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How Long Does It Take to Be a Senior Financial Analyst?

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A financial analyst hopes to gain enough experience -- and the confidence of her supervisor -- that she becomes eligible for promotion to the senior analyst level. A junior financial analyst can take pro-active steps to accelerate the process of advancement. Standing out in presentations, taking the initiative to learn about financial analysis, showing supervisory potential and mastering financial analysis tools are all ways to increase your chances of being promoted and shorten the time to advancement. Although it depends on the company, the individual and whether there is a job opening for senior analyst, if you show this level of commitment to your career, three to four years is a realistic time frame to becoming a senior analyst, according to the Princeton Review.

Demonstrate Presentation Skills

Analysts are often asked to make presentations to the upper management of the company -- sometimes including the CEO and Board of Directors. A junior analyst must develop poise when speaking in front of a group of important executives in the company. He must be able to communicate ideas effectively in both oral and written form. Understanding the information that is most critical to the management team's decision making process allows your reports and analysis to stand out. Top management may mention the quality of the information you provide to your supervisor, increasing your chances for advancement.

Additional Education

Junior analysts can be individuals hired for that specific role or members of the accounting staff who move over to the financial planning and analysis staff. The company may require that candidates for senior analyst positions have a MBA degree. Even if this is not a requirement, taking night courses and obtaining this advanced degree demonstrates that you are serious about career advancement, particularly if you aspire to become the manager or director of the financial planning and analysis department.

Readiness to Supervise Others

The senior analyst may have junior analysts reporting to her. To be promoted to senior analyst, you must show that you are skilled in all aspects of supervision, including task delegation, motivation and effectively communicating deadlines and expectations to subordinates. This may seem difficult if you have not had supervisory experience before. One way to demonstrate your skills is to ask to be project leader on special analysis projects.

Tools of the Trade

In some companies the financial staff uses basic tools such as spreadsheet and word-processing software. In others, specialized forecasting software and other financial related software packages may be utilized. Make sure you demonstrate proficiency with these systems. Learn the more complex functions in the spreadsheet software that allow you to create more sophisticated analysis in your reports. Learn about the latest financial software by joining financial analysis discussion groups on social networking sites and recommend the best ones to your supervisor. Ask if you can attend training classes on financial analysis software tools.


Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."

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