Keep a Finger on the Financial Pulse: Must-Have Resources for a Financial Analyst

A financial analyst needs a keen awareness of financial trends. Knowing where to turn for the most up-to-date financial data is the first step.

Given the complexity of the global economy, the job of financial analyst has never been more fascinating — and critical. Working as a financial analyst in the banking sector or at a top-level financial services firm requires a broad skill set, including a comprehensive understanding of economic trends.

How can you obtain timely financial knowledge and an enlightening outside perspective — both of which a financial analyst must have to succeed? Here are just a few resources you’ll need on your desk:

Financial news outlets

There are a handful of absolute must-read daily publications that you’ll want to have quick access to. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to tap into the websites of these newspapers and magazines 24/7, and for relatively little cost. There are even apps for most of them.

At minimum, you should subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, the gold standard of financial reporting for more than a century. You’ll also want to check in daily with Bloomberg. This powerful media consortium offers many opportunities to stay on top of trends and events in the business world. With its radio and television stations, wire service and magazines, Bloomberg has succeeded in becoming a one-stop financial knowledge shop. If your work focuses on international markets, turn to the following:

  •          International Business Times: a digital global news publication
  •          Financial Times: one of the world’s leading business news organizations
  •          The Economist: a comprehensive weekly look at the global marketplace
  •          Forbes: a leading source for reliable business news and financial information
  •          Seeking Alpha: a platform for investment research
  •          Investor’s Business Daily: investment strategies based on real-time studies

Relevant reading

As a financial analyst, you likely spend your day looking at spreadsheets, crunching numbers and following the Dow, so the last thing you may want to do after work is read a book. However, a couple of recent works are highly informative as well as entertaining. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, is a remarkable account of how one leading economist helped navigate a number of recent fiscal upheavals. Andrew Ross Sorkin’s best-selling take on the Wall Street banking crisis, Too Big to Fail, is an excellent companion piece to Geithner’s work.

Relevant research

There’s no shortage of economists who analyze trends and forecast coming developments, which means staying current on available research can be difficult. Joining professional organizations is one way to keep abreast of the latest publications, white papers and articles, and they’re also great places to network. The American Institute of CPAs and Financial Executives International are two decades-old organizations that provide helpful resources to financial professionals. Both offer access to the latest financial data, research and analyses. They also unite a community of like-minded folks that understand the day-to-day life of the financial analyst.

What resources do you rely on to keep your finger on the pulse of the finance world? Share your sources in the comments section below.