Financial analysts within corporations provide information and analysis to help top management make important decisions about the company's strategies, operational plans and capital expenditures. An analyst doesn't have to be content with the position, salary and responsibilities he currently holds. By setting career goals and taking steps to reach them, he can advance his career both in terms of compensation and status within the company.
Acquire Advanced Skills
Financial analysts qualify for their initial jobs by earning college degrees in accounting and finance or getting an advanced degree, like an MBA. But ongoing education after joining a company allows her to build her skill sets to perform more advanced analytical work and to be more valuable to the organization. For example, she can learn specialized financial planning software in addition the spreadsheet software she learned in college. Consider taking courses and obtaining the certified financial analyst designation. When evaluating candidates for promotion from junior to senior financial analysts, the head of the finance department takes these newly acquired skills into account. They show the analyst is dedicated to her profession over the long term.
Gain Broader Experience
Senior managers all the way to the chief executive officer position often come from the ranks of finance because sound financial management is so vital to a company's success. For analysts who aspire to senior management roles, it is important to gain an understanding of how all the functional areas of the company work, not just finance. Tell your supervisor you are interested in participating in projects outside of finance, such as evaluating new information technology (IT) or production equipment. The time you spend with the IT people or the manufacturing department allows you to tap into their knowledge and to understand how their departments operate. One avenue for gaining this experience is to be deeply involved in the annual budget planning process. You will work closely with nonfinancial managers to help them prepare their department plans and will learn about the operations and challenges of their departments.
Exposure to Top Management
The financial planning and analysis department interfaces with senior management frequently. Financial analysts create and present monthly management reports explaining actual results compared to forecasts. They work on creating and implementing the annual business plan. As a financial analyst you have the opportunity to impress senior management with your ability to present information with poise and confidence, with the accuracy of the financial information you provide and the valuable recommendations you make. Seek out opportunities to present the analysis you generate to top management and you will open up opportunities for advancement.
Gain Supervisory Experience
A job requirement for top management positions is prior managerial experience. A drawback of the financial analyst position is that you may work alone most of the time and not have anyone reporting to you. Show leadership within your department. Volunteer for additional responsibilities, such as being team leader on a project to evaluate a possible acquisition. Demonstrate the ability to set task deadlines and follow up with team members to make sure they get done. When the department creates a new junior analyst position, the supervisor may have that individual reporting to you because you have shown leadership potential. Your willingness to do more than what your basic job description specifies helps you advance into a managerial role.
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