Financial analyst jobs continue to be among the hottest positions now, with the midpoint financial analyst salary at $65,000 for someone with one to three years of experience.
Companies rely on experienced financial analysts to support business growth by identifying trends in financial data and helping senior management make informed decisions. The trend toward a more strategic and analytic finance function requires a financial analyst to make more frequent, tangible contributions across departments.
For that reason, candidates to fill financial analyst jobs are in demand across many industries. These jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 12 percent through 2022, faster than the average for all jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Whether you are just starting your career or have experience in this position, here's some vital information to help guide you in your job search or your career path, starting with the financial analyst salary.
Financial analyst starting salary
Just starting out? A financial analyst in corporate accounting with less than a year of experience can expect a midpoint salary of $50,000, according to the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide.
Are you in management? The midpoint financial analyst salary at the higher levels can be anywhere from $80,000 for a senior financial analyst to $100,000 for a financial analyst manager and $127,000 for a director.
So as you can see, there's room to grow.
The demand for financial analysts
Employers are looking for specialists who can identify opportunities for increasing business in the years ahead and can interpret financial data and turn it into solid business recommendations. Here's what's driving the demand:
• Today's business decisions require financial expertise — Most firms require an expert to deal with financial business decisions. This expert should be able to forecast where the company's money is coming from now,— and in the future, then help managers decide how to invest it in ways that generate the greatest return.
• The population is aging — More and more experienced financial analyst professionals, namely baby boomers, are deciding to retire. In addition, some positions become vacant as other financial analysts are promoted. So more opportunities are opening up, and companies seek new financial analyst candidates to fill them.
• The need is widespread — Nearly all companies need a good financial analyst to balance their books and watch the bottom line. But the size of a business, its complexity, the industry it operates in and its stage of development determines the specific duties of the financial analyst. For example, a growing technology company may need a financial expert to evaluate potential acquisitions, while a well-established insurance provider may need someone to identify potential new revenue streams.
Duties and expectations
CFOs say there's an increasing need for specialized knowledge and for professionals who can "drill down" on all financial data collected and quickly provide analyses to enable better business decisions, project a company’s future earnings and make recommendations to management based on their findings.
A financial analyst needs top-notch decision-making skills. And they need to be able to contribute to department-specific and overall business strategies and provide data-based solutions grounded in solid analysis. They're also expected to translate reports and forecasts into easy-to-understand advice that streamlines processes, improves efficiency, saves time and money, and prepares the company for growth.
Job hunting? Check out our open financial analyst positions now.
Professional experience and skills
Managers hiring for financial analyst jobs typically write job descriptions that call for someone with a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, and often an MBA, particularly for senior-level positions. Certifications, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), commonly required in financial services, demonstrate knowledge and expertise to prospective employers and clients.
The Salary Guide lists proficiency in Hyperion as one of the in-demand skills for a financial analyst position. In addition, hiring managers expect financial analysts to have knowledge of current financial software, including Microsoft Excel and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. They should also have data analytics skills, including the ability to observe meta-patterns.
Financial analysts also must have strong soft skills in order to convey their recommendations clearly and effectively. A detail-oriented approach, decision-making abilities and communication skills involving collaboration, tact and diplomacy are also important. Financial analysts should be self-starters willing to dig deep into research. They should be able to work independently with minimal supervision.
If you want to work in finance, but you're not sure if any of the financial analyst jobs you see are right for you, consider seeking something similar as a budget analyst, financial manager or senior accountant.
See the top 10 positions in the accounting and finance fields in 2018, as well as the midpoint salaries these professionals can command, in the infographic below.
Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect information from the 2018 Salary Guide.