Financial analyst | Career Tiger (2024)

Offinancial analystlooks at the company and its environment and investigates the financial and economic consequences of policy changes and events at the company and in the environment.

The competition is launching a new product on the market, people over sixty have more money to spend, the euro is becoming stronger... What does this mean for a company? It is not enough just to know what last year's profit was. What will the profit be this year, and next year and in ten years? How can a company successfully respond to the changing world? Thevisionand the foresight of the entrepreneur is indispensable here, together with the sharp mind of the financial analyst.

What does a financial analyst do?

The financial analyst examines the financial and economic situation of a company, looking not only at the company, but also at the environment.

Financial analysts are concerned with:

  • performing financial analyses: What are the annual costs of the new distribution method? What is the expected turnover of a new product? What are the financial consequences of selling a business unit?
  • providing financial and economic informationadviceto management
  • participation in projects, both within and outside the finance department. For example, the financial analyst is working on the introduction of the BusinessBalancedScorecard, a way to overview a company's performance at a glance
  • drawing up an economic forecast or aSWOT-analyse(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • calculating scenarios. What happens if interest rates rise by one, two or three percent next year?
  • supporting thecontrollerwhen preparing monthly and quarterly reports and the annual accounts
  • supporting the controller in drawing up budgets and multi-year plans.

The range of duties of the financial analyst is diverse and highly dependent on the type of company and the size of the company. As a rule, the larger the company, the higher the positionmore specializedis becoming.

Financial analyst | Career Tiger (1)You as a financial analyst?

Isanalyticaland independent thinking is your strongest quality as a financial analyst. Numerical insight alone is not enough. You must be able to think abstractly and gain new insights by combining various data. This is what you have to dolefto come up with unusual combinations.

You often have to collect the data you need from colleagues and yourselfnetwork, hence your goodcommunication skillshave. You must also be able to convey your findings well, both in writing and orally, although your audience (for example management or account managers) is not always financially literate.

You shouldn't let yourself get discouraged easilyassertiveare. You'll need information from people across the company and not everyone will be willing to provide it. You must then be decisive enough to still get your information.

Because as a financial analyst you often work for larger organizations, it is important that you at least have a good command of the English language.

Where do you work as a financial analyst?

You usually work for larger organizations - both profit and non-profit - within thestaff departmentfinances and report to the controller or financial director. Many financial analysts also work at consultancy firms.

Examples

Management wants to introduce a system of performance pay, whereby the salary depends partly on the performance of the company as a whole and partly on the individual performance of the employee. The general manager has come up with various variants for this and asks you to calculate the consequences for salary costs. You must also investigate whether the performance reward is in line with the market.

An important competitor unexpectedly introduces a new product and gains market share as a result. Management wants to explore how the company can deliver a similar product, either by developing it itself or by acquiring a company with the right expertise. You calculate both options and investigate whether there are alternatives.

A medium-sized insurance company is considering its position in the Dutch market. The company sells both life insurance and non-life insurance. Life insurance provides a decent profit, but non-life insurance causes losses. One option is to divest the non-life part of the company. Management instructs you as a financial analyst to investigate the consequences of this. An important consideration is that many customers enter the company as a (loss-making) non-life customer and only later become a (profitable) life customer.

How do you become a financial analyst?

A university education orHEAO Business Economicsis an excellent starting point for a career as a financial analyst. As you become more experienced, your position willmore independentbecome. In your first job as a financial analyst, you are often involved in preparing monthly and quarterly reports, as an assistant to thecontroller.

How do you find a job as a financial analyst?

Search in financial-administrative andgeneral job boards, doeopen applicationsand make sure everyone in your network knows you are looking for a new position.

Application tip

Make sure you are aware of common terminology and abbreviations such as BBSC,SWOT, ABC, CVA, ERP and EVA.

Career

From your experience as a financial analyst you can grow into a financial or managerial position, for example as a controller or financial director. As your experience grows, you will be eligible for more independent positions. You can develop as a financial expert or move more in the direction of strategic management.

You can also work as a financial advisor, self-employed or employed by a management consultancy firm, such as KPMG or Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Job titles

Business analyst, finance analyst, management information employee, (business) economics researcher, (senior/junior) planning & control employee, assistant controller.

Recommended books

  • Controlling in practice(book series) by various authors, Kluwer publishers. Each book in this practical series discusses a specific topic, such as administration, management accounting and financing. Interesting parts of the series for financial analysts are:Activity based costing,Cost control,Projects under controlinManagement information.
  • The co*ckpit of the organization. Performance management using scorecards.L. Kerklaan, et al., publisher Samson H.D. Tjeenk Willink, ISBN 9014079842. Organizational consultants are constantly devising new methods for the best possible management of companies. This booklet introduces the Organizational co*ckpit, a variant of the business balanced scorecard, in which the development of an appropriate set of performance indicators is discussed in detail. The author's vision is: vision, focus, action: without vision no strategy, without strategy no indicators and without indicators no action. The book contains extensive practical examples.

Recommended websites

Sources

Material from various higher professional education courses, internet, and various vacancies for the position of financial analyst. Conversation with a controller.

Author: Arjen Ligtvoet

I'm an experienced financial analyst with a proven track record in examining companies and their environments. I've conducted in-depth analyses of financial and economic implications of policy changes and events within and outside organizations. My expertise extends to providing strategic financial advice to management, participating in projects, and contributing to the development of tools like the Business Balanced Scorecard for comprehensive performance evaluation.

In the provided article, the role of a financial analyst is discussed in the context of examining a company's financial-economic situation and its response to policy changes and external events. The article highlights the diverse tasks that financial analysts engage in, ranging from financial analyses and economic forecasts to supporting the controller in various reporting and planning activities.

Let's break down the key concepts discussed in the article:

  1. Financial Analysis:

    • Involves assessing annual costs, expected revenues from new products, and financial consequences of business unit sales.
  2. Financial-Economic Advice:

    • Financial analysts provide advice to management based on their analyses.
  3. Project Participation:

    • Financial analysts may work on projects both within and outside the finance department, such as implementing tools like the Business Balanced Scorecard.
  4. Economic Forecasting and SWOT Analysis:

    • Financial analysts are responsible for creating economic forecasts and conducting SWOT analyses to evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
  5. Scenario Analysis:

    • They analyze different scenarios, such as the impact of varying interest rates on the company.
  6. Supporting Reporting Activities:

    • Financial analysts assist controllers in preparing monthly and quarterly reports, as well as annual financial statements.
  7. Budgeting and Long-Term Planning:

    • Involved in supporting the controller in budgeting and creating multi-year plans.
  8. Analytical and Communication Skills:

    • Financial analysts must possess analytical and independent thinking skills. Effective communication, both written and verbal, is crucial, especially when presenting findings to non-financial stakeholders.
  9. Networking and Data Collection:

    • Gathering necessary data often involves networking and communication skills to collect information from colleagues and the broader professional network.
  10. Language Proficiency:

    • Proficiency in the English language is emphasized, particularly for financial analysts working in larger organizations.
  11. Industry and Company Size Dependency:

    • The scope of responsibilities for financial analysts varies based on the industry and size of the company.

The article also provides examples of real-world scenarios a financial analyst might encounter, such as evaluating the financial implications of introducing a performance-based salary system or responding to a competitor's market entry with a new product.

For those aspiring to become financial analysts, the article recommends pursuing a degree in Business Economics (WO or HEAO) and suggests potential career paths, including advancement to roles like controller or financial director. It also mentions opportunities to work as a financial advisor, either independently or within consulting firms like KPMG or Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

The recommended books and websites provide additional resources for individuals interested in furthering their knowledge in financial analysis.

Financial analyst | Career Tiger (2024)

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