A project finance analyst provides support to organizations that can benefit from financial analysis during the development and implementation phases of large-scale projects. These personnel help companies make decisions on the basis of costs, potential benefits, and overall financial goals. The work usually requires at least a bachelor's degree in finance and experience in the field, as companies need financial analysts who are familiar with the kinds of activities they engage in.
These analysts are part of a team of individuals who review proposed projects before a company starts to seriously invest in development. They may consider the potential costs spread out over time, and can estimate the profits a project may yield. Costs can include those associated with research and development before a project can even enter production. These can be considerable and can limit opportunities, as companies may not be able to invest the necessary funds.
This job can also involve communication with financial institutions. A project finance analyst evaluates potential sources of funding and explores different financing options. These can include loans, government grants, solicitation of funding for investors, and a variety of other options. The analyst needs to be able to prepare a detailed breakdown of different options with advantages and drawbacks to help those making decisions.
As a project moves into development, the project finance analyst can supervise expenses as well as cash flows. The analyst assists with the creation of a stable financing structure to support the project and can step in if interventions become necessary. When companies start to go over budget, for example, the project finance analyst can determine how and why things went wrong, and help the project get back on track. Analysts can also work as auditors to review the finances of a project and look for signs of malpractice, fraud, and other issues.
Work as a project finance analyst can be highly varied. There are a number of ways to acquire the necessary experience, including assisting working analysts and working in other positions in an industry to develop a broad depth of knowledge. This work also typically requires professional development like attending conferences and reading trade publications to keep up with standards and practices in the industry. In some industries, legal concerns can also become an issue, and analysts need to track legislation, court decisions, and similar events to remain alert to changes that may impact their industry.