A financial data analyst prepares financial reports that serve as summary information for managers. The financial data analyst is responsible for identifying relevant insights and compiling analytical reports that enable other employees in the company to make sound decisions. Forward-thinking forecasts based upon financial trends research is typically a key component of the reports that a financial data analyst prepares. The financial data analyst may be required to compile information on the prices of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, variable annuities, and other key financial instruments that serve as valuable information gateways for the firm.
A financial data analyst is responsible for collecting information from other divisions of the company. Other responsibilities may include improving current methods used in the collection of data from other parts of the company while retaining the essential integrity and security of the information collected. The reports a financial data analyst prepares may also delve into the realm of non-financial reporting, depending on the needs of the hiring company. Overall, the data analyst's role is to encourage the transfer of relevant knowledge to the parties that require it the most.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a financial data analyst is around $60,000, with more positions available on the lower end of the salary spectrum at $40,000 and fewer positions available at the high end of the spectrum at $80,000.
While many of these positions are concentrated in New York City, there are also financial data analyst positions open through the remainder of the United States, such as in Dallas and San Francisco.
Versatility Within the Role
Since some of the necessary requirements for working as a financial data analyst may be to report on miscellaneous projects that fill the information needs of various departments within a firm, the data analyst should be comfortable with compiling, interpreting and reporting on information on a wide range of topics.
The types of firms that a financial data analyst works for tend to have higher workloads as the end of financial quarters nears, so the analyst should be able to work under pressure to maintain quality levels in reporting. Multitasking and adapting to new situations, formats of data presentation and adhering to deadlines are also likely to be required from a data analyst.
The data analyst role requires high organization and communication skills coupled with the ability to work independently or in a group setting based on company needs.
Experience and Education
To fill this position, a candidate may be expected to have one to five years of previous experience in financial planning and analysis, data analysis or a similar role. The candidate should have experience in interpreting and creating financial models as well as recent accounting practices. If the role is concerned with analyzing the data of the hiring firm to create more cost-effective internal business practices, the candidate may be required to validate information from previous years and interpret whether past measures to increase cost efficiency were effective.
A financial data analyst's role may be more specific to handling accounting information, business process information, internal company statistics, and financial reports, or information on outside companies. The nature of the role depends on the needs of the hiring company and determine if the data collection processes are from divisions within the company or outside the company, and the method of data retrieval that is required and preferred.
A financial data analyst should be able to interpret corporate reports such as quarterly earnings reports to help build sound financial reports if the interpretation of financial earnings statements is included in the job description.
The role is likely to require an understanding of SQL and various data models as well as in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Excel. Those looking to fill a financial data analyst position should be comfortable obtaining information from the Internet and distinguishing between reliable sources and unreliable sources.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are important for a financial data analyst, as are high attention to detail and the ability to become familiar with new information. Excellent communication skills are also critical, and prospective candidates should be able to retrieve information from a variety of sources, such as websites, company-provided logs, emails and calls with key contacts, or face-to-face interactions. The position may entail ensuring that information provided by the company to client databases is up-to-date and accurate to prevent conflicts.
If a financial data analyst must perform audits on information within a company to maintain the quality of business practices and customer relations, then the employee should be comfortable pointing out inaccuracies within current data sets and communicate the existence of discrepancies to management.
Licensing requirements for a position as a data analyst reflect the needs of the company and the specific duties that are required for the employee. If the function of the role is concerned mainly with accounting information, the financial data analyst might be required to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or to have a similar certification. If the data analyst's reports give recommendations on the purchase of equities and are given to retail clients, a Series 7 license is likely to be required to perform the necessary functions of the position.
Since the data analyst position may be facing a trend of being replaced by more senior and specialized roles within private equity and wealth management firms, companies will be hiring such financial analysts less frequently. As internships become more laborious and specialized, private equity firms are seeking to hire entry-level candidates who can perform more tasks and work more independently without the need for long training programs. If the current trend of hiring interns to fill the position of junior data analysts subsides, there may be additional growth for this position.