A professional who has the skills to offer financial guidance to businesses and individuals for their investment decisions, after analyzing their financial health, is known as a Financial Analyst. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of financial analysts will grow much faster than other occupations. Senior financial analysts are responsible for a variety of duties, typically determined by the industry and size of the business. For example, a senior financial analyst in a manufacturing firm may be required to provide financial forecasting reports and recommend cost reductions. A real estate development company’s senior financial analyst could be responsible for preparing analytics and financial models relating to prospective lease activity.
A service provider may require its senior financial analyst to ensure compliance with GAAP and regulatory requirements, and oversee mergers and acquisition activities related to audits and finance. Depending on the company, senior financial analysts may supervise and help develop other finance staff members. They may also oversee reporting, data management and monitoring of financial software, and they may serve as managers on special projects. Preparing reports, such as ad hoc analyses for all levels of an organization is another important aspect of the senior financial analyst position.
Auditing activities, both interim and annual external audits, typically fall under the senior financial analyst’s scope of duties. According to national salary data on , as of December 2010, senior financial analysts had a median total income of about $74,806 per year, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $63,209 and $86,404 in total pay. The top 10% of experienced professionals in this occupation category are reported to earn around $139,350 annually, while the average salary is reported to be $85,240.
Data also indicated that senior financial analysts with a master’s degree can earn significantly more than those with only a bachelor’s degree In fact, based on 75th percentile salary figures, graduates with MBA earned $83,997 per year, while those with a BS in Finance earned $75,606 per year – a differential of over 11%. Salary levels are typically commensurate with education, professional credentials and experience. The data shows senior financial analysts with solid experience and advanced education are rewarded with top salaries.
Successful candidates for most senior financial analysts will hold at least a bachelor’s degree Because these positions are highly desirable, leading firms typically prefer to hire those with an MBA and prior financial analysis experience. Top employers look for senior financial analysts with solid organizational skills and a demonstrated financial and analytical ability.