Financial Analyst vs Accountant

There are many similarities and differences between a financial analyst vs an accountant. Both play key roles in the management of money and help individuals and companies make important decisions about the use of money, assuring it is used wisely to secure financial wealth for the future.

Financial analysts work with the big picture numbers, using research skills to assess the financial health of an individual, business or organization. As a financial analyst, you make decisions that effect the entire organization. You may look at financial statements, income statements, expense statements, investments and tax returns. Using data from this research, you can make projections about the future financial welfare of a company or individual. Financial analysts try to maximize profits while maintaining the legal integrity of the company. Financial analysts may also be called upon to give presentations on the status of a company, or a potential investment the company is considering. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation distinguishes financial analysts from other finance positions.

Accountants, on the other hand, usually manage the day-to-day operations and accounting associated with a business. Bookkeeping and keeping the general ledger are their primary duties. Accountants might keep track of specific transactions, create and track invoices, manage payroll, make purchases, and balance profit/loss statements. For income tax and accounting, the primary designation is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Usually a financial analyst will use the reports generated by an accountant to determine which way a company should go in terms of investments and long-term growth.

Interested in learning more? Read about how to become a financial analyst, or how to become an accountant, or use the DegreeTree School Finder to find the right online school and program to match your needs.