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Financial Reporting Analyst: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the work responsibilities of a financial reporting analyst. Discover what skills and education are necessary, and check the salary and employment outlook to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Financial Reporting Analyst

Financial reporting analysts prepare documentation that reflects a company's financial standing. The information they compile is issued to internal and external sources and is used to create budgets, conduct audits and issue stock. They use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to create financial statements, shareholder reports and balance sheets, while ensuring accurate financial reporting throughout an organization by working closely with various departments and management. They analyze income and expenses, reconcile accounts, file regulatory reports, provide information to auditors and issue data used in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and annual reports.

Education/Licensure Bachelor's degree in accounting; some employers require certification or licensure
Skill Requirements Detail-oriented, knowledge of accounting procedures and financial reporting practices, understanding of software and database systems and excellent verbal and written communication skills
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $80,310
Career Outlook (2014 to 2024)* 12% growth

Source: *U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Most employers of financial reporting analysts require a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance, in addition to extensive experience in ledger accounting and financial reporting. A master's degree may be preferred by some employers for senior-level positions. Many employers also require a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) certificate or license. CPA licensing requirements are established by each state's Board of Accountancy. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) website provides detailed information about the exam process, testing locations and preparation tips (www.cpaexam.org).

Essential Skills

Financial reporting analysts must be detail-oriented with expert knowledge of (GAAP) accounting procedures and financial reporting practices. They should have solid working knowledge of software and database systems used in financial reporting, including standards, such as Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Strong PC skills and proficiency with spreadsheet programs, such as MS Excel, are essential. Financial reporting analysts must have excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to summarize and present complex financial data in an organized, concise manner. They must be able to work independently and have the ability to interact with coworkers, management, auditors and regulators.

Economic Forecast and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth of 12% during the 2014 to 2024 decade for financial analysts. An advanced degree and CPA certification may enhance career opportunities. In May 2015, the BLS reported that financial analysts made a median annual wage of $80,310.

Alternative Careers

Other careers in this field include:

Financial Manager

For those interested in designing financial strategies and choosing investment options for a company, becoming a financial manager may be the right fit. Financial managers oversee activities related to budgeting and reporting in addition to exploring methods of increasing profit margins and putting together financial reports. They also provide input about current and future monetary decisions and provide advice to upper levels of management.

To work as a financial manager, a bachelor's degree in business, economics, accounting or a related field is required, and many employers seek candidates who have more than 5 years of previous industry experience. As projected by the BLS, job opportunities for financial managers should increase by 7% between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $117,990.

Budget Analyst

If monitoring expenditures and helping companies stay on track financially sounds more appealing, consider becoming a budget analyst. These analysts perform many duties that include examining spending requests, assisting with department budget planning, forecasting future expenses and informing managers about available funds. Although many budget analysts with a bachelor's degree in business, finance, statistics or similar field qualify for this occupation, many employers prefer those with a master's degree. Optional professional certification for government workers is also available and can provide an advantage in the job market.

According to BLS estimates, over 60,000 budget analysts worked in the U.S. during 2014 and received $71,590 in median wages in 2015. Employment growth of 3% is predicted by the BLS from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than average.

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