financial analyst

Interested in Becoming a Financial Analyst?

If you have a knack for working with numbers, you may want to consider a career as a Financial Analyst.  You will be charged with tracking equities and other financial instruments and making recommendations based on your research. Financial Analysts often work for investment firms, stock brokerages, insurance agencies, and banks.

Although there are different routes to a career in financial analysis, you will find more success if you know what employers are looking for and how they choose the best candidates.

Here are some insights and tips to guide your exploration.

Look at All that Financial Analysts Do!

These people are number wizards who worked comfortably amidst spreadsheets. Their abilities and interests have prompted the development of other assets that include:

  • Statistical analysis that guides decision-making based on significance trending.
  • Application of big data functions, from use of cloud-based data to projecting outcomes associated with performance improvements.
  • Up-to-date IT abilities that promote an organization’s data security and risk reduction, along with reporting and compliance functions.
  • Collaborative leadership skills and interpersonal abilities, supporting work across departments.
  • The ability to participate in corporate decision-making with refined presentation skills.

List Your Abilities and Interests

The role is continually evolving based on the needs of business and emerging technologies. You are a likely candidate for pursuing this role if you have some of the following:

  • An ability to see the big picture.
  • Strategic thinking skills.
  • A strong grasp of the latest technology.
  • A keen interest in statistics—the bell curve is a familiar friend.
  • An inclination toward leadership, as others see that ability in you.

Plan Your Next Steps to Becoming a Financial Analyst

Now that you’ve decided you have the prerequisites to become a Financial Analyst, it’s time for future planning. You know that there are several steps to take. Along the way, you’ll learn and gain valuable experience.

  • Build skills and gain a credential by delving into big data learning.
  • Gain experience in areas you want to strengthen.
    • Continually upgrade your business finance acumen.
    • Keep pace with IT changes. Request a work project that aids skill development.
    • Sharpen your presentation skills and comfort.

Are you a Financial Analyst looking for a new position?  You’re in the right place!  Click here to view Beacon Resources’ list of open accounting and finance positions.



innovative finance thinking

Stimulating Innovative Finance Thinking

Some believe that innovative thinking is reserved for the creative few. The truth is, most people have a creative streak. The trick is learning how to tap into that creativity.  Innovative finance thinking is behind creative innovations such as ATMs and PayPal.  As accounting professionals spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks they have more time to work on their creative streaks.  What innovative finance ideas is your business likely to develop?

Below are tips to spark innovative finance thinking in your financial professionals

Weigh the Benefits of Innovative Finance Thinking

Buy-in for becoming an actively creative organization begins at the top. Where do you stand on these points?

  • Most executives describe innovation as being linked with their growth strategy.
  • Companies that value fresh ideas realize greater growth and profits.
  • Be realistic about the rate of innovation success.

Time is of the Essence for Creativity

Sparks of insight and invention often emerge in quiet moments or during time on the trail. Your staff needs time to let flashes of creativity emerge. Steps to take include:

  • Offering employees free time to promote novel thinking. Let them know the amount of time per day or week without placing limitations such as where or when.
  • Checking in with finance staff about the effects of free time on their thinking process.
  • Keeping track of what you are learning about the relationship of free time and novel idea generation.

Create Collaboration and Cooperation

  • Foster inventive success by linking innovation with your overall business strategy.
  • Promote an atmosphere for collaborative thinking and cooperative action.
    • Ideas generated by other departments may prompt financial innovation.
    • Or, other departments’ challenges may be addressed by finance solutions.
  • Break down barriers that limit cross-departmental relationships and information exchange.

Make Space for Inventiveness

Create spaces that are inviting for colleagues to collaborate or step away from their usual work environments. An atmosphere of relaxation with natural light and plants fosters the fresh air that stimulates clear, creative thinking.

You may also enjoy, Financial Systems: Upgrade Success



Valerie Rodriguez

Val’s Bites: Getting and Holding On to Talent

Contingency and retained recruiters are unwittingly doing the job of employee retention for their clients and in the process, getting candidates some startling promotions.  Leadership is too lean, maxed out and overwhelmed.  Many people are realizing that they can do better: get the promotion, stretch their skills into a new area, have more flexible work hours, reduce their commute and increase their salary.

The Candidates

In defense of truly great candidates, I genuinely believe that most of them engage me with the intention to make a move and not just to leverage a deal to stay put. But, many get weak-kneed and remain with The Devil-they-know.  It’s just human nature.  The truth is, most people aren’t really unhappy.  In our current employment market, the best talent isn’t looking for more money.  They are looking for that “one thing” that they want to improve their lives.  Previously, when I secured candidates that “one thing” or even three things, things they never requested, I knew I could change a life.  That is the juice that has kept me in this  game all these years.  Not so much now.

Who’s Fault is it Anyway?

After the economic downturn of 2008-9, companies leaned up, it was a time to reconcile too many bloated and gluttonous years.  Companies had to switch things up, get nimble and creative again. Fast forward to today; now flush with cash, these companies have learned how to be lean and profitable, determined to go yet another quarter without additional headcount.  This was a pivotal moment, an important lesson.

Senior Managers have been overwhelmed, reaching the limit of being so deep in the weeds. They have done their part in rebuilding, shouldering the burdens to turn their shops around while sales increase. They need support.  So, let’s hire!  But wait… That 3-year Senior costs what?  $85-90K?   While you weren’t looking, the world changed. And your list of candidate “must-haves” have become expensive. You might have to cut that list down a bit or you could be waiting a long time to find that haystack needle. Hire someone smart and driven. They will learn quickly.  Grab that 2-out-of-3 while they are still on the market.  And if you want someone that doesn’t need any training or development, hire a highly-paid consultant to get you over a hump.

Supply and Demand

With available professional talent below 2%, candidates are king. Budget busters!  But it’s time to reallocate some of those dollars for essential hiring because here’s the real issue: parity. That affects the entire organization and stalls, even shuts down, the hiring process. HR and Comp professionals that’s where you come in!  Advise your leadership team of the massive shift that has taken place and the need to properly level out your teams. This is where the relationship with seasoned recruiters is most valuable. Professional recruiters live this every day. We see trends often before you do. Your salary surveys from last year when the budget was created are passé. The market for talent shifts monthly, almost weekly.


What does it cost to lose a solid employee who knows her job inside and out?  Plenty!  Lost productivity, morale, adding additional work to the team, training, loss of succession planning… Oops!  Should have been more proactive in engaging the workforce in their happiness quotient. Those counter offers you never made?  Now you do!  There have been some doozies, too. 30-40%, with fluffy new titles and retention bonuses.  And then there are those that aren’t so impressive but just acknowledging that an employee is needed is all it takes sometimes. The Devil-they-know.  Of course, the vast majority of these candidates will be back on the hunt within a year.  Statistics don’t lie.

Luring the Best Talent

The economy seems flush.  But is it?  Many are bracing for another downturn.  For now, many companies are growing and employees will continue coming and going.  So, how do you lure the best talent?  You don’t have to be trendy to attract great people.  Instead, have a great story about who you are, how you got there and where you are heading.  Be flexible with work hours and telecommuting. There is nothing more important to candidates than flexibility.

But, and this is a big but, if you are not prepared to bust that budget you set last year and make a truly jaw-dropping offer, don’t expect to see that candidate showing up on their new start date.  Their current employer will suddenly realize how much they are loved, bring out the violins, and that’s the end of that.  Low-balling is the death knell of the hiring marketplace. Take your recruiter’s sage advice!

So, here we are, in a unique time in the World of Work to address this crisis of employee retention.  Just how to do it?  Employee engagement.  One-on-one.  Frequently.  Don’t wait for the annual review.  That’s too late.  And give them support.  Employees need to be heard and maybe offered good food every now and then.  They don’t need many fancy perks at work — who really has time for that?  They just want to do challenging work, keep the Devil at bay, and get home to their real lives.

About the Author:

Valerie Rodriguez, Director of Consulting and Executive Search, Beacon Resources. Val specializes in guiding clients from startups to Fortune 1000 in growing their business and manages project initiatives through the acquisition/retention of top talent and identification of first class finance and accounting professionals in the Southern California region.