What does a Finance Analyst do?
The role of a Finance Analyst involves a wide range of responsibilities which are primarily geared towards supporting the business in understanding both current and historical data in order to make accurate financial forecasts and projections for the future. The Finance Analyst role is highly data driven, so a passion and aptitude for working with numbers in addition to strong Microsoft Excel skills are essential. The role involves having a high level of attention to detail in order in order to gather and organise financial data. This data is usually presented using Microsoft Excel models, presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint and flash reports created using Power BI (or equivalent), so experience and knowledge of these platforms is very important.
Finance Analysts can also have more commercial aspects to their role where it becomes more collaborative with different departments, decision makers and stakeholders within the business. It’s therefore important that the Finance Analyst is comfortable and confident in presenting data and working in collaboration with others to make accurate financial forecasts and projections.
A real aptitude for working with numbers;
A genuine interest in finances and business operations;
High attention to detail;
Experience in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Power BI flash reports; and
Comfortable working alongside multiple internal stakeholders.
How do I become a Finance Analyst?
A successful Finance Analyst will need to have a real passion for working with numbers and large amounts of data. Traditionally, they will have obtained an Accounting or Mathematics qualification, such as a Degree or AAT. Further qualifications such as ACCA or CIMA are also highly sought after for Finance Analyst roles. It is, however, possible to pursue a career as a Finance Analyst without these types of qualification. In this scenario candidates tend to do so via an internal route, gaining finance or analyst experience in other departments before moving across.
Depending on the type and scale of business, the Finance Analyst role can sit in the Financial Planning and Analysis team, reporting to the FP&A Manager or similar, or it can be more of a standalone role within the Finance team. The next step of progression for individuals who are established in their Finance Analyst role is to move into a more senior role or a management role taking on the responsibility of a small or large team.
Other paths for progression include that of a more commercial route into a Business Partnering role, dependent on preference. A large percentage of Finance Analysts pursue the ACCA or CIMA qualifications and many diversify into Management Accountant, Finance Business Partner or Financial Accountant roles.
Typical Job Spec for a Finance Analyst:
The general purpose of a Finance Analyst involves supporting the business in understanding current and historical data in order to analyse and create accurate financial forecasts and projections.
Core Role Responsibilities:
Maintaining and organising company data;
Data analysis using advanced modelling techniques;
Producing sales reports and providing analysis on margins and profitability on a monthly/quarterly/annual basis;
Support in data integration, system alignment and pricing refinement;
Analysis of historical data, perform variance analysis, identify trends, and make recommendations for improvements;
Providing insight into performance by analysing KPIs;
Assisting with the preparation of budgets and forecasting;
Delivering weekly trading results at review meetings and senior business stakeholders;
Providing financial support to various members of the team including Sales, Commercial, Marketing, and Technical within the Renewables area;
Process improvement and supporting with continuous improvement.