Overview

A financial analyst researches wider economic conditions, along with sector and industry characteristics in order to produce a business decision or recommendation.

A financial analyst could, for instance, recommend buying or selling the shares in a company based on its overall current and predicted strength.

In order to do this work a financial analyst requires a good understanding of finance, as well as macro and micro economic conditions.

The financial analyst role is central in fulfilling an organisation’s strategic objectives so is both influential and motivating.

Entry and progression

Financial analysts work across:

  • practice
  • corporates
  • public sector
  • financial services
  • shared service organisations. 

Entry to financial analyst roles can be at school leaver or graduate level. Those who have gained experience working within finance can also move into financial analysis.

ACCA develops the skills and knowledge required by forward thinking professional accountants, including financial analysts.

Exam options

For those who work in financial analysis, or aspire to be a financial analyst, the most relevant exam options are:

Performance objectives

Remember it’s not just about exams. You need to have the right experience so that you are competent – you have the experience and knowledge – to start and continue your financial analyst career.

Performance Objectives (PO) which would provide great experience and must be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER) could include:

Competencies

High level competencies required by financial analysts include:
  • Governance, Risk and Control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
     

  • Ethics and Professionalism

    A. Develops advanced ethical values and professional skills in the promotion of public interest and the profession.

    B. Demonstrates personal effectiveness in fast changing environments.

    C. Encourages innovative thinking within the context of professional scepticism.

    D. Thinks proactively about the future, applying professional judgement and commercial intelligence and seeks specialist input when needed.

    E. Communicates effectively and influences others.