A financial management works with budgets, reviews expenses and finds ways to improve the financial efficiency of a firm or organization. Government agencies and private sector firms employ one or more analysts to review financial data related to specific projects or areas of operation. Typically, a financial management analyst must work closely with departmental managers to gather accurate information and to strategize on ways to cut costs without slowing down production or disrupting workplace operations.
Generally, a financial management analyst must have a college degree in finance, accounting, business, economics or a similar topic. Many employers require analysts who oversee major projects to have an advanced degree and several years of industry experience. In some instances, a financial management analyst may have to review data and make decisions that pertain to marketable securities. Consequently, analysts often have to obtain securities licenses since laws in many nations prevent non-licensed personnel from making decisions related to stocks, bonds and other types of securities.
Most firms and government agencies produce annual budgets and these reports are sometimes made publicly available. Budgets contain profit projections and a summary of the firm's anticipated expenses and revenues. A financial management analyst usually helps the firm's management team to prepare the budget. Throughout the course of the year, the analyst has the responsibility for producing monthly reports that detail income and expenses. Analysts often produce commentaries that detail areas in which the organization's costs have deviated from the annual budget.
Non-profit organizations have to maintain a balanced budget which means that the entity's income must precisely offset its expenses while businesses must generate profits to remain solvent. A financial management analyst must notify the organization's managers and leaders if a budget shortfall seems likely. The analyst must identify the cause of the lost revenue and make recommendations about how the organization can compensate for the lost funds. If a firm sells fewer goods than anticipated, the analyst may suggest cutting costs by slowing down production, laying off workers or finding ways to eliminate other costs such as advertising or marketing.
Organizations often borrow money by issuing long-term debt instruments known as bonds. A financial analyst must prepare reports for the organization's directors that detail the pros and cons of selling bonds as opposed to selling stock or obtaining a conventional bank loan. The analyst's report must include a detailed analysis of both the short-term and long-term impact of borrowing money or selling equities. In most instances, analysts provide opinions but the organization's owners or directors make the final decisions on financial matters relating to borrowing funds, cutting costs and other types of financial management.