Analyst is an essential job in our society. They make analyses to help people figure out problems, and point out a positive way to solve problems. Analysts almost apply in every different professional area, such as political analyst, military analyst, and economic analyst. They analysis all information with their professional knowledge, and then translate a certain language which everybody can understand easily. For example, social analyst can use their knowledge to analyze current social problems and provide a useful analysis to government or city hall. Then, people can understand what happen to their society. Therefore, analyst is a necessary job for our society.
For business corporations and companies, there are two important analysts for them. They are business and financial analysts. Many people, including employers and employees, don’t know what these two analysts are exactly, and what different between them. However, they do exist, and they do help a corporation or company become more efficient and profitable. In other words, they play important roles in business activities. In general term, business and financial analysts have different definition for their position, different working area, and different training path, but they have the same goal–to help users have better business condition.
According to Julia Scholz, who is a successful business analyst, she said a business analyst is like a “road trip planner”, helping people plan their map and route (P.1). She says, “a BA will help a user determine their wants, focus on a destination or desired outcome, outline possible ‘maps’ of how to get there” (P.1). Simply, business analyst is a communicator or translator to translate what employer wants to their employee. They gather all information from boss, employee, and outside world, and plan an efficient way to achieve their goal. It is not easy to be a good business analyst. Scholz lists some steps that her term and she do everyday to help successful project:
1.Listen to the users: the most important task for business analyst is find out user’s demand. What do users desire for? What kind of outcome do they ask for? In what way they hope to achieve their goal? And some suggestion to their employee to improve whole company’s operation. These things are important for business analyst making analysis.
2.Document: when a business analyst listens to their users, they need to record and write down all they get from users. They may use computer or recorder to record users’ words. Then when analysts do analysis, they can use this information quickly and easily.
3.Gather information: a good analyst also needs to do some outside research to determine all possible ways to achieve goal. They need to know current business situation and economic trend because outside activities would affect their analysis and strategy.
4.Translate and analyze: it is the key part for a BA. According to Scholz, “a good analyst should be able to listen to the users, analyze their requests, document the requests and then communicate these requests to the development group in a way that the development group can understand” (P.3). Most employers don’t have chance to speak to employees directly. So the business analyst plays a channel to communicate both employers and employees, and to coordinate both side to achieve final goal. So the job of business analysts is not only making analysis but also communicating requests to each side.
In conclusion, Scholz states that, “BA is like a translator, able to communication in a user’s language and a developer’s language” (P.3). So a business analyst should have good communication skill in order to translate user’s requests to developing department. A BA also may be involved in these area: Data Warehouse, E-Commerce Development, New application Development, New Business Development, Software Package Selection, Software Package Customization, Business Process Improvement (B2Ttraining program P.1). A BA needs to have certain knowledge of these areas to be able analyze all business event and situation.
Financial analysts are very similar to business analysts. Financial analysts also need to gather information and makes analysis. They also help a corporation or company makes more benefits and profits. However, financial analysts work in different aspect and way to achieve user’s goal. Generally speaking, their goal is to maximize the value of the company. They are just like a doctor. They examine the whole financial condition of a corporation or company, and figure out the virus (bad strategy or financial policy). Then making a good description to improve bad things (making better financial condition). The information that a financial analyst needs to know is like: working capital, account payable turnover, and EPS. A FA needs to know the potential of a company and forecasts the financial needs of the company.
In advance, FA can make a correct financial plan to the company. Compare to business analysts, financial analysts consider more about the value of company stock. So when they make financial analysis, they will put market value and stock price at the first place. Financial analysts also require communication and computer skill. They sometimes need to present their analysis in front of the chiefs of all departments, and they also need to operate some accounting software to figure out the value of the company. Totally, the job of financial analysts is to examine the financial system of the company, analyze both good and bad side, gather outside financial situation, and make a forecasting financial plan. Similar to business analysts, they try to help a company operate more efficient and profitable.
In fact, business and financial analysts are very similar. They both gather information from inside and outside the company. They both make analysis form the information, and help users to improve users’ business condition or business competence. They both use computer to help them achieve their tasks. However, they have different aspects to make their analysis. One is emphasizes on whole system of the company and plan a good road to achieve users’ requests; another is emphasizes on the financial condition of the company and make forecasting financial plan. Generally, they have different ways but the same goal.
1.Scholz, Julia. “What do you analyze? One Analyst’s View”
2.B2T training. “What is a Business Analyst?” http://www.b2ttraining.com/BAwhat.htm 2001/10/10.
3.Ross, Stephen A. Fundamentals of Corporate Financial. Toronto: McGraw_hill Ryerson 1999. P. 8-10.