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Business Analyst vs. Financial Analyst

Business Analyst vs. Financial Analyst

Get to know how Business Analysts and Financial Analysts differ in various aspects in this blog.

Overview of a Business Analyst

Business Analysts are professionals who connect clients of an organization with IT professionals. These professionals collaborate with executives in different departments to identify business problems and provide technical solutions. Apart from this, they monitor ongoing business processes, make changes at the organization level, and develop software systems.

Further, we will also learn about how to become a business analyst and what does BA job description looks like.

Overview of a Financial Analyst

Financial Analysts working in an organization collect financial data, analyze them and make decisions on the investment process. They maintain spreadsheets of finance-related data to keep a record of all the investments and financial transactions. They also model accounting theses and communicate with investors. Also, FAs analyze the profit and loss of the company.

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Job Description: Business Analyst Vs. Financial Analyst

Now, let’s discuss the job descriptions of BAs and FAs.

Job Description of a BA

Business Analysts are adaptable and play a variety of functions in various businesses. The job description for a Business Analyst differs depending on the department. A Business Analyst in a technical team, for instance, is responsible for monitoring and updating systems, whereas in a sales team they are responsible for resolving customer queries and taking feedback from them.

A Business Analyst is a superset for the terms –

  • Data Analyst
  • Enterprise Analyst
  • Business consultant
  • Marketing analyst
  • Product manager
  • Requirements manager
  • System analyst, and many other job roles.

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Job Description of a FA

The job description of a Financial Analyst is the same in most companies with a few exceptions. Financial Analysts analyze the financial and business performance of an organization to anticipate future changes. These professionals assist the management by providing data-driven reports to make strategic and informed decisions.

FAs work on investments, analyze them and improve the financial status of the company. In some organizations, these analysts work solely for the business and a few companies hire them to work on market research and other financial aspects.

A Financial Analyst is an umbrella term for,

  • Portfolio Manager
  • Investment Analyst
  • Risk Analyst
  • Fund Manager
  • Rating Analyst, and many other analysts working in the finance domain.

Financial Analysts are categorized into two types: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts.

Buy-side analyst: For firms with a lot of money to invest, buy-side analysts create investment plans. Hedge funds, insurance firms, independent money managers, and charitable groups with substantial endowments, such as some colleges, are examples of institutional investors.

Sell-side analyst: Financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and recommend other assets are the sell-side analysts.

Some analysts work for business publications or research firms that are separate from the purchase and sell sides.

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Qualifications and Entrance Examinations

Educational qualifications for both professions are quite similar.

  • Bachelor’s degree is a must-have
  • Bachelor’s degree in
    • Business Administration
    • Finance
    • Accounting
    • Statistics would be preferable
  • A Master’s degree in any of the above fields could be advantageous for advanced roles

If you’re qualified as per the above criteria, you can kick-start your career. If not, you need to get certified in courses that will help you upskill yourself in skills you don’t possess. You need to get the Business Analyst / Business Analytics Certification to dive into business analysis.

To become a Financial Analyst, you need to get the authorized license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

To get a global certification, huge opportunities in the financial market, good compensation, the scope of career advancement, developed financial skills, and entrepreneurship opportunities, one needs to clear the following entrance exams.

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Hop on to our Business Analysts community to clarify your doubts!

Roles and Responsibilities: Business Analyst and Financial Analyst

Let’s discuss the roles and responsibilities of a Business Analyst and a Financial Analyst.

Business AnalystFinancial Analyst
Identify areas for improvement and put technical solutions in placeWork to improve the financial performance by analyzing forecasts, variance, trends in financial results
Modernizing and automating existing systemsBe updated with the latest technology in financial instruments, and other market conditions
Provide management and other teams with a plan of actionModel financial strategies to evaluate, plan and forecast investment issues
Collaborate with clients, the IT department, and management personnelCollaborate with the team members to capitalize budgets and plan expenditures
Ensure cost-effectiveness and resource allocationCreate activities and policies that will help boost financial growth
Performance monitoring and project managementExplore various investment strategies.
Obtain information from a variety of stakeholders to provide valuable reportsPrepare reports based on the financial data gathered and share the findings with the rest of the company
Analyze current business processes and devise improvement solutionsAnalyze and compare the market research to improvise internal finances
Keep track of corporate processes and anticipate future needs/problemsRevise existing financial data by cross-checking the dataflows

Both the professionals have similar work except for working in different domains. Business Analysts work in the operations and management sector while Financial Analysts work in the finance sector. A Business Analyst works on the overall development of the business while a Financial Analyst works for the improvement of financial processes.

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Skills Comparison

While most of the Business Analyst skills and Financial Analysts skills overlap, few skills are specific to both. Also, the proficiency of skills is different for both professionals. BAs need to be highly proficient in communication while FAs could be merely proficient. But FAs are supposed to have high analytical skills and mathematical reasoning.

Any Financial Analyst or Business Analyst should have the following skills –

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Technical skills
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Organizational
  • Analytical skills
Business Analyst SkillsFinancial Analyst Skills
Need to be skilled in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)Ability to operate autonomously
Maintain a team-oriented and collaborative atmosphere with a feeling of leadershipExperienced in working with and presenting to senior executives
A high level of technical knowledge is requiredExperienced in financial modelling
A thorough grasp of the structure of the organization procedures is requiredAbility to simplify processes, as well as a desire to learn and improve
Possess the capacity to deliver presentations and write reports based on the results of the analysisExcellent communication and presentation abilities, as well as the ability to connect with senior management

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Career Path: What is Your Choice?

Let’s head towards the important part of this blog; a comparison between the career paths of a BA and a FA. In this section, you’ll get a clear-cut idea of which profession to choose as your career.

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Career Path: BA

Career Path of a Business Analyst

Traditional Business Analysts advance to

  1. Senior Business Analyst
  2. Business Architect
  3. Senior Business Architect

In an agile framework, you may progress from BA to

  1. Product Owner
  2. PMO director
  3. Vice President
  4. Senior Vice President
  5. Chief Information Officer

A Business Systems Analyst may advance to a

  1. Senior Analyst
  2. Technology Architect
  3. Enterprise Architect

You can go from Project Manager to

  1. Senior Project Manager
  2. Program Manager
  3. Business Owner and so on

Anyone pursuing the role of a Business Analyst can move laterally from one department to another with specific skills required for that particular department or advance in their profile.

To go from a senior BA to a Business Architect, you need to shift from tactical to strategic thinking, from internal to outside emphasis, and a holistic view of the company. To transition from BA to Product Owner, you need to build new leadership abilities, a customer-centric mindset, and decision-making power.

To provide more value to your business, you need to go outside the box and holistically think and you advance up the corporate ladder.

Check out The Ideal Business Analyst Career Path from our blog!

Career Path: FA

At the initial stage of the career, a Financial Analyst is guided by a Senior Financial Analyst. Most of the professionals tend to pursue graduation in the said field, after a few years of experience as a Financial Analyst.

For proceeding to more advanced roles, a professional is expected to have a Master’s degree or take up courses to carry out many more responsibilities. A postgraduate with a few years of work experience can jump off to the post of Senior Financial Analyst.

With a strong competence and many years of experience, Senior Financial Analysts proceed to more authoritative positions. These professionals hold management positions, such as portfolio managers or fund managers who lead a group of senior analysts. Also, these analysts can shift to higher levels in the management sector.

In a few companies, the senior analysts oversee and lead the working groups within their domains. These professionals are called Treasury Managers. A Financial Analyst achieves the topmost position in the career ladder as the Chief Financial Officer or the Chief Investment Officer. They oversee the entire portfolio of the company. Professionals who are exceptionally good achieve this rank(CFO or CIO).

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Business Analyst and Financial Analyst Salary Comparison

In a few countries, the salary of Business Analysts is higher than Financial Analysts and vice versa. Salary trends depend on the working environment, company, and the development state of the country. Financial Analysts are paid higher in France, Germany, and Japan, while countries like Singapore and UAE have similar pay structures for both analysts.

Business Analyst and Financial Analyst Salary Comparison

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Most of the cities in India pay higher salaries to Business Analysts than Financial Analysts with a huge difference except for Jaipur.

Salary Trends of Business Analyst and Financial Analyst in India

Average salaries of BAs and FAs have been used to compare the pay in different cities of India. While a Business Analyst with 5-9 years of experience can expect to earn about Rs 8,30,975 p.a., a Senior Business Analyst with over 15 years of experience can expect to earn around Rs 12,09,787. The pay rises to Rs. 16,54,946 p.a. as you go higher in the corporate ladder.

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The profession of a Business Analyst is a broad career diving into different sectors and hence, has ample opportunities ahead. A Financial Analyst, on the other hand, is a confined option. But one gets skilled exponentially in accounting and finance which provides the prospect of growth.

And in case you’re interested in becoming a Business Analyst, then check out the Business Analyst course by Intellipaat which could be your start towards an illustrious career.

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About the Author

Senior Research Analyst

As a Senior Research Analyst, Arya Karn brings expertise in crafting compelling technical content in Data Science and Machine Learning. With extensive knowledge in AI/ML, NLP, DBMS, and Generative AI, his works get lakhs of views across social platforms that benefit both technical and business spheres.