Financial Analyst vs Accountant

Updated on April 11, 2024
Article byNiti Gupta
Edited byNiti Gupta
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Difference Between Financial Analyst and Accountant

A financial Analyst analyzes the information available from different sources and historic patterns and, based on that, predicts the firm’s future. They help management make different business decisions, build strategic planning, etc. An accountant is mostly involved in day-to-day financial accuracy, correct bookkeeping of financial transactions, and handling of taxes of an entity. They help analyze financial statements, their audit, and the presentation of the results.

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Financial Analyst vs Accountant Infographics

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Similarities

Though the roles and responsibilities of a financial analyst and an accountant are different, several similarities are there too between the two roles. Similarities between a financial analyst and an accountant as a profession can be understood from the given points in the below table:

Point of similaritiesFinancial AnalystAccountant
Educational backgroundThe minimum required education in a financial analyst career is a bachelor’s degree in finance.Same as for a financial analyst profession, the minimum required degree of education for an accountant as a career is a bachelor’s degree in finance.
Dealing with Financial informationFinancial analyst deals with financial information to forecast or predict the future performance of the company.AccountantsAccountantsAn accountant is a finance professional responsible for recording business transactions on behalf of a firm, reporting the firm’s performance and issuing financial statements. Thus, an accountant plays an important role whether it is a small domestic entity or a large multinational company.read more also deal with financial information but they do it for the purpose of preparation of financial statements of the company.
Same work environmentA financial analyst works in front of the computer examines financial information and uses financial software to gain the understanding and knowledge to perform their role.Similar to financial analysts, the accountant also works in the same work environment and uses similar financial software for bookkeeping and preparation of the financial statements.
Providing accounting information to the usersFinancial analysts provide accounting information to the management of the company to help them in making various business decisions.Accountants also provide accounting information to the external stakeholders to help them in taking investment decisions.

Key Differences

The differences between the two professions, i.e., financial analyst career and accountant career, can be understood from the below points in the given table:

Point of differenceFinancial AnalystAccountant
Work responsibilityFinancial analysts work with macroeconomicMacroeconomicMacroeconomics aims at studying aspects and phenomena important to the national economy and world economy at large like GDP, inflation, fiscal policies, monetary policies, unemployment rates.read more as well as microeconomic factors to predict the future performance of the business, thus, in other words, they look at the overall picture or holistic view of the business.Accountants are more concerned with the accuracy of books and financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all levels.read more, its preparation, and audit. They also tax the returns of the company.
Certification courseThe dominant but not mandatory certification course for financial analysts is CFACFAThe Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Program offers a graduate-level curriculum and examination program designed to expand your working knowledge and practical skills related to investment decision-making. read more i.e. Chartered financial analysts.The dominant but not mandatory certification course for accountants is CPA i.e. Certified public accountants.
SalariesAs per the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics (BLS), financial analysts are better learners than accountants.As per the data provided by the BLS average salaries of accountants are lower than the financial analysts.
WorkplaceThough both financial analysts and accountants work in similar kinds of work environments financial analysts generally work for big firms.Accountants can work for major accounting firms or independently for several clients at the same time.

Conclusion

Both financial analysts and accountants perform important work for the organization. An organization would not be able to succeed without the help of any one of them. And both of the professions are excellent career choices, end of the day; it just depends upon the area of the interest of the candidates wanting to adopt any of the careers. Both professions require data crunching analysis from various points of view, but the expected output is different. Financial analysts examine data to predict future performance, while accountants help in maintaining financial accuracy and consistency.

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