Understanding Business Analyst Roles and Responsibilities

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 15, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses that gain insight into their operations can assess productivity, determine areas for improvement, and strategize. Business analysts examine company operations by collecting and analyzing data to evaluate the current state of the business and suggest improvements. Learning about the responsibilities that business analysts take on can help you understand this field and the skills the role requires. In this article, we explain what business analyst roles and responsibilities are, list the common duties that business analysts manage, share their key skills, and explore the work environment for this role.

What are business analyst roles and responsibilities?

Business analyst roles and responsibilities are the positions and tasks that business analysts take on within an organization. Analysts work to understand every aspect of a business, identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement, and communicate their findings to management. They typically take on an advisory role within a company, reporting to executives and helping to establish strategies. Business analysts work for companies across many industries, as their data collection and analysis skills can help solve a variety of issues.

The primary responsibility of business analysts involves the collection and analysis of data. They might gather sales figures, financial records, statistics on internal processes, or IT records. Business analysts use this data to make calculations to assess business performance or determine the efficiency of processes. They might also use methods such as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) or mission, objectives, strategies, and tactics (MOST) analyses to assess a business' position within its industry and consider potential disruptions that require planning to mitigate. Business analysts create reports on their findings and present results to management to drive operational changes.

Related: What Is a Business Analyst?

Responsibilities of business analysts

Business analysts take on several important responsibilities within an organization. Here's a list of their potential duties:

Gathering data

Analysts try to provide quantitative assessments of the state of a business, so they gather as much data as they can on business processes to understand its operations. They might collect financial records, quarterly reports, efficiency statistics, and IT reports. The data that they collect can depend on the type of business they work for. For example, a business analyst at a manufacturing company might gather data concerning machine uptime and productivity. Analysts often use multiple methods to gather data, such as searching company records or using tracking software and technology to collect information.

Related: What Does a Business Analyst Do? And How to Become One

Performing analyses

Business analysts use the data they collect to perform analyses concerning company productivity, efficiency, and profitability. They assess financial results over time to determine the trajectory of a business or consider efficiency statistics and note any irregularities. They search for trends within data that can indicate the success of a business or areas for improvement. Business analysts examine the data in multiple ways to gain a comprehensive understanding of the state of a company. They might use formulas to distil large data sets into actionable figures that they can use to report on the health of the business.

Analysts might also use techniques to assess the position of a business within its industry or identify its strengths and weaknesses. SWOT analysis involves assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with a company. MOST analysis considers the mission, objectives, strategy, and tactics that an organization uses. Business analysts use these techniques to understand the core values of an organization and how they apply to individual business practices. They can assess how a business fulfills its mission and gain perspective to make recommendations for improvement.

Conducting research

Business analysts study business practices and learn about new techniques for increasing efficiency and profits. They observe current trends within an industry and identify practices that help competitors succeed. Analysts understand businesses can succeed by adapting to current trends and constantly changing to grow and innovate. They gain inspiration by studying competitors or successful organizations in other industries and consider how alternative approaches can help a company thrive. They might use modelling techniques to test the impact of changes to business practices and identify potential issues.

Writing reports

Business analysts gather data, perform analyses, and write reports to communicate their findings to management. They consider the organizational mission, available resources, and company culture when they decide what recommendations to make concerning changes to business practices. They then communicate this information in a clear and actionable manner. Business analysts might display data in graphs or charts to share their findings and emphasize potential improvements. They translate their findings into specific recommendations and write reports to convince management of the benefits of potential changes.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Business Reports (With an Example)

Making presentations

Business analysts make presentations to management to share their ideas and make themselves available to answer questions and discuss their findings. They often meet with company leaders to discuss issues and share their analyses to allow decision-makers to understand the potential outcomes of their choices. Analysts use communication skills to convey their ideas and suggest improvements based on their research.

Collaborating with management

Business analysts collaborate with management to identify organizational goals, effectively direct their efforts, and create plans. Management might identify areas for improvement and ask analysts to gather data to assess the impact of potential changes. Analysts assess organizational plans and present their findings concerning increases in productivity or revenue. Company leaders often rely on these professionals to understand the state of the organization and assess progress in specific areas.

Key skills for business analysts

There are several important skills that help business analysts succeed in their work, including:

Analytical thinking

Business analysts use analytical thinking to interpret the data they collect and search for patterns and trends. They select relevant data points, make calculations, and assess the significance of their findings. Analytical thinking helps them consider the impact that changes might have on a business as they consider different ways to increase efficiency and revenue. They decide which methods of analysis to use for specific situations and determine which areas to focus on to maximize results.

Related: 10 Skills Business Analysts Need for Workplace Success

Technological aptitude

Technological aptitude allows analysts to work with a variety of programs to collect information, perform calculations, create reports, and design presentations. They might use specialized software to calculate the performance of certain business aspects and assess the impact of potential changes. They might create models to test how changes to business processes might affect efficiency or increase profits. Analysts also use a range of computer programs in their work to create compelling reports for management and display the results of their research.

Communication

Communication skills allow analysts to collaborate with management and other employees to help an organization define its goals and assess its progress. They use verbal and written communication skills to share their findings and make recommendations for changes to business processes. They might make reports, answer questions, and explain the impact of potential changes. Active listening skills help analysts understand instructions from management and focus their work on specific parts of the company to find areas for improvement.

Related: 15 Communication Skills for Professionals to Develop

Attention to detail

Attention to detail helps analysts assess the results of their work and notice patterns or irregularities in their analyses. Carefully assessing data sets and identifying issues allows them to note specific areas where changes might have a significant impact. Attention to detail allows these professionals to avoid mistakes and produce reports with accurate data for consideration by management.

Business analyst work environment

Analysts typically work in an office environment. They often work for medium or large businesses that can significantly benefit from analyzing their performance and making changes to increase efficiency. Analysts might spend a large part of their workday on a computer as they organize data sets, perform calculations, test models, and produce reports on their findings. They also regularly take part in meetings with management and executives to consider the direction of an organization and the impact of potential changes. Analysts might make presentations in front of large groups of stakeholders to share their findings.

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