An analyst performs various duties, depending on the job, the company's size, the industry and regulatory requirements. An audit analyst reviews a firm's internal procedures and verifies conformity to regulations, while a marketing analyst ensures that a product or service meets client needs. A corporate analyst usually has a bachelor's degree.
Nature of the Work
An analyst works under the leadership of a senior professional, ensuring that a corporation's financial, marketing, management and compliance processes are adequate and functional. For instance, a compliance analyst ensures that employees abide by laws, regulations and top leadership's directives when performing duties. A financial analyst compares a firm's historical and current data to detect economic trends and business performance indicators such as profit margin and return on equity.
Education and Training
An analyst usually holds a four-year college degree in a field relevant to his occupation. Some senior analysts have advanced degrees such as masters or doctorates. For instance, a bachelor's degree in a finance-related field is typically necessary for an analyst position in accounting, auditing, financial analysis and taxation fields. Some employers also require professional certifications such as certified public accountant (CPA) licenses.
An analyst's total compensation depends on her academic credentials and professional certifications. Other factors affecting remuneration levels include the company's size and industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accounting and auditing analysts earned median wages of $59,430 in 2008, excluding annual stock and cash bonuses, with the bottom 10 percent of the profession earning less than $36,720 and the top 10 percent earning more than $102,380. The same report indicates that median wages for financial analysts were $73,150 in 2008, with the middle 50 percent of the occupation earning from $54,930 to $99,100. BLS polls also show that median annual wages for management analysts were $73,570 in 2008, with the lowest 10 percent of the profession earning less than $41,910 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $133,850.
An analyst can seek a professional certification in a relevant field to improve his career growth opportunities. He also can be promoted faster by performing well and enrolling in a university's graduate program. Within a few years, a skillful and competent analyst can be promoted to a senior function, such as marketing associate, accounting manager or senior auditor.
An analyst works a typical 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. shift, but business conditions often may require longer stays at the office. For example, an accounting analyst may work late nights or early mornings to help with monthly accounting close procedures. She also may be busy at the end of each quarter with Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filings.
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