A commercial analyst researches costs, expenditures, and sales at a company to determine how to improve the organization's financial standing. He or she helps set financial goals for a business, analyze problems, and initiate new policies in different divisions. The work of a commercial analyst is essential in creating the most efficient production and marketing strategies. Most commercial analysts work full time for large corporations, though some experts act as consultants for many different clients at a time.
The primary responsibility of a commercial analyst is to scrutinize sales figures for different product lines. An analyst reviews records from previous years and quarters and compares them to current figures. He or she also looks at the performance of competitors to gain a better understanding of the successes or failures of a particular product or marketing strategy. The analyst compiles data and often designs charts, graphs, and computerized presentations to help executives understand the significance of findings.
When profit margins are not as large as expected, the commercial analyst tries to determine the best methods of improving sales. The analyst works with detailed economic and mathematical models to predict the effects of lowering prices on certain goods or altering shipping methods. By predicting the future outcomes of hypothetical changes, analysts help executives make the smartest business decisions.
Many commercial analysts are active participants in policy-making decisions at a company. His or her expertise is invaluable to the development of more efficient and cost-effective production techniques. Analysts may offer their professional opinions about the importance of quality training programs for new workers and long-term investments in new technology. Some analysts also help marketing experts develop new advertising campaigns that will better capture the attention of specific customer bases.
The requirements to become a commercial analyst vary between industries and specific employers. Most working professionals possess at least bachelor's degrees in accounting and have several years of experience in financial analysis and planning. Experienced accountants can improve their chances of finding commercial analyst jobs by passing national certification exams and joining professional societies dedicated to advancing the profession.
Some commercial analysts decide to open their own businesses after working in the field for many years and building a solid network of clients. As an independent accountant, an analyst makes him or herself available for hire on a contract basis. He or she handles administrative tasks, such as hiring assistants, advertising services, and managing taxes. Independent analysts who are able to maintain clients often enjoy a great deal of freedom in when and where they perform their work.