Top 10 skills for a business analyst

Business analytics is an integral part of every organization, regardless of size. In one or more moments, companies use the expertise of a business analyst to facilitate business intelligence and ensure seamless operations. This has led to an increase in the demand for business analysts across different industries.

From business ideation to day-to-day management, a business analyst is burdened with several responsibilities that require a combination of technical and non-technical skills to perform. Therefore, this article highlights ten required skills you must possess to be an outstanding business analyst. Let’s get right into it.

1. Financial analysis and planning

Finances are one of the pillars of any successful business. Likewise, every business analyst must know how to conduct financial planning and analysis. This skill helps you perform tasks such as budgeting and revenue allocation and making decisions that promote the financial health of any business.

You can become proficient in organizational finance by enrolling in professional training programs and learning how to use high-end financial tools and software. The right personal financial habits also give you an edge in business financial planning and analysis. Meanwhile, as you acquire this skill, you may also learn to become a financial analyst, which is an added bonus to your career.

2. Communication and interpersonal skills

Group of people sitting together with laptops and writing materials.

Effective communication is a two-way process involving you and your audience. As a business analyst, you need to know how to communicate technical information to non-technical audiences and allow them input. Be it written, verbal, non-verbal or visual, formal or informal.

Additionally, you need to know how to interact and relate to people in the workplace, whether you’re working remotely or onsite. It is important to foster good interpersonal relationships with colleagues, stakeholders and customers. This helps you ensure smooth workflow between different departments of the organization.

To leverage your communication and interpersonal skills:

  • Learn to listen to other parties when communicating and watch their body language and tone of messages.
  • Process your thoughts properly before revealing them.
  • Above all, maintain a friendly yet professional demeanor when interacting.

3. Decision making process

Regardless of rigorous planning, a company’s trajectory is often unpredictable. As a result, you may be called on at odd and fair hours as a business analyst to make impromptu or planned decisions. These decisions can directly and indirectly impact all aspects of the business, including finance, workforce and infrastructure.

Therefore, you must have decision-making skills in your arsenal. To develop or improve your decision-making skills, start by building a well of information in different fields. Read books, articles and magazines about different aspects of life, your career and your industry. This helps you gain insights that could be helpful in making informed decisions.

4. Critical thinking

Photo of a woman staring puzzledly at a laptop.

In addition to being one of the most in-demand soft skills today, critical thinking is the foundation of decision making and problem solving. It helps you weigh multiple options before concluding on any area of ​​a business. Similarly, to be an effective business analyst, you must know how to identify and interpret problems, apply logic, birth ideas, and engineer solutions.

While acquiring critical thinking skills is a lifelong process, you can kick-start the process in a number of ways. One such way is to ask questions. Learn to question and evaluate the parameters (possible outcomes and requirements) of any idea or thought before acting on them.

Also, think broadly. This may seem counterintuitive, but exercising your brain and mind, whether there’s an upcoming challenge or not, is a great way to hone this skill. Also, have an open mind and discard all your prejudices. This also helps you promote objectivity in business analysis.

5. Expert tech skills

Technology is an indispensable factor in the modern business world. Therefore, knowing how to integrate and use technology in business analytics is a major asset to your career. In addition, to improve business operations in our fast-paced world requires knowledge of specific business technology tools, applications, software and principles.

Some business analytics tools, software, and principles include:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Power BI
  • Data extraction and analysis
  • Databases and SQL languages
  • Enterprise architecture
  • SWOT analysis

6. Documentation and Organization

Pile of paperwork arranged in different folders.

Documentation is a subset of non-verbal communication that helps you explain complex terms in the simplest form, using things like text and images. As a business analyst, you often have access to and prepare documents on different business operations.

Therefore, it is imperative that you possess documentation and organization skills to help you present information clearly and concisely. In addition, organized documentation allows you to create a database that can come in handy in the future.

One of the easiest ways to develop documentation and organizational skills is to take note of every little detail within your working jurisdiction. Curate project reports from inception to execution, highlighting challenges, solutions, and all accompanying activities. You can also create a file naming system to ensure proper organization.

7. Commercial Awareness

Commercial awareness involves having a deep understanding of the nooks and crannies of a specific company and industry, including trends and policies. It is an in-demand business analyst skill that helps you know how to best orient a company without losing its relevance in its niche industry.

You can generate ideas, spot opportunities, mitigate business threats, and give the business a competitive edge. To be commercially knowledgeable, you need to familiarize yourself with the materials, events, platforms, and best players related to the industry. This will help you stay abreast of industry happenings.

8. Teamwork

Five people sitting around a wooden table with a laptop and documents.

One of the many reasons effective teamwork is important to all organizations is that it increases productivity in the workplace. You can achieve more by working with a team of knowledgeable people. Likewise, working with different people across various units, remotely or onsite, is essential to being successful as a business analyst.

You can leverage your teamwork skills by prioritizing collaboration over siled work wherever you are: at work, at home, or at social gatherings. Seek and appreciate the input of others because no one has a monopoly on knowledge. Also, learn to communicate effectively and respect the differences of others.

9. Direction

Business analysts are like pacemakers; they set up and keep the ball moving through every activity. Most of the time, your responsibilities put you in a position to oversee business operations and drive organizational change. Therefore, possessing leadership skills is essential.

Whether or not you have innate leadership traits, you can gain profound leadership skills as a business analyst. You can start by taking on roles that allow you to interact with and lead a group of people in your neighborhood, cult center, or peer group.

This helps you develop and improve core leadership qualities, such as empathy, charisma, delegation and stewardship. Additionally, you can take leadership courses online to improve your management skills.

10. Trading

Photo of a man and woman shaking hands in an office.

Keeping the fort for any business as a business analyst requires you to orchestrate specific transactions and agreements to keep the business running. This is where your negotiating skills come into play. You must be an excellent negotiator to do business and create short- or long-term partnerships that benefit the company and third parties.

To be good at negotiating, you need to be familiar with industry tactics and learn to bargain purposefully under pressure. You should also learn to listen carefully and remain objective, keeping the company’s priorities in mind. In the meantime, keep in mind that negotiation skills are acquired over time with constant practice.

You can practice negotiating by role-playing with friends and families in your neighborhood or by haggling prices outside of a corporate setting, such as markets. You can also read the best negotiation books to better understand the art of haggling.

Become an in-demand business analyst

Business analysts earn handsomely in different industries. And possessing these skills listed above places you in the group of high-earning and highly sought-after business savvy.

Meanwhile, to remain an in-demand business analyst, you must continue to improve the necessary skills because building a successful career requires ongoing effort. In addition to your skill set, you can leverage several business analyst certifications to further your career.

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