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!
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?
Think about this stage of the ride as the roller coaster going up, up, up that very steep climb.
Do you imagine 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 naturally 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.
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!
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.
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 particular set of skills. Here we go!
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 it will be all up to you how much money you make!
However, a fascinating 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!
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!
Take your time when reading these potential interview questions.
Tackle each question at a time and do some research!
Prepare intelligently and to the point answers for each one. Talk about your experience as much as possible!
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 quickly 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.
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.
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 to your resume!
Believe it or not, this depends on what you want from this job. For example, if you wish, you can keep doing the same position 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 an investment in a strategic way.
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.
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 fantastic chance to work in this one of a kind industry!