Financial analysts are the visionaries who see trends in the economy, and help clients make sound investments based on those trends. These professionals are able to not analyze information, but to share it with others. Working as a financial analyst can be a rewarding, lucrative career, but by consciously honing a certain set of skills, you can see even more success.
An analyst will know where to find the best information on investments -- but not only that, will have methods of organizing research and using it most efficiently.
Attention to detail
Whether it’s finding key information about a company that no one else knows about or unpacking a client’s profile to find ways to more efficiently invest a client’s money, attention to the changes in percentages or other details will go a long way toward success in this career.
Analysis of research
Perhaps the most important thing an analyst does is actually “analyzing” data. That involves unpacking the research they’ve done, compiling details gathered and then coming up with an organized approach for clients’ often-complex financial profiles.
Skills in mathematics
Naturally, being able to add, subtract, divide and even perform complex mathematical algorithms will help you analyze the value of investments and help clients get the most from each dollar invested.
Ability to make quick decisions
When a new opportunity comes up, a skilled financial analyst will be able to combine the background information he has with the new information and make on-the-spot decisions that can help clients get a jump on other investors who might be competing for the asset.
Nearly every profession requires computer skills, and a career as a financial analyst is no different. Analysts should be proficient in Microsoft Office applications such as Excel and PowerPoint, as well as being able to navigate internal company databases and financial software applications.
While the job is often about crunching the numbers, it’s also a service profession -- meaning analysts will need to work with actual clients. Without good speaking, listening and writing skills, analysts won’t be able to communicate the information clients need to have in order to make sound financial decisions.
To get a client to sign on, skills in persuasion are also important. Some of these are related to communication skills -- such as being able to speak and present information clearly. But in addition to this, a good financial analyst should be able to present a compelling argument about why he’s the right person to hire.
Looking toward the future
As a junior analyst, you’ll need to be good at developing relationships with your superiors as well. That’s how you’ll work your way up in the company or get promoted. As such, don’t overlook the value of hard work, of signing up for extra duties around the office, or of spending time outside work developing relationships with those who might be able to mentor you.
When you move into senior positions, the mentorship you received as a young analyst will now be flipped around, and you’ll be the one able to mentor those below you. This ability to reach out and ensure the success of those just starting out is not just a benevolent gesture, either. By spending time advising your inferiors, you can foster a more productive, more collaborative environment in the office -- which can in turn increase the business’ bottom line.
Some of these skills can be learned by studying economics or finance in college, while others are ones you’ll have to learn through hard work and experience. In any case, being good at all of these aspects of the job can be the key to a successful career.
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