Financial analysts work with companies to decipher financial data and recommend methods for improving their financial future. Business analysts, on the other hand, specialize in one of two things. Standard business analysts look at an organization as a whole and recommend processes to solve business problems or improve the efficiency of sales, production or logistics. Business systems analysts work with the computer systems of a company to determine the technical needs to best support an organization. Salaries vary greatly between these positions.
In 2011, financial analysts earned an annual wage of $87,740, or $42.18 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But this figure doesn’t account for experience or company size. An entry-level analyst earns much less than those at the senior level. Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a global financial recruitment agency, reports that entry-level financial analysts earn $38,000 to $45,750 at small companies, $40,750 to $50,000 at midsize companies and $42,500 to $53,750 at large companies. Midlevel financial analysts earn $44,000 to $56,750 at small companies, $48,500 to $64,500 at midsize companies and $51,750 to $69,500 at large companies. At the senior level, financial analysts earn $53,750 to $70,000 at small companies, $62,500 to $81,250 at midsize companies and $68,500 to $89,000 at large companies. Financial analysts in management earn $64,750 to $83,750 at small companies, $74,750 to $99,000 at midsize companies and $84,250 to $114,500 at large companies.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that business analysts — sometimes referred to as operations research analysts — earned $78,849, or $37.90 per hour, for 2011. Much like financial analysts, this figure doesn’t account for experience or company size. As of 2012, Robert Half Finance & Accounting estimates that entry-level business analysts earn $44,250 to $57,250, regardless of company size. Midlevel business analysts earn $52,750 to $71,500 at midsize companies, while those at large companies earn $52,500 to $72,000 per year. Senior business analysts earn $68,500 t0 $89,250, regardless of company size. Business analysts in management earn an average of $80,750 to $106,750 at midsize companies, while those at large companies earn $81,000 to $107,250 per year.
Business Systems Analysts:
In 2011, computer systems analysts, including business systems analysts, earned an annual wage of $82,320, or $39.58, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure, however, includes all computer analysts. Robert Half Technology, a national provider of IT professionals, reports that business systems analysts were expected to earn $67,000 to $97,750 per year for 2012. On top of this range, certain skills can increase pay. For example, an analyst with SharePoint skills tends to earn 12 percent more than other analysts, increasing salaries to $75,040 to $109,200. Java development skills often increase salaries by as much as 8 percent. In this situation, an analyst can earn $72,360 to $105,570 per year, on average.
The job outlook for these positions varies greatly. For financial analysts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 23 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 — much faster than the anticipated growth of 14 percent for all occupations. The accelerated growth likely stems from the need for analysts to monitor the growing range of financial products available to organizations. The employment growth for business systems analysts is predicted to be similar to that of financial analysts, coming in at 22 percent from 2010 to 2020. The ever-changing IT landscape demands more analysts to determine the technical needs of companies. Business analysts, however, will see a growth rate of only 15 percent, faster than the growth for all occupations but not as good as the other two fields. However, analysts are still needed to identify business problems and find relevant solutions for them.