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How to Become a Business Reporting Analyst

Learn how to become a business reporting analyst. Research the job duties and education requirements, and find out how to start a career as a business reporting analyst. View article »

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Business Reporting Analyst

So you think you might like to become a business reporting analyst? Business reporting analysts gather various types of data and generate reports to assist management with maximizing their firms' productivity and effectiveness. Report analysts generate reports to help management make business decisions, sales reports, or reports that provide key customer metrics, allowing the company to develop business strategies based on the data provided in these reports. Companies like to make strategic decisions based on that data, and a report analyst creates or generates the reports that provide the data to make these decisions.

Similar to market research analysts, business reporting analysts usually work full-time schedules during regular business hours, although overtime may be necessary. Such professionals work in office settings, spending much time on the computer and phone. Few physical risks or demands are associated with this job, although depending on the projects and workload, the profession may be stressful.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Business, accounting, finance, economics, or technical discipline
Experience 1-5 years of experience
Certification Voluntary
Key Skills Written and verbal communication, analytical, presentation/facilitating, and problem-solving skills; attention to detail; proficient in computer technology involving SQL, Microsoft Access and Excel; knowledge of business operation, strategies, metrics and trends, data modeling, and analyzation concepts
Salary $55,847 (2016 median salary for all report analysts)

Sources: Monster.com job postings, Payscale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So what are the career requirements for a business reporting analyst? Employers look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree. The degree field should be in business, accounting, finance, economics, or a technical discipline. Certification is voluntary, although some employers look for specific certifications. Most employers look for someone with 1-5 years of related experience.

The key skills you should have include written and verbal communication skills; analytical skills; presentation/facilitation skills; problem-solving skills; attention to detail; proficiency in computer technology involving SQL, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft Excel; and knowledge of business operations, strategies, metrics and trends, data modeling, and analysis concepts.

According to Payscale.com, the median salary for a report analyst is $55,847.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree can be suitable for most entry-level analyst positions. Analysts must be able to measure raw business data, balance it against public industry intelligence, spot patterns and trends, and disseminate the information. These general tasks combine both quantitative analysis and knowledge of business structures and practices. Degree programs that provide a foundation for these skills can include business administration, information systems, computer science, mathematics, accounting, finance, and economics.

Step 2: Obtain Work Experience

Many business reporting analyst positions require proficiency with data modeling, business intelligence, or database software programs, such as SQL. Although computer programming is not always necessary, it can increase the chances of advancement into more complex or specialized tasks. Since analysts must not only gather and generate useful data, but also convey it in an insightful manner, communication and presentation skills are advantageous. Analysts must also be able to interact with both employees and clients.

Step 3: Complete a Master's Degree Program

Advancement in a business reporting analyst career often involves specialization, which can be acquired through a combination of work experience and a master's degree program. For example, a master's degree in information systems can be an advantage to an analyst with a bachelor's degree in business. Extended experience with specialized technological tools can also accelerate progress in a particular industry, such as finance or healthcare. Some colleges also offer graduate certificate programs in business analysis-related disciplines.

Step 4: Consider Consulting

In addition to moving into corporate management positions within a firm, analysts with advanced and specialized expertise can also choose to become independent, self-employed consultants. Independent consultants offer insight and strategies for new companies looking to increase productivity or established firms looking to reorganize and restructure.

Step 5: Obtain Professional Certification

Certification can be an advantage for those seeking management or self-employed status. SAS Institute, formerly Statistical Analysis System, offers a number of certification programs for its software in programming, development, and administration. Additionally, the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. confers a Certified Management Consult (CMC) credential for entry-level, experienced, and executive-level management analysts. The CMC credential must be renewed every three years. Certification demonstrates dedication and commitment, and may lead individuals to higher paying jobs with more advancement opportunities.

Getting a bachelor's degree, gaining some work experience, obtaining an advanced degree, considering consulting, and earning certifications are all steps in the path of a career as a business reporting analyst.

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