How to become a financial analyst

Posted by Fed Finance Canada in Our employment advice
Posted at 15/12/2021
How to become a financial analyst
Want to pursue a career as a financial analyst? Do you know what education and skills are required in order to become one, and do you understand the roles and responsibilities the profession entails?

In this article, our finance recruitment experts provide a comprehensive overview of the financial analyst profession, from tasks and role within the company to education and salary.


The role of a financial analyst

A financial analyst’s main task is to assess a company’s financial situation and come up with strategic solutions to help the organization reach its financial and accounting goals. Financial analysts often need to communicate directly with the CFOs and CEOs of the companies they work for.

They can work for banks, insurance companies, mutual or retirement fund brokers, stockbrokers, or financial companies that offer consulting, auditing or research services. In short, candidates who want a career as a financial analyst have a wealth of options.

A financial analyst’s tasks may include:

  • Gathering useful information for analysis
  • Processing, analyzing and organizing the information and incorporating it into business models
  • Generating financial statements and making recommendations based on the results of the analysis


What challenges do financial analysts face?

1. Tracking and understanding financial market fluctuations

Financial analysts need to track market fluctuations and industry trends in order to assess the performance of investments and analyze the data they collect to predict future performance.

This is done by reviewing public records and analyzing companies' financial statements to determine their profits, liquidity, earning potential and financial health. Staying on top of market trends also involves spending a lot of time reading industry and company profiles and following financial news.

2. Bridging the gap between investors and companies

Recruiters look for financial analysts who have experience liaising with company leadership to get a clear picture of their internal operations and financial position.

Many companies are eager to obtain new capital, so they also look for professionals who specialize in investor relations.

3. Forecasting with financial models

Modern financial analysts practice financial modeling, which involves using mathematical equations to predict future performance based on past performance while taking variables such as inflation into account.

Most financial models today are generated with the help of software designed specifically for the purpose. Therefore, many job offers require candidates to be proficient with computer tools.


Skills and aptitudes needed to become a financial analyst

The skills and aptitudes that are most sought after in financial analyst job offers are the following:

  • Excellent methodology
  • Diligence
  • A broad understanding of various aspects of society and economics
  • Sound judgement
  • Good communication skills for advising clients
  • Command of the financial analysis and computer software used in business (e.g. Microsoft Excel).

Knowing how to perform a financial analysis is not enough—people in this profession need to be able to make difficult decisions and communicate them to stakeholders.


Education needed to become a financial analyst

Generally, financial analyst candidates need an undergraduate degree in accounting, finance, business administration or another related field.

Employers may also require Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) certification.

To increase your chances of being hired as a financial analyst, you can obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. CFA is a prestigious title that is recognized across Canada and around the world. Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst is a great way to stand out to recruiters.


Job prospects and salary for financial analysts

Are you a finance or accounting candidate? Rest assured that salary prospects in the industry are excellent in 2021 and are looking equally positive for 2022. For financial analysts, who are in demand in a wide variety of fields, the prospects are even better.

According to the Canada Job Bank, the median salary for a financial analyst in Quebec in 2021 was $38.46/hr.

And according to Jobilico, the average salary for financial analysts in Canada is $75,093 per year. Note that there are significant disparities from province to province, and salaries fluctuate widely depending on the professional’s years of experience and the company where they work.


Find a financial analyst job in Quebec with Fed Finance

To become a financial analyst, you need a background in finance or accounting. Having the skills and aptitudes most sought after by employers is also a big asset for aspiring financial analysts.

Are you looking for a financial analyst position in Quebec? Fed Finance’s expert consultants can help you find a job that meets your needs. Check out our job offers in finance to find your dream job today!