How to become a financial planning analyst
Financial planning analysts provide holistic views of a company’s financial performance. Their budgets and forecasts affect other departments. As an analyst, you might need to work with the other departments.
For example, an FP&A specialist might work with the accounting department to ensure budgets are accurate and obtain input from the sales department to set reasonable benchmarks and track performance. If you’re interested in pursuing this role, here is a breakdown of the required education and skills.
Education requirements and certificates
Financial planning analysts have a significant influence over the financial plans and strategies of a company. Therefore, positions require a solid knowledge base that includes an understanding of business.
According to BLS, financial analyst entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field, like finance or accounting. You might also consider an undergraduate program that includes a financial planning certificate.
In addition to business, financial planning analysts can choose to study accounting or finance. These two degrees offer different advantages: Accounting focuses more on budgeting and planning while finance focuses more on analytics and the financial aspect of business operations.
While most employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, BLS reports that some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Though postgraduate degrees may not be necessary to obtain an analyst job, an MBA, along with experience and specialization, may be necessary to qualify for more senior positions.
A stand-alone financial planning certificate program can help you specialize in FP&A if you have a relevant degree. Industry certifications and licenses may be preferred or even required depending on the employer. BLS notes that a license is generally required to sell financial products. These licenses often require sponsorships by employers, meaning they will not be expected prior to being hired for a position. Industry certifications may also be preferred or required, but that is up to the employer.
Financial planning analyst job outlook and salary expectations
Financial analysts earned an annual salary between $58,950 and $169,940 as of May 2021, according to BLS. Salary can vary depending on experience, industry, employer size, education and location. BLS projects the demand for qualified analysts to grow by an estimated 9% from 2021 to 2031.
Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
BLS Occupational Employment Projections, 2021-2031 is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.
Earn your degree at University of Phoenix
If becoming a financial planning analyst sounds like the career path for you, UOPX can help. The University offers a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Financial Planning Certificate that teaches critical skills like strategic financial management and investment fundamentals.
UOPX can help you feel great about making your decision to start your degree. From fixed tuition to around-the-clock-support to opportunities to earn credit for work and life experience, UOPX offers ways to save time and money on your degree. To learn more, visit phoenix.edu. Here is a brief look at other relevant programs to consider if you’re interested in financial planning and business:
- Financial Planning Certificate (Undergraduate) — In as little as seven months, students can gain skills to help others navigate the world of investment and financial planning. This program teaches how to build personal finance plans, analyze investments, manage portfolios, help clients choose insurance coverage and more.
- Bachelor of Science in Business — This online degree program prepares students for management roles in a variety of organizations while also innovating for the future of business with coursework like inclusive leadership. Courses also teach how to integrate decision-making skills to address business needs, integrate business concepts and principles to advance organizational goals, analyze interrelationships among distinct functional areas of an organization and analyze logistics involved in global business operations.
- Bachelor of Science in Business with a Financial Planning Certificate — With skills you’ll gain in this program you can help people make wise money management choices. Skills taught in this program include financial planning and analysis, operations, management, leadership and communication.
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting with an Associate of Arts with a concentration in Business Fundamentals — In this program, you’ll learn skills such as recording and communicating measurable business activities to stakeholders, analyzing financial statements, and applying accounting principles to domestic and international transactions, taxation and auditing.
- Master of Business Administration — This program aids in developing skills to make important business decisions such as operations, communication, leadership and management skills.