a day in the life of a corporate finance analyst

The typical work schedule of a Corporate Finance Analyst could vary a lot based on the industry and company, but there are a few common tasks that they perform in almost every company.

Before explaining the typical work schedule, let’s discuss the skills required, work-hours, and the average salary of a Corporate Finance Analyst.

Skills Required

  • Analytics: ability to read large data sets and interpret it to provide actionable recommendations to business leaders (Operations, IT, etc.).
  • Communication: This role involves a lot of communication with senior leadership so it’s good to have the skills to present data and recommendations in a precise and easily digestible way.
  • Excel: This is your bread and butter. In this profession, you would be spending 80% of your time working on excel files.
  • SQL (Structured Query Language): You are not supposed to know this in all Corporate Finance roles but having a basic knowledge could make you a star of your team.
  • Detail Oriented: This role requires a lot of data crunching and the ability to give attention to every small detail.
  • No Error: Since most of the major decisions and public filings of a company may depend on this role so it’s important to be accurate with zero errors in your data.

Work-hours

The typical work hours could vary from 40 to 55 hours per week (Monday through Friday). The roles and responsibilities are clearly distributed in this profession so you are flexible to manage your work schedule. In other words, you could work 5 hours on Monday and 12 hours on Tuesday, and nobody will question you as long as you deliver your tasks within the assigned deadline. You could be asked to work on a few weekends too.

Stress Level: This role could be very demanding and challenging in high growth or tech companies like Google and Amazon as you are helping management in taking key business decisions and you can’t go wrong with your data and recommendations. In moderate or slow-growth companies, you could be working in a relaxed environment. But notice that you would be paid much higher in a high growth company compared to other companies.

Average Salary: The starting salary in a slow-growth company could be $60K – $65K, however, it could go up to $80K – $85K in a tech company.

Typical Work Schedule

  • Month-end close: In most of the companies, for the first five days of a fiscal month, you will be working on month-end close activities with Accounting. This includes validating the journal entries made by Accounting, requesting reclasses of those entries to correct accounts or departments.
  • Forecasting: The next three days will include a lot of meetings with business partners to discuss actual G&A (General and Administrative) spend and understand the variance from the prior forecast. You will also be discussing forecast for the rest of the year and uploading it in the financial tools (Oracle, SAP, etc.) later on.
  • MBR (Monthly Business Review): Most of the companies have a specific cadence to review their monthly financial data with the CEO and CFO. Your role would be to prepare these reports and review them with your leadership before they are shared with C-Suite. This may take the next two days of the month.
  • Ad-hoc Projects: The remaining 12 days of the month would be for working on ad-hoc requests from your leadership or business partners. Few times you may be asked to juggle between regular monthly activities and ad-hoc projects.
  • Budget Season: Most of the companies start working on their yearly budgets around the August timeframe. So, in addition to all the above activities, you could also be involved in preparing next year’s budget. This cycle usually runs from August to January of next year (until it’s approved by the Board of the company).
  • Peak Season: If you work in an e-commerce company (like Amazon), which receives an exponentially large number of orders during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas then the second week of November through Christmas day time frame could be overwhelming.

Could you be happy in this profession?

The answer depends on your definition of happiness. Chose a moderate-growth company if the work-life balance is important than money. But if your preference is to earn more money and reach a total compensation of $200K+ in 3-5 years then start your career with a tech company (like Facebook, Amazon, or Google) with an understanding that you could be working late nights for most of the days.

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