Business analyst jobs: Which role is right for you?

By Robert Half on 8th July 2022

Business analyst jobs: Which role is right for you?

Businesses are always looking for ways to beat their competition and increase their market share. It’s not enough to have an award-winning idea or a novel innovation. The bigger a business gets, the more it will need to find other ways to grow.

Increasingly, the way businesses are doing so is through thorough analysis. Business analyst jobs are becoming a key player in the drive to increase profitability, cut costs, increase efficiencies, and get ahead.

Why do businesses need analysts?

In general, analysts are trained to perform research, gather and analyse data, report on the results, building business models and presenting recommendations along the way. Simply put, business analysts of any kind analyse data in order to recommend better business strategies.

But depending on their specialisation, the data and recommendations they present will differ. A financial analyst, for example, is essential for the fiscal health of organisations or for the clients who hire them, whereas a business analyst is likely to be responsible for recommending ways to increase efficiencies across a business via new tools and resources.

Different business analyst jobs

Business analyst jobs are on the rise across the UK, but with so many different sub-disciplines, it’s not easy to know which role might be right for you.

The good news is that, across the board, these jobs all involve a very similar way of working. The data with which they work is the major difference.

Business analysts

Business analysts are responsible for improving efficiencies, increasing revenue, and decreasing costs by implementing best practices processes and procedures. In practice, the way they often do this is by meeting with business teams, discussing their challenges and analysing their current situation as well as historic performance. They will then offer solutions, usually with better tools or resources.

Business analysts will also look at both quantitative as well as qualitative data, taking into account things like business practices, workflows, and processes and procedures, as well as the technology that businesses use to undertake these activities.

Learn more about the role:  IT Business Analyst Jobs

Data analysts

While data analysts perform much the same way as business analysts, the data that they work with is different. They usually stick to numbers alone, and will work with different business verticals in order to discover trends or analyse performance.

There is a subtle difference between business and data analysts: business analysts will present their findings as well as their recommendations where data analysts will often present just their findings, allowing the business to make their own decisions.

Financial analysts

Financial analysis is an umbrella term that includes many different sub-disciplines, including financial planning, treasury analysts, investment banking analysts, private equity analysts, and corporate development analysts.

While financial analysts perform much the same way as both business and data analysts, financial analysts work specifically—and usually exclusively—with financial data.

Financial analysts are responsible for increasing revenue, utilising data like historic financial reports, statistics, stock prices, or accounting spreadsheets. Once they’ve gathered the data, they’ll perform analyses in order to make forecasts and recommendations, usually via presentations.

Related: A day in the life of a financial analyst

Financial analysts need to not only be confident when working with numbers, they also need to be able to present complex numerical data to an audience that may not be so savvy with numbers.

Because they work with financial data, they may be required to undertake specific certifications that other analysts may not, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification.

Learn more about the role: Financial Analyst Jobs

As businesses become increasingly reliant on data—and as we look to new data technologies, such as big data—the demand for analysts of any kind is very likely to rise.

If you’re interested in a role in analytics, you can search our current analyst vacancies here, or alternatively you can contact your nearest Robert Half office to learn more.

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