Being a financial analyst at an investment bank

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Financial analyst jobs are popular accounting roles, primarily because they are analytical and future-focused rather than process-oriented in nature.

Here we explain some of the key features of the role and offer some advice on how to secure a financial analyst job at an investment bank.

 

 

Financial analyst roles are more diversified than traditional accounting roles. As a financial analyst, you will work closely with a number of business units at a bank rather than just one, as is typically the case with many finance positions. Salary levels for financial analyst roles are competitive, ranging from $75 - 140k at the senior level.

What does a financial analyst do?

Typically, the tasks of a financial analyst include playing a key part in budgeting, forecasting, variance analysis and aiding decision makers charged with developing business strategies.

"The role of a financial analyst can be relatively ad-hoc in nature and you may find yourself involved with tasks such as system migrations, product development projects, and pitching ideas and key findings to senior stakeholders." - Nick Louca, Associate Director (Robert Walters, New York)

As a financial analyst, you will routinely interact with individuals in senior positions from a variety of the bank’s team’s right from the start. There are not many accounting positions that offer this level of exposure at such a junior level, so if you want to be a financial analyst, it is imperative that are you a confident communicator.

Responsibilities of the role

The finance manager role tends to vary according to the size and type of business. In larger businesses, finance managers are normally responsible for one segment or product line, which is perfect for anyone looking for a move into their first management role. In smaller businesses, finance managers can expect to be much closer to the board in a more hands-on role. If you work in a large FMCG business you can expect to be undertaking weekly analysis rather than monthly or quarterly reporting.

To be successful when applying for a finance manager position, you will need to demonstrate natural progression throughout your career, prove you have experience developing business strategies and mentoring more junior colleagues. You will also need a solid CV – employers generally look for stability, favoring professionals who have not changed jobs too frequently throughout their career. This generally means that the ideal candidate tends to have two to four years post-qualified experience, or one to three years if they have been working in a FTSE company. Crucially, businesses look for more than just an analyst; they want someone who can act on business performance. Strong MS Excel and Cognos Modelling skills are also a big plus.

In terms of career progression, many finance managers progress to a financial controller role - nd subsequently a senior financial controller - before becoming finance director.

Salary levels for financial analyst roles are competitive, ranging from $75 - 140k at the senior level. 

Find out more about the growing popularity of commercial analyst roles.

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