
  • Maintain controls to assure the integrity of assets and the compliance with GAAP.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret data and make recommendations.
  • Responsible for compliance with applicable Corporate and Divisional Policies and performing other duties as assigned by management.
  • Analysis and approval of project expenditures as well as invoicing per contracted billing milestones.
  • Review billing milestones upon each budget change to ensure data accuracy and consistency.
  • Review and approve project expenditure items for billing on a regular basis.
  • Provide financial tracking and maintenance support to Project Managers.

Skills & qualifications required

  • Ability to analyze and interpret data.
  • Ability to plan, implement, and administer financial information and control systems. Knowledge of the principles, processes, and standards for integrated financial analysis and reporting.
  • Proficient in Excel. Understanding of financial accounting systems, preferably SAP and PeopleSoft.
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of pricing/budgeting tools and how to reflect operational changes in the tools
  • Well-experienced with Microsoft suite of products
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in Accounting or Finance. MBA or MSA preferred

5. Financial Analyst in Business Services

Business Services functions include strategic aspects, operations and venture capital group. Want to get into this sector? Then read on …

Job description of financial analyst

  • Analyze financial data by collecting, monitoring and creating financial models for decision support
  • Improve financial status by analyzing results; monitoring variances; identifying trends; recommending actions to management.
  • Assist with annual and quarterly forecasting.
  • Identify financial status by comparing and analyzing actual results with plans and forecasts.
  • Guide cost analysis process by establishing and enforcing policies and procedures; providing trends and forecasts; explaining processes and techniques; recommending actions.
  • Recommend actions by analyzing and interpreting data and making comparative analyses; study proposed changes in methods and materials.
  • Increases productivity by developing automated reporting/forecasting tools.
  • Market research, data mining, business intelligence, and valuation comps

Skills & qualifications required

  • Must have strong analytical ( quantitative as well as qualitative) skills including building models, prior data mining and on line market research
  • Self-starter with the ability to streamline functions and passion to learn and grow
  • Strong financial analysis foundation creating forecasts and models
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel is required; familiarity with data query/data management tools extremely helpful (Access, SQL, Business Objects)
  • Must possess excellent communication and presentation skills, and be comfortable interacting with executive-level management
  • Strong financial modeling experience
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting/Finance/Economics

6. Financial Analyst in Computer Software/Hardware

How about working at Microsoft or Google in financial analysis area? Cool … right?

Here’s what you need to learn about this job.

Senior financial analyst job details

  • Develop complex financial models and present analytics to support the sales team
  • Assist in developing complex models that support the financial modeling related to a potential M&A activity.
  • Prepare various industry and market analyses
  • Assist with the development and maintenance of complex pricing models
  • Assist Region Finance Manager in review and development of targets and annual budgets
  • Prepare monthly consolidated and regional financial analyses
  • Prepare and review financial variances between Actual/Budget/Forecast financial results
  • Reconcile transactions by comparing and correcting data
  • Provide information to management by assembling and summarizing data; preparing reports; making presentations of findings, analyses, and recommendations
  • Prepare monthly deferred revenue schedules with the assistance of COO
  • Drive planning, analysis, coordination and consolidation of corporate budget/?forecast
  • Develop, interpret, and implement financial concepts for financial planning
  • Perform strategic and scenario analysis to determine present and future financial performance
  • Provide user support and maintenance during the annual budget cycle and quarterly forecast cycles
  • Provide first line trouble-shooting support for Financial System, differentiating functional issues from technical issues, and working with IT to resolve issues
  • Write and maintain functional specifications on database enhancements, reports, business processes and system processes.
  • Develop, communicate, and manage requirements for reporting and finance system enhancements and serves as point person to facilitate business support throughout the technical development process.
  • Develop and refine key business metrics and drives robust analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, while evaluating possible alternatives and recommending appropriate actions across Corporate Finance.
  • Build analytical models that utilize both financial and non-financial data to forecast operating results.
  • Conduct comparable analysis as necessary in support of key business metrics and objectives.
  • Prepare monthly journal entry accruals, budget vs. actual variance analyses, and risk/opportunity tracking.
  • Access SAP general ledger system and financial reporting systems to pull actual financials for use in trending and forecasting analyses.

Skills & qualifications required

  • Experience in financial modeling, business analysis, FP&A, business integration, analytics in a corporate (HQ) environment
  • Excellent MS Office skills, specifically MS Word and MS Excel
  • Advanced experience working with the corporate budgeting process
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills (verbal, written and listening).
  • Ability to switch from complex to routine tasks when required.
  • Experience using Hyperion Financial Management, Cognos Financial Performance Management Software, MDX-Solutions in a large corporate environment.
  • Experience creating financial models, including the use of database manipulation (e.g. SAP & Excel).
  • Bachelor's degree in Finance/Accounting or Management Information Systems. CFA, MBA preferred

7. Financial Analyst in Construction

Construction and infrastructure companies need financial analysts. Companies like White Construction and Siemens appoint financial analysts with following job responsibilities.

What does a financial analyst do in construction industry

  • Perform complex financial and operational analysis to support short term and long range strategic plans and operating budgets.
  • Evaluate data, prepares forecasts, analyzes trends and presents results pertaining to sales, operations, manufacturing, information systems, general business conditions and other areas.
  • Adapt new developments in the field of finance planning and control. Utilize computers and other tools in the creation, display and reproduction of charts, graphs and models relative to the operations of the assigned organization and advise management as assigned
  • Consult with and advise assigned management regarding advanced planning, consolidation and reporting issues.
  • Work directly with business partners to provide budgeting, project, and asset management analysis.
  • Perform complex financial analyses, prepare related presentations and present results including compilation and review of financial plans and budgets, taking into consideration actual performance, previous expenditures and estimated income and expenses
  • Carry out financial analysis at multiple complexity levels including rate of return, depreciation, working capital, investments, budgeting, cost analysis, bid, job analysis and financial and expense performance comparisons.
  • Develop presentations to management and the Board of Directors regarding the annual budget, monthly and quarterly actual to forecast analyses
  • Coordinate short term cash forecasting processes
  • Analysis of variances to budget/forecast for revenue/margin as well as operating expenses.
  • Provide financial expertise in areas of business building and acquisition analysis.
  • Financial modeling for various “what if” scenarios and the overall impact to the company.
  • Conduct new project feasibility financial analysis
  • Analyze product costing and pricing
  • Perform operational audits of home building, mortgage banking, and manufacturing facilities

Skills & qualifications required

  • Bachelor's degree in Finance, Accounting, or other related finance fields. MBA/CPA preferred.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication, presentation, and leadership skills.
  • Experience with integrated financial systems (SAP) and Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) programs. High skill level with Hyperion (ALOP cubes). Very strong Excel charting and graphics skill set.

8. Financial Analyst in Consumer Packaged Goods

Consumer packaged goods companies employ financial analysts with following job duties.

What does a financial analyst do

  • Prepare monthly journal entries and perform account reconciliations
  • Financial statement preparation and analysis
  • Prepare sales and marketing financial analysis
  • Compile and analyze financial information for business unit to determine standard costs, perform variance analysis between actual and standard costs
  • Monitor, analyze and report on inventory valuation, logistics, and production costs
  • Support annual planning and quarterly forecasts of logistics costs
  • Forecasting/Budgeting – Prepare cost models to be used by FP&A team for the forecast. Prepare financial forecasts including monthly, quarterly, and annual forecasts. Communicate the financial forecast to the respective business leads.
  • Manage all aspects of competitive analysis and reporting, including developing a process and regular cadence for the dissemination of key peer company and industry-wide developments
  • General & Administrative expense tracking, Advertising & Promotion expense tracking
  • Discounts & Promotional spend tracking & insights

Skills & qualifications required

  • Requires a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting or finance, or related. MBA and/or CPA a plus
  • Oracle financial software experience a plus
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint
  • Knowledge of accounting systems and controls
  • Highly analytical, with strong financial analysis skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Self-motivated and self-directed, with a high sense of urgency
  • Knowledge of financial reporting/?GAAP reporting in the CPG industry

9. Financial Analyst in Education

Want to work in Harvard University or a community college as a financial analyst? There’s a lot of scope in this area too.

Read on …

Financial accountant job description

  • Assist in the company’s budget and forecast process
  • Perform in-depth analysis of Plan and Forecast results
  • Support Copyright Clearance Center business units and operational leaders with financial matters
  • Conduct monthly meetings to discuss historical financial results and future performance
  • Assist in the preparation of materials for the Board of Directors and Executive team
  • Develop and track key performance metrics against the company’s strategic objectives
  • Responsible for the fiscal management and oversight of the college’s partnerships within the University
  • Perform complex financial/budgetary projections, analyses of actual activity to facilitate decision making and planning
  • Manage the daily financial activities including resource planning, sponsor funding,  award funding allocations, budget control, accounting, purchasing, allocation of resources, management of expenditures, financial reporting; ensuring compliance with University policies and procedures, state, and Government regulations

Skills & qualifications required

  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills, along with superior attention to detail
  • Must function at expert level in MS Excel
  • Proficiency in MS Access, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Ability to extract data from financial systems and manipulate in offline environments such as Excel or Access
  • Strong written, verbal and interpersonal communications skills
  • Ability to effectively organize and prioritize multiple tasks and work independently
  • Advanced computer proficiency in financial forecasting, modeling and reporting
  • Experience with forecasting software preferred, but not required
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Finance or Equivalent discipline required
  • Experience with Oracle financial, budget and database tools a plus
  • A high level of independent judgment, initiative and problem-solving skills, and the ability to demonstrate a high degree of confidentiality and discretion are required

10. Financial Analyst in Electronics, Components, and Semiconductor

Curious to know what does a financial analyst do in Semiconductor industry? Here’re the details:

Job Responsibilities

  • Assist in development of procedures, schedules and materials for annual strategy plan, annual operating plan, quarterly forecast and monthly outlook
  • Work with MIS to manage Hyperion Planning & Essbase systems, ensure data quality in Essbase and address any issues in a timely manner
  • Ensure the compliance of SOX key controls and maintain proper documentation
  • Responsible for generating company-wide headcount report and maintains headcount dashboard for management
  • Coordinate variance analysis at consolidated level
  • Responsible for maintaining cost center structures and ensures data consistency across other systems
  • Collect and analyze financial and statistical data (sales, expenses, operating working capital, capital expenditures and operating statistics) from financial statements and remote sites
  • Research and verify unusual expenses and other statistical data
  • Prepare financial reports, dashboards and presentations
  • Validate accuracy of financial data and reports

Skills & qualifications required

  • Must have bachelor’s degree (Accounting/Finance/Economics) and 2+ years related experience
  • Good communications skills and team work spirit
  • Quick to learn and willingness to go to the details to find issues and work with other teams to solve issues
  • Knowledge of Excel and other Microsoft Office applications
  • Experience using SAP, preferably in a manufacturing environment

11. Financial Analyst in Energy and Utilities

You might be wondering what do financial analysts do in solar power or waste management sector, right? Here’re the answers:

Job Responsibilities

  • Build financial models of solar power projects to support the executive team on decisions regarding pricing, scenario analysis, and capital structures.
  • Be the primary owner of the financial models for each solar power project under development.
  • Build and maintain financial models of solar power plants.
  • Run sensitivities and scenarios based on capacity, costs, revenue and regulations.
  • Model tax equity, equity, and debt to optimize capital structure.
  • Support executive team in developing pricing strategies for solar power plants.
  • Participate in meetings and calls with outside legal counsel, tax experts, accounting firms to understand regulations and tax treatments
  • Apply advanced principles of finance to analyze financial and non-financial information
  • Facilitate communication and understanding between the field finance and operations functions and corporate Profit & Budget Analysis
  • Prepare external financial management reporting
  • Improve the current budget and performance reporting process and increase the utilization of current financial systems for efficient budgeting
  • Monitor the budget and any revised forecasts throughout the year
  • Assist with the technical application of US GAAP and IFRS
  • Interpret financial data to assist management with strategic decisions

Skills & qualifications required

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, economics or finance.  MBA preferred.  CFA or CPA preferred
  • Strong aptitude in profitability assessment, budgets, and financial models
  • Experienced in modeling project finance transactions, preferably in renewable/solar power sector
  • Strong understanding and experience in modeling tax equity
  • Database expertise preferred
  • Financial statement preparation experience
  • Knowledge of GAAP and IFRS

12. Financial Analyst in Engineering Services

Let’s see what does a financial analyst do in Engineering services industry.

Job Responsibilities

    • Project reviews/financial oversight, time and expense oversight, invoice reviews, revenue/cost recognition, project reserve tracking and communication of material variances from the forecast.
    • Compile, communicate and submit the monthly forecast and provide analysis on the following: Forecast variances, risks & opportunities to forecast, A/R review, cash/invoice positioning, direct labor hour yields and labor utilization
    • Provide additional analysis including, but not limited to, region-office business trends, quarterly KPI’s, utilization & expense trends and new engagements
    • Conduct monthly project audits to ensure proper financial control policies and guidelines are being followed
    • Work as part of the Design Group Financial Analyst team to improve financial processes and communications across the firm
    • Provide year-end financial audit support
    • Prepare accurate and properly supported journal entries
    • Prepare account reconciliations to business standard
    • Manage intercompany transactions and ensures proper balances
    • Assist with quarterly forecast process with departments and consolidate.
    • Perform financial analysis of business results and recommend improvement opportunities.
    • Implement internal control policies and procedures and Sarbanes/Oxley requirements.

Skills & qualifications required

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Accounting or Business Administration is strongly preferred
  • Advanced Excel skills are required
  • The ideal candidate should have strong Accounting knowledge and analytical skills along with proven ability in budgeting/forecasting and financial analysis.
  • The ideal candidate needs to have good inter-personal skills, work well with teams, and have strong organizational & communication skills
  • The ideal candidate needs demonstrated initiative with the commitment and ability to meet monthly closing and forecasting deadlines
  • Thorough understanding of GAAP and the application to a manufacturing business
  • Knowledge of finance and business measurements, such as: expense performance, primary working capital, internal rate of return, capital investment, etc.
  • Ability to prepare forecasts and analyze trends, proven skills in account analysis, problem-solving, and attention to detail.
  • Project management skills desired, ability to influence others using reason as well as data, ability to multi-task

13. Financial Analyst in Financial Services

By now, we have seen financial analyst’s role in different sectors. Now, we’ll see financial analyst’s role in financial services.

Responsibilities of financial analyst

  • Cash reconciliations
  • Payment date accounting
  • Monthly reporting and report production
  • Daily modeling, financial analysis
  • Responsible for conducting and documenting simple to moderate standard financial analysis and ad hoc finance projects
  • Support senior staff in varied areas of financial analysis including one or all of the following: standard monthly management reporting and variance analyses, budgeting, forecasting and strategic planning.Include review and coordination of financial analysis across different departments and/or regions/ business lines in support of Finance Management
  • Perform research and analysis of financial and loan data
  • Collect and provide data for Rating Agencies and other authorities
  • Assist in the company’s annual plan and forecast process.

Skills & Qualifications required

  • Finance, Accounting, or related Bachelors Degree
  • Knowledge of Residential Mortgage Industry, Accounting, Operational, and Financial Reporting
  • Excellent written & oral communication skills
  • Excellent analytical, organizational and project management skills
  • Independently manage multiple tasks, projects and ability to prioritize
  • Advanced knowledge of quantitative analysis using Microsoft Excel

This concludes the first part of the guide -Financial Analyst Job Description.

I hope you benefited immensely from it.

Read Financial Analyst Job Description - Part 2

Financial Analyst Job Description: The Only Guide You Need - Part 1 1
Financial Analyst Job Description: The Only Guide You Need - Part 1 2
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