A career as a financial analyst is rewarding because it allows you the opportunity to use your finance training and problem-solving skills to contribute to the efficient financial management of a company. The information and analysis you provide helps senior management make better-informed decisions. Dedicated, highly motivated financial analysts have the opportunity to rack up a number of different career highlights.
Presentations to Senior Management
Financial analysts prepare financial reports, such as the monthly analysis of actual versus forecast results, and may be invited to present this information to the top management of the company -- all the way up to the president. It can be thrilling to stand up in a conference room of executives and deliver a report you prepared. In addition, you receive visibility that can lead to career advancement opportunities.
Seeing a Recommendation Implemented
Financial analysts conduct projects whose objectives are to reach a conclusion or recommendation for top management to implement. For example, the analyst may evaluate the merits of a proposed acquisition and report her findings to the CEO. Seeing your recommendation implemented not only leads to a feeling of satisfaction that your opinion was valued, but can build confidence for future projects and tasks.
Being Part of Project Teams
Companies often assemble teams made up of individuals from different departments to conduct research and make recommendations, such as when a new order processing system is being considered. As the financial analyst on the team, you get to interact with other members of the organization and contribute your own expertise and perspective. Participating on a team that makes a positive difference for the company, such as recommending a technology that improves productivity, is a rewarding experience. It also is exciting to work on a project outside the scope of your day-to-day financial reporting responsibilities.
Excellent Performance Reviews
All employees love to receive a favorable performance review, and, for a financial analyst, this can be particularly rewarding because it is not easy to measure excellence. The sales manager may get a great review because he consistently reached sales goals set for him. For an analyst, her supervisor must have an awareness of the sometimes more subtle ways she contributes to the organization's success. She might have gone out of her way to streamline and explain the budgeting process for non-financial managers of the company, making their jobs easier.
Earning Additional Responsibilities
As you gain the confidence of your supervisor, you may be given responsibility for more functional areas. You may have begun being the analyst for one division, such as purchasing, and then add more, such as the product development division. A definite career highlight for an analyst is when he is given supervisory authority over junior analysts or new hires. Having supervisory experience on his resume can be a springboard to advancement within the finance division and beyond.
When a director or manager of planning position opens up, most companies give consideration to the analysts on staff for potential promotion to these positions. An analyst who receives this promotion remembers it for the rest of her career. It represents senior management's confidence in her financial analysis skills, her ability to manage projects effectively, to interface with senior management, and to train and motivate other analysts. She has now earned the right to join the managerial ranks.
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