What Is The Difference Between A Business Analyst And A Consultant?

Business consultants and business analysts are sometimes used interchangeably, mostly in financial sectors. Both these jobs have some similarities, but there are some major differences that you should know about. 

Understanding the differences and similarities between these two professionals can help you choose the right career path for you. But it may be noted that they both focus on detecting a company’s inefficiencies and coming up with effective solutions.  Now, let’s discuss these job roles in detail.

What Is A Business Analyst?

A business analyst is a professional who generally advises organizations, businesses, or individuals regarding financial or business matters.

Based on the industry type, a professional business analyst can be brought in to effectively deal with certain issues in accounting, finance, or IT. 

Utilizing their experience and expertise, they will handle the inefficiency or issues. They conduct in-depth market assessments and assist organizations in making informed decisions based on the findings. They always work to make a business profitable. 

They study the areas where costs can be reduced, making the business activities efficiently.  Customer relationship, manufacturing, and billing are areas that a business analyst greatly influences. Some job titles of these professionals are

  • Operations Analyst

They generally work in the organization’s operation team that deals with client matters, problem resolutions, and data management. Some of the major duties of an operations analyst are understanding operational opportunities and requirements and developing new processes to increase productivity and meet quality standards. 

  • Supply Chain Analyst

A professional supply chain analyst generally collects and analyzes data from different sources related to the supply chain and then recommends some ways to boost that particular supply chain’s productivity. 

  • Financial Analyst

They carefully study the performance of different investments, for example, commodities, bonds, and stocks. By analyzing these things and market conditions, they suggest the best investment strategies for the company. 

  • Social Media Analysts

They are responsible for managing a company’s social media analyst campaigns. They study the performance of every social media post and the campaign. Speaking about their duties includes evaluating metrics of social media posts, advising the content creators, and researching different latest social media trends and tools that can be used for better results.  

Accounting Analyst

These professionals are an important part of a company’s accounting department. While working closely with the company’s financial professionals, they assist in understanding the monetary matters of the company. Some of the common duties of an account analyst are studying financial data, making detailed financial reports, and offering effective solutions to resolve accounting issues. 

  • Quality Assurance Analysts

They are responsible for evaluating systems, software, and products to make sure that they are functioning effectively and meet the quality standards decided by the company. 

What Is A Business Consultant?

A business consultant is an expert who has skills and knowledge in different areas, such as accounting, finance, strategic thinking, and more. Using their skills, they create plans that can help the organization overcome the issues. 

They spend their time learning and analyzing crucial information related to the company and identifying the drivers that can lead to success. Some of the most common types of business consultants are 

  • Marketing Consultants

They are the experts having sufficient knowledge about marketing. They analyze the organization’s marketing tactics and then suggest the best plans to boost its effectiveness. Besides, they also formulate different marketing strategies that can help create brand awareness. 

Sales Consultant

Sales consultants generally work with companies to enhance their sales processes and plans. 

  • Legal Consultants

These are legal experts responsible for offering individuals and businesses guidance related to legal matters. 

  • Accounting Consultants

They are responsible for helping businesses in their accounting matters. They analyze various financial documents and help companies with making better financial decisions. 

  • IT Consultant

Also called a technology consultant, an IT consultant helps companies with finding as well as implementing the most effective technology solutions to meet their unique requirements.

Responsibilities Of Business Consultant And Analyst

The roles and responsibilities of an analyst and consultant can vary from one organization to another. Besides, it will also depend on the industry you will be working in. However, some common responsibilities are: 

Understanding The Responsibilities Of A Business Consultant 

  • Crafting effective plans for better company positioning, and then sharing those plans with the executive or management. 
  • Creating plans and annual or monthly reports and then presenting those documents to the management. 
  • Taking an active part in team meetings focusing on the consultant’s specialty.
  • Coming up with various recommendations based on the results to bring improvement to a certain business area. 
  • Understanding the requirements of the company as well as challenges. They need to identify the issues that can affect the company’s success. 
  • Organizing training workshops for the employees. 

Common Responsibilities Of A Business Analyst

  • Carrying out extensive research and forming valuable reports based on the current trends in the industry or a business. 
  • Creating insights that a business can use to boost its efficiency and profitability. 
  • Utilizing different tools and software to collect data from different sources for analysis and research. 
  • Offering reports to management and executives created based on the findings. 
  • Offering useful suggestions on decision making. 

Skills Required To Become A Business Analyst

  • An impressive written and oral communication skills to become a successful business analyst.
  • A robust facilitation skill along with consultative and interpersonal skills.
  • Sound knowledge of business structure.
  • Problem-solving and analytical thinking ability.
  • Being capable of offering a maximum level of accuracy.
  • Ability to effectively understand various delegated objectives
  • Report writing and documentation skills.
  • Skills to understand different databases, technologies, and networks. 

Skills Required To Become A Business Consultant

There are different skills that a professional business consultant values. But some of the most important skills you need to develop are 

  • Strong analytical and quantitative skills.
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure and skills to easily cope with various challenging situations that can arise while working. 
  • Impressive teamwork and problem-solving skills.
  • A good understanding of commercial awareness and business environments. 
  • Time management and organization skills. 
  • Thinking practically and conceptually

Work Environment- Inhouse Vs. Temp

Speaking about the work environment, business consultants and analysts generally work in an office environment. But it has been seen that some business consultants prefer to work on a contract basis and they are temporary employees of a company.

On the other hand, business analysts are full-time employees, and they are normally hired full-time. So, you should keep this thing in mind while choosing the right career path for you. 

You should keep in mind that both these jobs require work hours that range from 40 to 50 hours a week. Some companies may require their consultant or analyst to travel for work.

Difference Between Business Analysts And Business Consultants

Business AnalystBusiness Consultants
The average salary of a business analyst can go up to USD 74,000 per year. The average annual salary of business consultants can be around USD 72,000. 
Business analysts should have advanced technical skills to perform better. A business consultant doesn’t need to have sound technical knowledge.
To work for a BA, you should have a bachelor’s degree in business. Apart from a bachelor’s degree, some companies may require a business constant to have a Master’s degree in management or finance. 
Business analysts are full-time employees. A consultant can work on a contractor basis. 
The job growth rate for this profession is around 14 percent. In the face of this particular position, it is around 9 percent. 

Are There Any Similarities Between A Business Consultant And Analyst? 

Well, if you closely analyze, you will find many similarities between the tasks of a business consultant and a business analyst. And one of the major similarities is the nature of the work. They both assist other professionals in an organization and help a business improve its performance.

On the other hand, they both create and offer reports to the management to find a certain situation. Using those reports, companies come up with an informed decision. 

While working on a certain issue, analysts and consultants always consider the procedures and systems of a company. They carefully assess those things to understand their weakness and strengths, and based on their findings, these professionals make recommendations. Speaking about another similarity, they always compare an organization and its competitors to identify the potential opportunities. 

Final Words

Both professionals are important to keep a business unit running smoothly. While their job nature is the same, the major difference is in bringing in the expertise. In large companies, you will find an internal business consultant who is the permanent employee of the company. 

While most of the skills of a business consultant and analyst are the same, normally, a business analyst has more technical skills, and a consultant comes equipped with financial skills. No matter what option you choose, you can enjoy a bright professional career in the future.