Businesses that are active in various aspects of real estate -- commercial, residential, industrial, property management and investment -- need staff members with highly developed skills for analyzing various features of properties from a financial point of view. These financial analysts perform a variety of tasks -- including work on annual budgets and financial forecasting -- that contribute to the sound management of the companies for which they work. They need the right experience, training and skills in order to qualify for employment.
What They Do
Financial analysts in a real estate setting help implement company budgets. For example, they monitor the financial activity of departments and conduct variance analyses, which compare actual results against goals in the budget. Other important responsibilities include creating cash flow projections for real estate portfolios, developing financial models when needed and managing property databases. Analysts also observe operations to ensure compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. They also monitor internal activities to ensure compliance with the corporate governance and financial practices required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
What Else They Do
Some of the secondary responsibilities of financial analysts at real estate firms consist of assisting others and stepping in to handle analytical assignments as they occur. Their employers might ask them to review and verify the accuracy of a firm's lease reporting or assist in the auditing process by providing supporting documentation to auditors. A firm's management might also ask financial analysts to participate with a team in converting to a new property management database.
Points for Advanced Degree and Certification
An applicant for a financial analyst position at a real estate firm should have relevant experience in real estate and three to five years of experience working in finance or accounting. Candidates should have a bachelor's degree. Employers prefer that applicants also hold a Master of Business Administration degree or a Certified Financial Analyst's designation. Experience with international business is also a plus.
Wanted: Number-Crunching Team Players
Candidates should be prepared to demonstrate a high degree of organizational, communication and analytical skills. Employers seek versatile analysts with problem-solving ability. Candidates should have advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel and enterprise resource planning software. Financial analysts interact with colleagues in other departments, so they should be team players.
High Growth and Competition
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment of financial analysts, including real estate financial analysts, will grow 23 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is faster than the average for the average of all occupations in the U.S. Growth in financial services is expected to create new positions, but there are still more people who want to become financial analysts than there are jobs available. Having professional certifications and advanced academic degrees can improve job applicants' prospects.
- Commercial Real Estate; David M. Geltner and David G. Miller
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