There are four steps required to become a commercial analyst: post-secondary education, related work experience, communication skills, and completing the job interview process. A commercial analyst is responsible for measuring the financial results of company activity and comparing them to targets. She completes complex analysis, writes reports, and recommends strategies to help the company meet its financial goals.
People who enjoy analysis, reading, and working independently find the greatest satisfaction in this type of work. Although commercial analysts are expected to have excellent communication skills, the most important skill for an analysis is data manipulation. Attention to detail, discipline, and focus are all essential for anyone who wants to become a commercial analyst.
The first requirement to become a commercial analyst is to complete a post-secondary education program. Since this role requires the analysis of financial information and the creation of recommendations, most firms require a certified professional accountant (CPA). The training required to meet this goal is a university or college degree in accounting, in addition to several years' accounting experience and completion of the Certified Professional Accountants® certification process.
Related work experience is typically in accounting, working in a company’s accounting department, or for an accounting firm. Commercial analyst is a mid-career position, with very few people qualifying for these roles directly out of school. Business experience and an understanding of the potential consequences are necessary to be effective in this role. This knowledge is only gained through work experience.
Communication skills are very important if you want to become a commercial analyst. The ability to transplant a complex financial analysis into a report or recommendation that clearly explains what needs to be done is critical to decision making. Many accountants invest in business writing courses to improve this vital skill.
During the job interview process, some companies will have a sample analysis exercise for candidates to complete. Financial data and reports are provided and the context explained. The analyst needs to review the information, ask the pertinent questions, and make a recommendation. This is one of the most effective ways to find a suitable candidate.
The role of commercial analysis may not be very exciting, but can be very interesting. As an analyst, you have access to the financial data regarding every aspect of the company's business. The recommendation that you make may result in company failure or success. Accuracy and maturity are valuable in this role due to the inherent pressure to make the company successful.