Financial analysts and business managers provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They manage those investments on behalf of their organization and suggest ways in which an organization can plan for and achieve its long-term financial goals. Financial analysts and business managers work in a wide range of corporations and organizations, as well as banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses and for the government.
Responsibilities and Duties
Financial analysts and business managers recommend individual investments and collections of investments, or portfolios, to their organizations. They study economic and business trends, review a company's financial statements and prepare financial reports and forecasts. They analyze a company’s financial statements and business reports to determine its value and to make projections about its future earnings. Financial analysts and business managers also look for ways to decrease a company's costs, increase its revenues and assist in making sound financial decisions.
To become a financial analyst or business manager, you’ll need a bachelor's degree in a business-related major, such as finance, accounting, economics, statistics or business administration. These programs mix foundation courses that provide an understanding of the principals and theories of business and organizational behavior with more targeted courses in areas such as finance, economics and statistics. These advanced courses cover more in-depth subject areas, such as corporate finance, operations management, managing assets and liabilities, financial analysis and modeling, statistical sampling and regression analysis. Many financial analysts and business managers continue their educations and earn a Master of Business Administration degree. An MBA covers advanced management and leadership courses that deepen your understanding of business, finance, management and corporate leadership.
While certification is not a requirement to enter the field, obtaining the Chartered Financial Analyst certification can improve your chances for career advancement. To earn the CFA certification, you’ll need to have a bachelor's degree and 4 years of work experience, and you have to successfully pass three exams. Financial analysts can also become certified in their fields of specialty.
Salary and Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2010, the median annual salary for financial analysts and business managers was between $74,300 and $103,910. The field is expected to grow by up to 23 percent between 2010 and 2020 due to the growing range of financial products available and increased investment opportunities in a global economy.
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images