Financial analysis, which is also known as accounting analysis, is an accounting degree career specialty in which an individual analyzes an organization’s business activities or an individual’s personal activities to identify the financial advantages and disadvantages associated with each activity. Financial analysts analyze financial documents and investment portfolios, as well as an individual’s lifestyle or an organization’s business activities to determine if those activities are sustainable. Additionally, financial analysts evaluate a client’s debts to determine if they will be able to pay off all of their debts over time or if they will eventually be required to pay more than they can afford.
Financial analysts also identify areas in which costs can be cut to help clients keep their total debt below an acceptable level; identify investment opportunities that an individual or organization may want to pursue; issue financial projections; and perform other similar tasks. Individuals in financial analysis may be required to perform a number of different tasks that vary from position to position, and an individual may be given any of a number of different job titles depending on the specific responsibilities of the position.
Some of the more common job titles for an individual in financial analysis include accounting analyst, budget analyst, credit analyst, financial advisor, financial analyst, financial manager, investment analyst, ratings analyst, and securities analyst.
A financial analysis position is often attainable with a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, a bachelor’s degree in economics or finance, a master’s degree in finance, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), or another similar degree from an accredited accounting college. Some employers, however, may require a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certificate, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate, a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certificate, or another similar certificate for some positions. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License, a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that is appropriate for the position , and/or another similar license may be legally required for some positions.