The Overall Guide on Becoming a Financial Reporting Analyst

So you’ve decided to become a financial reporting analyst. Congratulations! You are standing at the starting line of a virtual roller coaster ride that will be both exciting and scary at the same time. But you also don’t know exactly what you need to do. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my article!

Don’t worry! This exhaustive piece will cover all your need to know. It will also answer all your basic questions such as what does a financial reporting analyst actually do? What educational background do I need? All the way up to the questions they might ask you in an interview for your dream job, your possible career path and, of course, your salary. Are you ready? Please keep your arms inside the vehicle at all times! Here we go!

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Financial Reporting Job Description Accounting and More

First things first! Before we delve into anything else, we need to establish exactly what this job is all about. In other words, what is a financial reporting analyst responsible for?

I’m so glad you asked! A financial analyst is in charge of preparing all the documentation that represents how a company stands from a financial point of view.

All the documentation and info an analyst compiles has to reach both external and internal sources. All the other departments will use it to perform audits, create the company’s different budgets, as well as issue stock.

A financial reporting analyst is also in charge of financial statements, balancing sheets, and shareholders reports. To create all of this, you will need to use what we call GAAP or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

But wait, there’s more! This roller coaster has a lot of cars attached to it. As a financial analyst you will also have to reconcile accounts, analyze expenses, take care of regulatory reports, and provide the Securities and Exchange Commission filings with the appropriate data.

It surely sounds like a lot, especially if you’re just beginning. Which, naturally, brings us to the following question. How and where do you train as a financial reporting analyst?

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What Are the Educational Requirements of a Financial Analyst?

Think about this stage of the ride as the roller coaster going up, up, up that very steep climb.

Are you imagining it? Great! Getting the proper education for this job is crucial and it equates to climbing an actual mountain. It won’t be easy but when you reach the top it will surely be worth it!

To put it as simply as possible, you will need a bachelor’s degree. To start with. Some people can get hired with just this one qualification, but I have to warn you it’s not a common thing. Most companies will ask you for a Master’s Degree in a field related to finance or an MBA.

But look at it this way. If you get a Master’s Degree or an MBA, you’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for yourself!

A higher degree essentially means you are upping your chance of getting better jobs in this field. It will also mean a much bigger financial reporting analyst salary when the time comes for you to negotiate. Use your education as leverage for better positions and higher wages!

Here are some popular schools most people who want to become a financial reporting analyst apply to.

Extra Certifications for Your Resume

Apart from the classic college-based educational background, most employers love analysts to attach extra certifications to their resume. That means following a program from the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute. There are several you can choose from and they will surely make a difference when you apply for a job!

Let’s Talk Experience in the Financial Reporting Career Path

This is one question that has been asked the most and definitely one that people ask me all the time.

How much does experience matter when applying for a financial analyst job?

Let me put it like this. If you follow the correct educational course and graduate from a good college with top degrees, you can find a job as soon as you leave your master’s program. If you are skilled and talented enough, most companies will see that in you. They will take you on and groom you so that you can grow within the company. And that brings us to the next important thing you need to know.

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What Skills Does a Financial Reporting Analyst Need?

Ok, there are a few more clicks and clatters before this roller coaster makes it to the top. And those clicks and clatters represent your skills. As you might have already imagined, you will need a very specific set of skills. Here we go!

  • GAAP accounting procedures – make them number one on your list! You cannot do this job if you don’t know them!
  • Practices for financial reporting – equally as important. Learn them while you are in school. Practice them as much as you can!
  • Teach yourself to be detail-oriented. If you are not like that already. Don’t worry, it’s a skill that you can learn.
  • Know all software financial and database systems like the back of your hand. Examples include Extensible Business Reporting Language.
  • Have absolute proficiency when it comes to your skills with the PC, especially Excel.
  • Learn how to summarize!
  • Teach yourself to present very intricate financial data in a super concise and organized manner that others can understand very easily.
  • You must have the ability to work both alone and in an independent fashion if your company asks you too and in a team. Essentially, this means you have to prove you can work without asking for help. But you also have to have excellent communication and interaction skills so that you can work with other auditors, regulators, and, of course, your management.

Financial Reporting Analyst Salary – Let’s Talk Money!

I said a little earlier that the ride is going to be worth your while and I wasn’t joking! You can expect a high return in terms of salary for all those years you spent studying. Not to mention for all the hard work you will be putting in.

So let’s take a look at some numbers. On average, a financial reporting analyst makes around $58,000 per year, according to glassdoor.com. We can take a look at a real life example. A financial reporting analyst Northern Trust salary averages at $48,000, according to the same site.

However, it’s important to mention here that this lump sum varies greatly based on many factors.

First of all, you will be receiving additional cash compensations, bonuses, and commissions. It all depends on what exactly you do. Plus, the entry level financial reporting analyst salary will always be lower than that of a senior. But don’t worry, junior, you’ll get there!

Second of all, your salary, and most importantly, the potential of your salary depends on the company you work for, and what your job entails. For example, if you are a financial analyst in charge of commodities and securities, your average salary will be closer to $100,000 per year. Whereas, if you are an insurance analyst, you might be making less, which means around $75,000 per year.

You also need to know at this point that a few financial analysts make most of their money based on commissions. One example that stands out is fund managers. If they manage to do well on the market, they will get back some of the fund’s returns. This means that will be all up to you how much money you make!

However, an interesting fact is that the lowest-paid financial reporting analyst makes an average of $50,000 per year. So keep that in mind when going to the interview because that’s where we’re heading now!

Financial Reporting Analyst Interview Questions – What Will They Ask Me?

Going to your first interview for a financial reporting analyst position means taking the plunge. Quite literally. You’re at the top of the roller coaster, the climb is over and now you’re taking the plunge into the unknown.

But what’s down there? Here are some possible questions your interviewers have in store for you, so get prepared!

  1. You are dealing with a very difficult person. Tell me how you handle this situation.
    Additional question – have you ever dealt with a difficult person? Tell me how you managed them.
  2. How do plan, organize, and prioritize tasks, work, emails, calls, etc.?
  3. What is your approach to working with a massive volume of data or information? How has this approach worked for your company before?
  4. Do you have attention to detail? If so, tell me an instance where it helped you or the company you worked for before.
  5. Have your work or personal ethics been tested before? Tell me a situation when this happened. How did you handle it? Is there room for improvement?
  6. How do you rate your listening skills? Have your listening skills ever been tested before? What was the outcome?
  7. What would you do if I asked you to go above the ‘call of duty?’ Have you done that before? Give me an example!
  8. What is the balance between independent thinking and cooperation with others when it comes to your personality? Please use some real life examples when you answer this question!
  9. Tell me, in short, of a time when you made a presentation of data to a large group of people. How did it go? What was their response or reaction to you and the material or project you were presenting?
  10. Have you ever been in a high-stress situation? Give me an example! How did you deal with it?
  11. Tell me about a situation in which a client came to you with a very difficult matter and you advised them to their best interest.

Take your time when reading these potential interview questions.

Tackle each question at a time and do some research!

Prepare intelligent and to the point answers for each one. Talk about your experience as much as possible!

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Financial Reporting Analyst Resume – a Few Tips

Think about it like this – they have the financial questions, you have the answers!

What you need to do now is highlight that in your resume.

Of course, as far as formatting goes, you can easily go online to one of the tens of websites that gives you a template or a sample resume. You can also find an analyst cover letter if you need one. That’s not the problem. The content of the analyst resume is the tricky part. Here are some tips.

Always show them your data skills

The fact that every company in the world uses more and more technology every day means one thing. There is more data than ever to collect. And it’s your job to analyze it.

Let it be known on your resume that you are the best when it comes to financial data analysis.

Talk about your accomplishments. Don’t accentuate your responsibilities

One major mistake most beginners do is to put all their responsibilities on their resume. That quickly becomes boring to the person reading it. So here’s how to fix that.

List your responsibilities but add an accompanying list of the accomplishments that come with them. Your employer will thank you for it!

Emphasize your social media accounts. Let’s face it! We live in the world of social media. You can be sure your potential employer will look for you on LinkedIn, first of all, then on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Curate your social media accounts and link them on your resume!

Financial Reporting Analyst Career Path – Where Do I Go From Here?

Believe it or not, this depends on what you want from this job. For example, if you want, you can keep doing the same job until you see fit to retire.

If not, you can rise above your station to the C-level of your company. This means a CFO, a COO or a controller. Another direction would be to join a major financial corporation where you can manage an entire financial department or make investment in a strategic way.

Alternative Careers? Sure!

If you are interested in financial strategies or investment options you can always opt for a job as a financial manager.

Another career path for you would be that of a budget analyst. You will be monitoring expenditures and help your company to stay on track when it comes to its finances.

So what’s the conclusion?

Becoming a financial reporting analyst is, indeed, a roller coaster ride. It has to start very early on, when you are in high school. That’s when you have to decide the right college and degree you need to follow this career path. But it’s also a job that provides outstanding financial security. Not to mention the amazing chance to work in this one of a kind industry!

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