Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

Business Analyst: Josiah Pradhan, Finance Lead, Europe, at One HSBC, Explains the Qualities You'll Need to Succeed in This Position-And Why It's a Role Worth Striving For

Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

Business Analyst: Josiah Pradhan, Finance Lead, Europe, at One HSBC, Explains the Qualities You'll Need to Succeed in This Position-And Why It's a Role Worth Striving For

Article excerpt

The role of a business analyst may vary from company to company, but in each case the main task is to provide information that helps senior managers to make key decisions. Business analysts need to differentiate between financial reporting and management information. It's crucial not to get too bogged down in reconciling numbers to the nth degree, so you shouldn't be afraid of forecasting. For example, if a forecast is 90 per cent right but timely, it will add more value than 100 per cent accurate data provided 10 days later.

The ability to communicate effectively is also vital. You must ensure that all stakeholders understand the information you're providing--and that they trust you to give them the right information at the right time. Indeed, softer skills are just as important as your grasp of the numbers.

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I joined HSBC in 2007 as a senior business analyst in its European management information function. The role included analysing financial data and drawing out the key messages from it. Senior managers don't have much time, so giving them clear summaries by month, by quarter and so on--without any waffle--is crucial. There is nothing more boring than looking through tables of numbers, so the judicious use of graphs and other visual tools to highlight trends is also important.

Business analysts should avoid spending too much time looking at the past. You need to give insights about where the business is heading and its progress towards targets. …

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