Financial analysis is a rewarding and challenging career for people in the financial services industry. Depending on the level of experience of financial analysts, their day-to-day activities may differ. The industry in which financial analysts work may also influence their job responsibilities and pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that financial analysts working in securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments, for example, earn a median annual salary of $100,790, and those who work in scientific and technical services make $92,180.
Entry-Level or Junior Analysts
Financial analysts who have little to no professional experience are responsible for gathering data, financial modeling and creating or maintaining spreadsheets. This helps entry-level analysts develop a fundamental understanding of the financial marketplace and environment.
Junior analysts may consider earning certifications and licenses like the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) certification. Because only a bachelor’s degree is needed to acquire an entry-level position as a junior analyst, many pursue their master’s degrees in the early years of their career to move up the ladder to better-paying, higher-level positions.
Senior analysts have more and better professional experience and academic credentials. Junior analysts can become senior analysts after developing their expertise in the field and pursuing continuing education. They need to grow a strong network of contacts. One of the main tasks of senior analysts is to develop relationships with companies and industry contacts as well as to be a representative of their own firm in the industry.
So what does a typical day in the life of a financial analyst look like? Here’s an example.
Early Morning (5:30-7 a.m.)
Check the news, international trade and markets. If there have been any relevant releases or developments concerning the market, then the analyst may need to “put out fires.” This can include updating data and alerting administrators about the change.
Morning Meetings and Check-ins (7-9 a.m.)
Contact or meet in person with colleagues, present investment ideas (if any) and meet with clients or potential clients. Depending on the time of the year, an analyst may need to plan projects, schedules and calendars around the ebb and flow of the market.
Project and Schedule Updates (Mid-morning to Afternoon)
Junior analysts may meet with a senior analyst in their firm to go over their collected data and financial models. Senior analysts may meet with their superiors to go over a business model or strategy. They may also spend time contacting investors and network contacts to grow the business.
Doing Lunch (Noon-3 p.m.)
Junior analysts may choose to make the most of their time by meeting with a mentor and planning the “next move” in their career. Senior analysts may lunch with industry contacts and help to build their networks in order to further their agenda.
Reviewing the Day (3-8 p.m.)
A lot can happen in an afternoon, which is why most analysts spend this time reviewing reports and releases to better plan for what the next day may bring. Senior analysts review earning reports, and junior analysts may review financial models and research notes for their own earnings releases. Later in the evening is a good time for junior analysts to meet with senior analysts to go over the numbers for the following day’s morning meetings.
To become a senior or junior level financial analyst one may be required to earn a Master’s of Business Administration. Touro University offers a variety of MBA programs with different specializations, all of which can be completed online at a reasonable price.