Modern financial analyst jobs are much more than number crunching. Employer expectations are evolving as information technology changes the way we live and work, and not only are the required job skills in high demand, but financial analyst salary ranges are among the top jobs in accounting and finance.
Financial analysts and business analysts who understand statistics and command a firm grasp of database analytics can tap into the ever-growing big data flow to make valuable enterprise-wide contributions. A talented analyst could easily focus his efforts on strategic process improvements in areas such as human resources or operations. IT skills, such as systems analysis and proficiency with large enterprise resource planning systems, are also in great demand.
Simply put, a financial analyst or business analyst who can meet these new expectations will find many more employment and professional growth opportunities.
Financial analysts in strategic roles
The trend toward a more IT- and analytics-savvy finance function requires a financial analyst to make more frequent, tangible contributions across departments. As such, many corporate management teams rely on their top analytics talent to facilitate and justify decision-making, with the relationship frequently evolving into more of a strategic partnership.
For companies, having strategically minded people with the skills and abilities to deliver actionable, data-driven conclusions can lead to greater efficiencies and cost savings, ultimately impacting the bottom line. As a financial analyst, the equation is simple: Having the right skills can help you move up the corporate ladder more rapidly.
Acquiring data-analytics skills
Data analytics requires a knack for recognizing meta-patterns and understanding the ramifications of changing patterns. If you want to dig deeper into data analytics, consider online training or a certification program. Once you've got the basic data analytics skills under your belt, you can volunteer for an analytics or informatics project gearing up at your workplace.
Acquiring information technology skills
Financial analysts and business analysts with the job skills to collaborate actively with IT management on issues such as cloud migration, data security and privacy can command higher salaries. Fortunately, picking up new IT skills is a relatively straightforward process. For instance, you can pursue a certification, such as those given in recognition of proficiency with as Hyperion or Microsoft Dynamics GP, the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) program from ISACA.
Financial analyst salary ranges
Robert Half's latest Salary Guide projects an increase in starting salaries for financial analysts, whether they have one to three years of experience at a small or midsize company, or they're senior financial analysts. Those with professional certifications and graduate degrees can see offers higher than the national average.
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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2013 and was updated recently to reflect current information.