Difference Between Financial Analyst & Accountant

Financial analysts and accountants both work with businesses to assess their financial situations but in different capacities. Compare the tasks of both of these occupations, along with salary and growth information.

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Comparing Financial Analysts to Accountants

Financial analysts help organizations with investment opportunities while accountants manage financial records. Both professionals are work with a business' finances, though they deal with different aspects regarding finances. Below you can learn more about these two financial occupations.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Financial Analyst Bachelor's Degree $81,760 12%
Accountant Bachelor's Degree $68,150 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Financial Analysts vs Accountants

Financial analysts and accountants assist various individuals and organizations with understanding financial information, managing money and making recommendations. However, financial analysts focus on different investment opportunities while accountants work with maintaining financial records and completing taxes. Financial analysts take information and data to project new trends that can be beneficial when deciding on investment opportunities. On the other hand, accountants assess daily financial situations.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts use data trends to see if an investment opportunity fits the needs of an organization, business or individual. They must be able to understand these trends and use a variety of data to support any recommendations they provide. Financial analysts typically work in an office setting; however their job does require them to travel to meet with different clients. They must have exceptional math skills to determine quality estimations, along with computer skills to work the programs needed to develop trends, analyze data, and produce portfolios.

Job responsibilities of a financial analyst include:

  • Evaluating financial statements
  • Attending meetings with company officials
  • Developing financial reports
  • Reviewing an organization or person's financial history

Accountant

Accountants take care of the daily financial operations in a business or organization. They are responsible for preparing documentation as well as meeting with clients to discuss any recommendations regarding financial situations. Most of their work is done on their own, though some might work with other accountants. They must have excellent analytical skills to catch any errors in documentation easily. Accountants typically work with several companies at a time, so they must be very organized to keep client information separate and complete. Accountants may advance on into a career as a top executive or even a financial manager depending on their career goals. Others take senior positions that can land them a job as a manager, supervisor, or partner.

Job responsibilities of an accountant include:

  • Managing financial records
  • Finding ways to reduce costs and improving revenue
  • Ensuring documents comply with regulations
  • Taking care of account books for an organization

Related Careers

Those interested in becoming a financial analyst may also be interested in a career as a budget analyst where they focus more on spending and maintaining a budget. Accountants may be interested in a career as a management analyst where they need many of the same skills, but focus more on recommending ways to management that increase profit in an organization.

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