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How to Make the Leap from Accountant to Financial Analyst

December 15, 2015

How to Make the Leap from Accountant to Financial Analyst

In football, players are often asked to take on a new role for the good of the team. Defensive backs become, gasp, full backs and in the odd case, a college quarterback becomes a receiver. Those who can adapt, succeed, while those who can’t flounder at the wayside. For those of you looking to transition from accountant to financial analyst there are a number of qualities senior leadership is looking for. So put on your helmet (we love a good sports analogy) and make sure you keep your hands in the car at all times (we also love to mix our metaphors). Here’s how to make the leap from accountant to all-star financial analyst.

Accountant to Financial Analyst
All Star Quality #1 – Building Business Partnerships
For financial analysts to do their job well they must be able to develop relationships with different kinds of people. That’s why in our blog entitled, “Top 3 Interview Questions for a Financial Analyst” you’ll see a question such as, “Can you tell us about a time you built a business partnership in order to accomplish a company objective?” Remember, in any conversation you should try to listen more than speak. You’ll gain insight into a person’s thought processes and prevent misunderstandings that can derail a project or information gathering session.

All Star Quality #2 – Positioning
People need to hear information in different ways. What does this mean? It means that great financial analysts are able to translate complex information into key insights that their non-finance peers can understand and relate to. The way you position information can be the difference between getting buy-in or push back.

All Star Quality #3 – Track Record
To be a financial analyst you need a track record of project wins, along with success at identifying and implementing process improvements. You’ll also need to show how you've seen projects through to completion, since our research has revealed that the resilience required to finish a project or complex task is a key predictor of career success.

All Star Quality #4 – Deal with Ambiguity
Accounting tends to take a historical perspective. In contrast, financial analysts are largely forward looking. This means an analyst must be comfortable making assumptions, producing estimates and projecting future targets.

In general, analysts need to have strong relationship building skills. They have to deal effectively with ambiguity and generate buy-in by positioning information in the way their audience needs to receive it. And it goes without saying (but of course, we’re saying it) that they need to have advanced level Excel skills. If you want to make the leap from accountant to financial analyst evaluate whether you have the skills required. If not, your goal is still within your grasp. With some professional development you’ll be ready in no time.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

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