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What does a Pricing Analyst do?

As a private-sector pricing analyst, it is your job to help your company or organization spend its money wisely–your work can help the company make or lose money. Pricing analysts, also called budget analysts and sometimes contract analysts, perform a variety of financial functions:

  • Reviewing business accounts to ensure accurate pricing
  • Establish criteria to achieve the best customer pricing
  • Help a company’s sales force with price negotiations
  • Analyze contracts for under performance

In the private sector, your main duties as a pricing analyst are to examine a company’s budget and eliminate waste or overspending. If you seek work with a county, state or federal government, your job is to help properly disperse funds to various programs and departments through close examination of operational and financial proposals and reports.

Your work could take in a multitude of directions, from working with state budgets and taxes, pensions, health and human services, healthcare, energy, education, transportation and technology. You could find yourself analyzing costs associated with winter storms, or helping a conservation group allocate federal funding–the field has limitless possibilities.

pricing analyst

Training and educational requirements

Most pricing analysts are required to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, finance, public administration, statistics or mathematics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. A strong aptitude for statistics and accounting can help you go a long way in the field of budget analysis, the BLS says.

Jobs with a great deal of financial responsibility often require a master’s degree, however. Pricing analysts with associate degrees usually are limited to entry-level work for a few years until they establish a proven work history. Additionally, you should be willing to adhere to strong ethical standards since you are dealing with sensitive financial information.

Work in the public sector often requires extensive experience, and you may have to earn the Certified Government Financial Manager designation, the Association of Government Accountants states.

Pricing analyst salary and job outlook

The field is expected to grow by 15 percent, the BLS reports. Job growth should be spurred by strong demand for financial analysis and accountability in the public and private sectors. Job seekers with master’s degrees face the best job prospects.

The federal government employed the largest number of pricing analysts, followed by state and local governments. These organizations accounted for 43 percent of employment. California was the largest state employer.

Budget analysts earned the best median annual wages in Washington D.C., Virginia, California and Connecticut.

What does a Procurement Specialist do?

Are you a smart shopper? Sometimes, there’s more to it than meets the eye. You need to research alternatives, weigh the trade-off between quality and price, and negotiate with vendors. If those are things you think you can do well, then you should consider a career as a procurement specialist.

A procurement specialist is a person who is responsible for obtaining the goods and services an organization needs to function. This can include everything from office supplies to inventory. Obtaining things on time and at a competitive price can have a direct impact on an organization’s profitability and performance. This is why becoming a procurement specialist can be a rewarding career.

procurement specialist

Job requirements for procurement specialists

There are several job titles for people who have the responsibility to obtain goods and services for an organization’s use. They may be known as procurement specialists, purchasing agents, or purchasing managers, among other things. Just as the title may vary, so may the particular prerequisites for the job, depending on the organization. You are likely to need at least a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree can enhance your chances at advancement or getting a procurement job with a larger organization.

Courses of study that can help prepare you for a career as a procurement specialist include general business classes, budgeting, accounting, logistics and negotiation. It is extremely helpful if you can gain some experience related to procurement, such as in a support role, before seeking lead responsibility for procurement.

Another way to enhance your career credentials is by obtaining certification from the American Purchasing Society. This organization offers designations for Certified Purchasing Professionals (CPP), Certified Professional Purchasing Managers (CPPM), and Certified Professional Purchasing Consultants (CPPC).

Career opportunities

Procurement specialists, purchasing managers or purchasing agents can be found in organizations of all sorts, including businesses, schools and government agencies. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the greatest concentration of these jobs can be found in the Washington, DC area, but because of the wide variety of organizations that need this function, you should be able to find career opportunities in most parts of the country. These opportunities remain widespread despite the fact that the decline in U.S. manufacturing and the emergence of the Internet could stunt employment growth in this field in the years ahead.

You may already know that smart shopping can save you money. If you pursue a career as a procurement specialist, you might also find that smart shopping can make you money as well.

What does a Stock Broker do?

Stock brokers aim to generate profit by investing in financial products such as shares and securities on behalf of private, corporate, and individual clients.

What are the typical job responsibilities of a stock broker?

A stock broker is qualified and registered to conduct a transaction on the stock exchange on behalf of clients. They also sometimes act on their own behalf.

They are expected to be experts with up-to-the-minute knowledge and understanding of the financial markets. They are paid, usually on commission, to make sound investment decisions and provide well-informed advice. Their job typically involves:

  • Determining clients’ requirements e.g. how much they want to invest, what level of return they hope to gain, what level of risk they are willing to accept
  • Conducting research about the financial markets
  • Advising clients about investments
  • Conducting buying and selling transactions on behalf of clients
  • Monitoring the performance of clients’ investments
  • Attracting new clients and generating a client base

stock broker

You can expect to work relatively long hours–typically over 40 hours per week–including evenings and weekends at the convenience of your clients, many of whom may work during regular working hours.

What are the education and licensing requirements?

You need to gain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, economics, or finance to begin a career in this occupation. If you can get an internship in the summer before your final college year, as many would-be stock brokers do, it can help you gain full-time employment after you graduate.

Gaining a MBA or professional certification can be beneficial for advancement in your career.

In addition to your education, useful attributes include:

  • Research skills
  • Ability to remain calm and work effectively under pressure
  • Confidence in decision making
  • Good judgment of risk
  • Strong analytical skills

A stock broker must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as a representative of their firm. To become registered, you need to be employed by a registered firm for a minimum of 4 months and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination plus, in most States, the Uniform Securities Agents States Law Examination. To maintain your registered representative status, you need ongoing computer-based training that keeps your knowledge current.

Certification such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, indicates experience and ongoing education, and can help enhance your professional status.

You may also need other licensure to sell certain products or services.

Earning potential

Becoming a stock broker is a lucrative and attractive career choice for anyone with a head for figures and strong risk-analysis skills.