For someone who is mathematically skilled, adept at critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and good at using research, a job in one of these fields might be the right one.
Financial Analysts examine financial data and use their findings to help companies make business decisions. Often, their analysis is meant to inform the investing decisions of companies. Companies may also hire an analyst to use numerical data to pinpoint the efficacy of various marketing techniques relative to cost. Businesses that utilize the franchise model often have financial analysts who are responsible for tracking individual franchises or groups of franchises within a geographic region. The analysts determine where the strengths and weaknesses lie and make profit and loss forecasts.
An Investment Analyst is an entry-level finance professional who reviews investment transactions and recommends investment strategies for clients or an employer. The primary goal is to assess client or employer needs, project the outcome of potential investments and find opportunities that help meet clients’ or the employer’s financial goals. Investment Analysts research historical performance and current performance of stocks, bonds and markets, use existing models and develop new ones, compile reports on portfolios, transactions and projections using spreadsheets and other financial software.
A Financial Risk Specialist helps companies minimize the liabilities involved with business decisions by analyzing economic conditions and financial documents and providing advice. They help companies they work for stay financially healthy. Financial Risk Specialists review data to determine risks, create reports and summaries, develop quality control measures, find and report on asset losses, track and report on investment trends, and identify business requirements.
A Financial Specialist is a financial professional who helps prepare, maintain and invest individuals’ or companies’ money. They must have a comprehensive understanding of accounting, investing and financial products and services. Financial Specialists create and manage budgets, conduct financial analysis of personal or corporate accounts, research market trends, predict market behavior, advise individuals or businesses on investment decisions, project businesses’s future earnings, and buy and sell stocks and other securities, loans, credit cards, retirement accounts and checking accounts.
Because the competition is so great in these fields, a bachelor’s degree, preferably with a major in economics, finance, accounting or math, is a necessary requirement. Depending on which field you specialize in, you will have to take a certification exam, such as the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam, Series 63 or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program, to name just a few.