Financial reporting analysts are usually responsible for gathering and analyzing financial data for an organization. In most cases, these professionals consult financial executives on how best to plan for the future. They might also prepare financial statements that are used in external auditing processes. While this kind of professional might work as an in-house professional in a finance or accounting department, a financial reporting analyst might also work for a financial consulting firm. In these cases, the analyst often is contracted by an organization that needs assistance preparing documents for external or internal audits.
Professionals in these roles almost always have undergraduate degrees in fields such as finance or accounting. In more competitive job markets, they have master's degrees in these fields. It also is common to find analysts who have professional certification, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification in the United States.
A financial reporting analyst commonly uses software to gather information and generate reports. He or she might compose spreadsheets or graphs that illustrate data regarding revenue, accounts receivable, and other aspects that reflect the overall profitability of an organization. It is common for a reporting analyst to present this information to managers and executives, who use an analyst's understanding of data to develop strategies for growth.
When a financial reporting analyst performs external reporting, it usually is for tax purposes. Regulatory agencies supported by government might request audits, in which case the analysts are responsible for gathering requested statements. They also prepare financial intelligence for individuals such as shareholders and investors who have interest in an organization's performance.
A financial reporting analyst often is a high level professional. He or she is responsible for seeing the big picture, as opposed to department or branch accountants who oversee financial matters related specifically to their areas. It is common for a reporting analyst to meet with department and branch accountants to discuss the needs of their areas. Likewise, an analyst might present them with budgets and instructions for spending.
In some cases, these analysts look at greater issues, such as market behaviors and business environments. These analysts can act as consultants at the executive level. They might encourage company decision makers to start making certain products depending on market trends. It might also be the job of an analyst to predict demand and profit margins in new markets. Executives commonly hire analysts from outside their organizations for this kind of service so they can receive objective analysis.