Financial Analyst

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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In a small business, the financial analyst might well be the owner/manager, with a certified public account (CPA) hired to do the accounting and prepare tax returns. In a mid-size business, a bookkeeper and one or two accountants might constitute the financial department. At this growth stage, however, the expertise of a financial analyst begins to take on added importance.

If the business manager is not conversant with accounting systems, terms, and statements, a financial analyst becomes essential. Some business employee must be able to take the financial reporting of the accountants and determine tax consequences, and project a budget. A financial analyst, whether the manager or hired consultant, needs to understand such distinctions as the manager's responsibility for earnings before interest and taxes, not net income after interest and taxes.

Temporary Experts

If there is no one to provide solid financial advice, the business might want to hire outside experts. Outsourcing of consultants is commonplace, and retired officers of businesses, and retired CPAs, are among the excellent personnel available. Temporary experts are available for a query, a problem-solving session, or a short-term project.

Another source of information and advice for small businesses and large corporations is the Securities and Exchange Commission at their Web site. The Commission has a Special Ombudsman for Small Business. Also, the Small Business Administration provides many services. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the organizational source for CPAs and information on accounting systems and procedures.

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