A corporate analyst is a financial expert who evaluates a company's profits, net sales, and expenses. He or she advises executives on how to improve production and efficiency from a monetary standpoint. The analyst considers the past and present financial records of a company as well as market trends and the success of competitors to come up with better strategies. Corporate analysts are usually employed by specific businesses, though some professionals work for consulting firms that provide contract services to companies that need help establishing or changing financial policies.
A company depends on a knowledgeable corporate analyst to assess the success of advertising, production, and sales strategies. The analyst researches, calculates, and organizes statistics regarding profit margins and expenses, and identifies areas where a company can make improvements. He or she goes further to come up with practical ways to cut costs or increase profits by instituting new policies and procedures. The corporate analyst performs ongoing assessments and accounting duties to ensure that new policies are indeed effective.
Some corporate analysts work as industry consultants. Instead of working full-time for a company, the analyst is contracted by businesses within a particular industry to provide expert evaluations and advice. While a consultant performs many of the same duties as other analysts, he or she is able to provide objective assessments while knowing that his or her job is not in jeopardy if a mistake is made or the company ultimately goes out of business. A consultant must still provide consistent, reliable services to obtain other contracting jobs in the future.
An individual must obtain at least a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, or business administration to be considered for most corporate analyst jobs. Many large corporations and specialized industries require applicants to hold master's degrees or higher in financial management specialties. Some professionals begin their careers in entry-level accounting positions, moving up through the ranks within a company to become analysts, while others enter internship programs to gain experience under experienced analysts.
An experienced, successful corporate analyst usually enjoys many opportunities for advancement. After working for several years, a skilled corporate analyst may be awarded the chance to become an executive or partial owner of a company. An analyst with expert knowledge of broader business principles may have success opening his or her own consulting firm. Finally, some analysts choose to pursue education credentials to become university professors, where they can pass on information to the next generation of business professionals.