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Over the past years, the world has seen a massive increase in the number of businesses, small and large, increasing market competition. At such a time, businesses are looking for professionals who can analyze company data and present solutions to problems. Such professionals are called analysts. 

Every industry’s specific problems have led to many specializations of analysts. The ones gaining huge popularity are business analysts and financial analysts. The job roles may sound similar, but they excel in different fields.

This article discusses the key differences between business and financial analysts’ career paths to help you make an informed decision.

Who is a Business Analyst? 

A business analyst helps organizations analyze all their business activities, products, and services to improve the current processes and services. In other words, a business analyst gathers and analyzes company data to find the best business solutions and helps make the company’s most crucial business decisions. They also analyze the current market trends and help the company adapt to the latest changes/ trends. In short, a business analyst is responsible for developing various cost-effective business solutions.

Who is a Financial Analyst? 

As the name suggests, a financial analyst analyzes a company’s financial data and spots financial trends that help the company make efficient financial/ investment decisions. Hence, a financial analyst can also branch out as an investment analyst or a security analyst. Apart from that, a financial analyst helps the company develop various policies for managing the company’s funds and investments. In short, a financial analyst’s job is to help the company make profitable financial/ investment decisions.

Roles & responsibilities: Business Analyst vs. Financial Analyst

Since the industries are different for both roles, business analysts and financial analysts work on different KRAs (key result areas), as explained below.

Business Analyst

To collect and analyze all the company data and policies, creating a business analysis document to share with the company shareholders.

Finding ways to cut down the extra/unnecessary company cost.

Research the current market trend and help the company make decisions by forecasting future market trends and adapting to the latest market trends.

Creating progress tracking metrics for all the company products and services.

Finding ways to reduce the inefficiencies in the business.

Doing thorough market research, analyzing the company’s competition, and finding effective business solutions to sustain smooth functioning.

Maintain continuous and clear communication with the company’s managerial staff and stakeholders.

Financial Analyst

Creating metrics to identify the company’s financial performance.

Drafting the company’s financial reports and discussing them with the stakeholders.

Analyzing and forecasting financial trends to initiate the budget of the company.

Keeping track of investment trends to help the company make upcoming investments.

Recommending and implementing various strategies for improving the company’s finances.

Auditing the discrepancies and miscalculations in the financial statements of the company.

Skills required: Business Analyst vs. Financial Analyst 

A business analyst usually works with qualitative data and should be able to analyze qualitative data and business problems. On the other hand, a financial analyst deals with quantitative data and should have strong mathematical and quantitative skills. However, apart from these, both business analysts and financial analysts require different skills mentioned below:

Business AnalystFinancial Analyst> Must possess reasoning and decision-making skills.
> Well-versed with Excel, Tableau, Power BI, etc.
> Effective communication skills (both oral and written), interpersonal skills, and problem-solving skills.
> Ability to analyze and visualize business processes.
> Should have a strong statistical background.
> A business analyst must also have negotiation, social, and organizational skills.> Must possess business valuation and financial modeling skills.
> Needs to know every aspect of corporate accounting and finance.
> Should know how to use various accounting and finance software such as Tally, Hyperion, SAP, SQL, QuickBooks, etc.
> Well-versed in using Excel and Powerpoint.
> A business analyst should know how to read the company’s financial statements.
> Understands everything about equity research, hedge funds, bonds, securities, etc.

Education requirements: Business Analyst vs. Financial Analyst 

The educational requirements of business analysts and financial analysts are as follows.

Business Analyst

To become a business analyst, having a business-related degree is helpful. You can be a business analyst with an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree. However, the chances of landing a good job as a business analyst after an undergraduate degree are very low in India. Hence, many people opt for a master’s degree, a PG diploma, or online certification or degree. 

The following educational qualifications can help you to become a business analyst:

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Work experience in data science, data analytics, business management, etc., will be helpful.

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst needs to have a lot of quantitative skills, so pursuing a degree in a related field can help you. The following educational qualifications can help you to become a Financial Analyst:

MBA in Finance

B.Com Hons (Eco/ Accounting/ Finance)

BCom (Financial Markets)

BA Hons (Eco/Statistics/ Mathematics)

PG Diploma in Finance/ Accounting/ Economics/Statistics/ Mathematics

Work experience in business management, private equity, investment banking, wealth management, etc., will be helpful.

Apart from the requirements explained above, you can also opt for certain certifications specializing in Business Analytics or Financial Management. After completing such a certification course, you can create your portfolio by working on live projects related to your field of interest. 

An internship in the respective field may be helpful to give you an idea about the prospective full-time job. Once you have excelled in all these skills and built your profile, you are ready to get placed as a Business Analyst or a Financial Analyst in a reputed organization. 

What’s best for you? 

The job outlook for both job roles is almost similar. The average annual salary of business analysts and financial analysts in India ranges between INR 2.6 LPA to INR 17.5 LPA, with average working hours of 40 to 50 hours per week. Both job roles are in high demand right now and are expected to be in demand in the upcoming years. 

A business analyst is more of a general business management role, whereas a financial analyst is a specialized role that involves finance management. Hence, make your decisions based on your interests.


Business and financial analysts are responsible for gathering useful data, analyzing it, and drawing compelling insights. However, they are different in terms of specializations. The major distinction between a business analyst and a financial analyst is that business analysts deal more with business operations, whereas financial analysts deal with business investments.

Are you looking forward to pursuing a corporate career as an analyst (business or financial)? In that case, Online Manipal provides a lot of different kinds of courses specializing in these fields on its platform. They provide online professional certifications and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various domains.

Key Takeaways:

A business analyst is responsible for extracting and analyzing business data and solving complex business problems.

A financial analyst analyzes financial business data to provide profitable investment solutions.

If you choose a business analyst career path, you get to work in the operations and management sectors. On the financial analyst career path, you get to work in the finance and investment sectors.

Business analysts usually work with qualitative data, whereas financial analysts work with quantitative data.

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