Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Financial Analyst

Job Description:

Financial analysts, also called securities analysts and investment analysts, help businesses and individuals make important investment decisions by evaluating investment opportunities and making recommendations based on economic and market trends. They monitor and assess the performance of investments, including stocks and bonds. Financial analysts will study a company’s financial statements to determine a company’s value and project its future earnings and prospects.

Most financial analyst positions require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, economics, finance, or statistics. Some employers may require candidates hold an MBA or master's degree in finance. Licensing is required for some analyst positions, and certification can provide career opportunities and advancement. Financial analysts can also become certified in their field.
Median Salary:
In May 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the states with the highest level of employment of financial analysts were New York, California, and Texas. According to the Robert Half 2013 salary guide, the average starting salary for a financial analyst with a large company ranges from $43,750 to $56,250. The guide also names financial analysts as one of handful of "positions in demand" as companies are seeking analysts with business expertise.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 23% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Financial analysts are more necessary than ever, especially as financial tools of the trade grow in number and become increasingly complex. As long as global markets in nearly every industry must regularly analyze their financial standing, financial analyst experts will be in-demand. The BLS cites the majority of financial analysts working in other financial investment activities, followed closely by management of companies and enterprises. Smaller percentages of financial analysts work in securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage, depository credit intermediation, and with insurance carriers. Over the next seven years, financial analysts may be expected to feel the effects of increased limitations on spending at large banks, and seek alternative employment opportunities with private investment firms and smaller equity groups.

Continuing Education:

As a competitive industry, the best job opportunities in financial analysis are available to those with an advanced degree in finance or a related field, as well as professional certification, such as the universally accepted chartered financial analyst CFA) credential. Schools like the Business Training Institute also offer financial analyst specialty certification, including course work in core fundamentals, trends, terminology, and ethical practices. In addition, once the candidate has a job in the financial industry, many employers will sponsor that employee to be licensed as a financial analyst. Pursuing every available opportunity to obtain advanced education and certification may enhance career opportunities for financial analysts in this industry. Highly educated candidates with certification particular to financial analysis may be eligible to jump on the fast track to a senior position that is more tailored to their specific career goals.