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Difference Between Business Analyst & Process Analyst

Business analysts and process analysts perform many similar duties that involve researching business practices and identifying issues, but they have somewhat different objectives. How their work compares is discussed further here.

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Comparing Business Analyst to Process Analyst

Business analysts assess business operations so that they can determine how to increase profits. Process analysts also analyze how businesses or organizations operate, but they rely even more heavily on sophisticated mathematical methods to improve procedures and resolve a wide range of issues.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Business Analyst Bachelor's Degree $81,330 (for Management Analysts) 14% (for Management Analysts)
Process Analyst Bachelor's Degree $79,200 (for Operations Research Analysts) 30% (for Operations Research Analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Business Analysts vs Process Analysts

Business analysts are also known as management analysts. They interview staff, review data, and assess information to give management ideas for improving efficiency and increasing profits. Process analysts, also known as operations research analysts, also talk to employees and managers and assess reports as part of their duties, but they are often more dependent on advanced analytical and mathematical methods to help give organizations advice for making a wide range of decisions.

Business Analyst

Business analysts are required to have a bachelor's degree. Certification and a master's degree in business administration may increase job options and qualify business analysts to advance to senior positions. Since they analyze data as part of their work, they spend a fair bit of their time working in an office. They also travel to worksites to gather data and observe operations. Almost a quarter of all business analysts are employed by consulting services, while others may work for financial companies or the government.

Job responsibilities of a business analyst include:

  • Talk to employees
  • Learn about work procedures
  • Identify inefficient procedures
  • Review relevant financial data
  • Assess options to improve operations
  • Recommend changes that will increase profits and reduce inefficiency

Process Analyst

Process analysts are the professionals who address employee issues or logistical problems that are affecting a business or organization. They review financial data as part of their work with a focus on identifying and solving operational problems. It's possible to enter this field with a bachelor's degree in operations research, although some employers may require process analysts to have a master's degree. They primarily work in an office, although they may, at times, need to survey work sites and observe procedures directly. These professionals often work in finance or manufacturing.

Job responsibilities of a process analyst include:

  • Talk to employees about issues
  • Discuss operational concerns with management
  • Identify pertinent data related to the issue being addressed
  • Gather and review all relevant data
  • Assess the information and consider possible solutions
  • Make recommendations to improve operations

Related Careers

Aspiring business analysts may also want to explore the option of becoming an accounting auditor, since these auditors also review corporate financial data. If you're interested in working as a process analyst you may also be interested in a career as an industrial engineer, since industrial engineers also assess business practices to determine how to improve them.

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