Financial analysts play a strategic role in an organization. He or she collects relevant information to analyze and then recommend actions to senior management. To carry out this mission, a good financial analyst has to possess and develop a variety of qualities and skills.
Training and certification
First of all, they hold a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting or finance. “Without being an obligation, he can obtain a professional certification such as that of Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), which is highly prized when assessing applications,” says Jean-Philippe Gauthier, Vice-President of Recruitment at Robert Half – Finance and Accounting. He can also obtain certification specific to his field of work or speciality, especially after a few years of practise.
Essential skills and qualities
Undoubtedly, a good financial analyst demonstrates high level analytical and synthesis capacities since this is central to his mandate. He must also be able to comprehend and understand the economic environment and the market in which he is operating to be able to make accurate and sound recommendations.
“Communication skills are also essential, since the analyst has to explain in everyday terms and clearly communicate with management, team leaders, sales managers and financial professionals every day,” explains Jean-Philippe Gauthier.
He is a curious professional who literally devours all the economic and financial news. He uses this information in his strategic thinking and decision-making. “Attention to detail and rigour are the order of the day, since the analyst works with large quantities of information and data and he has to be able to identify small details and extract them for the purposes of analysis,” says Jean-Philippe Gauthier.
As it is a profession steeped in economic and financial news, updating one’s skills is paramount. “New tools and processes are constantly emerging or evolving… which requires the financial analyst to stay at the forefront of these changes,” says Mr. Gauthier. Certification bodies and post-secondary teaching institutions offer training and updating programs.
Such a professional investment is worth it: the average starting annual salary of a financial analyst is at least $43,000 in all Canadian provinces, according to the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide, and can reach six figures for a management position in some provinces.