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Job Description of a Business Analyst

written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 5/27/2011

The main attraction of a business analyst's job is its reputation as one of the hottest and highest paying careers in today's employment trends. A closer look at the business analyst job description reveals that aspirants must have utmost competencies for both managerial and technological skills.

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    The Importance of Technological Skills for Business Analyst Jobs

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    In understanding the job descriptions of a business analyst, those seeking information about this profession should realize the relevance of technological skills in order to qualify for the job. As an analyst, however, the job primarily entails consultancy about business solutions and innovations as they relate to current and future business trends.

    At this point, it should be clear that a business analyst’s job should not be confused with that of a software developer for business strategies. The primary function of an analyst is to provide feasible managerial, commercial, and financial planning input without necessarily performing the software programming itself.

    However, as hiring trends have it, the keen competition between individual professionals and business development companies, vying for business analyst jobs, give hiring companies another option. Since some business analysts possess both business management expertise and technological skills that would meet their demands, hiring companies find it more economical to hire a professional business analyst with a stronger and wider range of software development skills.

    Explore the basic job descriptions of a business analyst presented in the following sections and determine your own technological capabilities. As an entry-level business analyst, you will find it necessary to study the hiring company’s software for its existing business system in order to perform the following tasks:

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    Business Analyst - Job Descriptions and Explanations

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    • Analyze the profitability of the company’s products and target market based on current demands --- evaluate their sales performances.

    This particular task entails gathering of relevant data about the main business products in order to come up with standards for comparing the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. This includes the appropriateness of their price mark-ups, their inventory levels, and their viability within the location.

    • Establish the industry trend and identify the areas or goods that are susceptible to influences, which affect the overall business performance. Identify the sway factors, if any.

    One way to determine this is by researching and gathering statistical reports about the market’s present behavior and the targeted customer’s present habits and needs. Consider packaging, availability of variants, availability of economical sizes, shelf life, and environmental concerns. Even increasing or waning job growth can influence the market. These are some examples of factors that could sway the consumer’s buying decisions.

    • Review the company’s present business systems in relation to the flow of processes; from product conceptualization or selection, to manufacturing or procurement, to their distribution, outlet merchandising, marketing, advertising, and selling.

    An example of a system to review is the basis used in coming up with additional products, whether through manufacturing or procurement. Are they arbitrarily added by management? Does the company maintain a core group, assigned to research a product's viability for long- or short-term projections? Is there a committee tasked to evaluate and decide on their feasibility in relation to the period of cost recovery for additional capital expenditures? Do they consider technological advancements and fashion trends as factors that could affect the strength of the merchandise?

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    • Review the past records of significant and common problems encountered by the company, including their effects on sales performance and on the buying public.

    Find out if a damage control plan is implemented to curtail the effects of these problems. How effective or efficient is this plan, and does it generate the desired effect? Are customer concerns and complaints properly addressed? Are there studies conducted to avoid the recurrence of such problems, and have they been properly translated and transformed as effective solutions?

    • Evaluate the efficiency of the accounting system and its ability to provide timely and accurate reports as a basis for management’s decisions and for regulatory-compliance purposes.

    This involves a study of the flow of processes for recording the business transactions and the internal controls implemented. Determine the types of data being used by management for projections as well as the performance metrics used in coming up with their projections.

    • Examine credit policies for allowing customers the privilege of making purchases on account. On the other hand, there should also be credit policies for the company’s own debt-incurrence.

    The analyst will have to calculate the turnover ratios for buying and selling activities and how credit sales impact the liquidity of the company. Compare the cost of money vs. the yields produced by sales on credit.

    • Prepare the performance metrics for all the systems reviewed. Compare the results against the company’ s own standards and against the industry’s benchmark.

    The analyst’s objective in doing this is to provide support to what has been identified as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats (SWOT) existing in the company’s system.

    • Create a strategic model that would serve as a guide for programming a system that will improve, enable, and enhance the existing structure of the company.

    The results of an analyst’s job will assist the software developer in creating a business system that will adhere to the managerial strategies developed after a thorough SWOT analysis has been performed.

    • Prepare forecasts, cost-to-benefit justifications, problem resolutions, and other support to the proposed key initiatives for financial planning and selling activities.

    This denotes that the business analyst has gathered enough data, made sufficient tests and analysis, and is now ready to present a sound business system that management could bank on for its operations.

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    Summary:

    At this point, readers have arrived at a clearer perception of what the job entails and the importance of technological skills for the business analyst. Database research, calculations, graphs, charts, business models, justifications, and final presentations have to be reviewed and proven several times before they are finalized. Hence, one’s know-how in using the appropriate software and application tools will serve as aids for generating accurate and expedient results.

    WIth this closer look at the job descriptions of business analyst, it has to be acknowledged that these tasks require a great degree of analytical skills using one’s own wealth of training and experience. The financial rewards will compensate for the long hours of mentally grueling work to ensure that the results bring success and stability to the company.

    Moreover, there should be awareness that there are different types of business analyst jobs with basically the same job descriptions; the salary to expect depends on the complexity of the industry and how one’s reputation as an expert can meet such complexities.

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    Reference Materials and Image Credit Section:

    References:

    • The Business Analyst/Project Manager: A New Partnership for Managing ... By Robert K. http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=92SMkY0gbRIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=types+of+business+projects+handled+by+a+business+analyst&source=bl&ots=Cjab7JvzMz&sig=DHXcSraw-zqhM0ysh_B58Sq-QHk&hl=en&ei=7JktTf_VM83CcdHo6JAI&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Image Credit Section: