Research Analyst

A professional who performs research and analysis

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What is a Research Analyst?

A research analyst is responsible for researching, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting data related to markets, operations, finance/accounting, economics, customers, and other information related to the field they work in.  A research analyst is typically very quantitative, analytical, logical, and good at managing numbers and data.  This guide will break down the main aspects of being an analyst in different industries, with a focus on the finance industry.

Research Analyst at work with her boss

Types of Research Analysts

Research analysts exist in just about every industry but are more commonly found in some industries – such as the financial services industry – than in others.  Within a company, they might be found in a number of departments, with a number of different job titles.

The most common research analyst job titles are:

  • Market Research Analyst (Marketing)
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Economic Research analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Equity Research Analyst

What Does a Research Analyst Do?

A Financial Analyst is primarily concerned with performing financial forecasting, evaluating operational metrics, analyzing financial data, and creating financial models and presentations to assist executive management in its decision making and reporting on the financial performance of the company.

Job Responsibilities may include any or all of the following:

  • Analyze past results and perform variance analysis
  • Identify trends and make recommendations for improvements
  • Provide analysis of trends and forecasts and recommend actions for optimization
  • Identify and drive process improvements, including the creation of standard and ad-hoc reports
  • Use Excel functions to organize and analyze data
  • Create charts, graphs, and presentations for leadership teams
  • Develop recommendations to improve business operations going forward

What Skills/Personality Do You Need?

There are several key skills you should have in order to be successful in the field of research analysis. While everyone is different and all sorts of people can be successful as an analyst, there are some skills and traits that nearly all RAs share.

The most commonly found research analyst skills and personality traits are:

  • Good with numbers
  • High attention to detail
  • Inquisitive
  • Organized
  • Logical
  • Reliable
  • Ability to distill large amounts of information into specific takeaways

Jobs and Career Opportunities

One of the best ways to find job opportunities for analysts is by using the LinkedIn “job search” function and generating a list of research analyst jobs on LinkedIn.

You can refine your search by specifying a geographic location, industry, company size, or other criteria.  You can then easily apply for positions directly through LinkedIn, and also check to see if you have any 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree LinkedIn connections at the company.

Proper RA Training

Getting the proper training and mastering the necessary skills to be a research analyst is critical for both landing an analyst job and succeeding in it. Many analysts get their formal training at a university or through studying to obtain a professional designation like the FMVA (Financial Modeling Valuation Analyst) certification program that we offer here at CFI.

Analysts are increasingly turning to online training programs such as CFI’s to master the practical, hands-on skills they need for professional success.

Specifically, some of the most important areas of research analysis training include:

Research Analyst Model in Excel

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Types of Companies that Hire Analysts

There is a broad range of industries and companies that hire analysts to perform research.

Some of the most common types of companies include:

  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Governments
  • Health Care providers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Marketing agencies
  • Manufacturing companies

Additional Resources

Thank you for reading the CFI guide to Research Analyst. CFI’s mission is to help you advance your career. With that goal in mind, these additional resources will help you on our way toward becoming a top-tier financial professional:

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