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actuary

What does an Actuary do?

In a world in which risk and uncertainty are present in all aspects of human life, an actuary is a skilled professional who has been trained in the assessment of those elements to determine their financial impact. Actuaries use their mathematical skills to evaluate the likelihood of certain events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, then go on to tally the possible outcomes and propose measures to minimize the financial impact associated to them. For example, when a hurricane causes heavy damage to a certain area, an actuary must assess the risk of it happening again over the long term to be able to set prices for property insurance and reserves that will prevent future financial loss.

What sort of training and education will prepare me to become an actuary?

Because of the specialization an actuary needs to be able to accurately assess risk and uncertainty, training is extensive and involves several years. When you are looking to become an actuary, you will need to place your focus on subjects such as calculus, probability and statistics, economics, finance, and business.

While courses in finance, math, economics, or statistics are desirable when you want to become an actuary, many different backgrounds can be helpful, including research and physics. This means you will require at least four years of college prior to becoming an actuary. In some cases, a master’s degree in math or actuarial science are a good choice if your undergraduate studies were in liberal arts or other unrelated subjects.

Once you have finished college and earned your bachelor’s degree, you will have to start taking a series of preliminary exams that will determine whether you have the necessary skills to become an actuary. These exams can take place over a span of 6 to 10 years, but passing the first two is the most important step forward into an actuarial career and will allow you to start out as an actuarial assistant. Eventually, with hard work and good skills, you will reach your goal of becoming an actuary and reap the benefits of what has been deemed as one of the most satisfying careers today.

What does an Auditor do?

As an auditor, you will assess and verify the accuracy of an organization’s or government’s internal records. Through this line of work, you will search for fraud, waste, or misconduct. The extent of this assessment can vary depending on the specific job, but it may include evaluating a financial system, management protocol, and the company policies that are being used to protect against waste or fraud. An addition to an overall assessment, an auditor may also work to ensure that taxes are paid, and that financial records are accurately kept. A company can succeed or fail depending on the auditor that they hire, and being an auditor can be quite a rewarding experience as you work to make a difference in each and every company that you work with.

auditor

What sort of training and education will prepare me to become an auditor?

The best and most logical first step towards becoming an auditor is to earn a business degree. While it is possible to become an auditor with a bachelor’s degree, you will likely require an additional year of education relating to auditing such as advanced financial accounting. After this additional year of schooling, you will likely find that it is easier to just take the extra step to obtain a Masters in Business Administration.

In addition to your education, you will also need to take and pass the CPA exam in order to become an auditor. The CPA exam consists of a wide-variety of test questions related to accounting and provides all sorts of simulations that allow you to demonstrate your expertise. Through this exam, you will display your knowledge in auditing, business transactions, financial accounting, and federal taxation. Upon passing this exam, you will obtain your license which will allow you to begin to work as an auditor.

What does a Business Analyst do?

Business Analysts provide the much needed logistical core of many technological and service related industries. Business Analysts often are responsible for the collection and analysis of data. This can include information on customers, potential and established markets, products and services, financial regulations and products, and training or business needs. A Business Analyst will then review the data for trends, opportunities, advantages, and areas for improvement and translate this information into a readable format, often for the upper level management of a corporation. This information allows business leaders to make educated and informed business decisions.

business analyst

The recent economic climate has greatly increased the demand for Business Analysts, as companies often utilize consultants or employees in this role to analyze business processes for areas where technology may allow for a streamlining of a process or a cost savings. As demand increases for businesses to operate more “lean”, complex analysis is required to determine areas of a businesses supply chain, production, or delivery methods that may show potential for reduction.

Business Analysts must have excellent communication skills and must be able to concisely deliver complex information both verbally and written in a method laypeople can understand. Leadership skills are needed, as this position may require the questioning of established procedure and necessitates a personality able to pursue the answers to difficult questions. Experience in cost-benefit analysis and computer modeling are often an asset in this position. IT departments are the most common focus for Business Analysts, so knowledge of networking, communication, and software is often required. The ability to work within a team is also helpful, as many businesses are now choosing to utilize project teams to analyze production and supply concerns.

Most Business Analysts obtain an MBA (Masters of Business Administration). This is the most common credential sought by employers. However, some analysts may hold degrees in specific areas of study and specialize in those areas. Finance and International Business are two other common areas of study for Business Analysts. Masters degrees are preferred by hiring organizations, though individuals with four year degrees that have applicable experience and a background of success may also be considered for hire.