Certified financial analyst (or CFA) is a professional title or designation given to those who pass competency exams covering several areas. There are several levels of exams and they cover accounting, economics, ethics, money management and security analysis.
A certified financial analyst will provide guidance and analysis to businesses and individuals relating to their desired investment goals. They will gather and provide financial information and give their clients their recommendations based upon their analysis.
They are sometimes called security or investment analysts and can be found working in banks, insurance companies, mutual and pension funds, securities firms and other companies that seek advice on investment choices and decisions.
They can be found reading a company’s financial statements and providing analysis on what they have studied. This is done to determine what the company’s value is and also to assist in projecting the company’s future earnings. They are also involved with assisting management and helping to increase management’s effectiveness.
In order to qualify for the certification of a certified financial analyst, you must first have a college or university education. Most companies want to see that you have at the very least a bachelor’s degree but an advanced degree is even more advantageous. Your course load must include classes in accounting, economics, statistics and finance. If you also have included classes in corporate budgeting, accounting policies and procedures and risk management that is also desirable.
Many financial planners have worked previously in accounting, auditing, insurance, law, securities and commodities, business and mathematics.