A Business analyst is someone who reviews business processes and procedures for companies. Some analysts may work in the accounting department as financial analysts. Either position is known for its analytical review of information reported from business operations. Analysts assist management with decisions regarding operations, policies and investments for the company.

Analyst Positions
Business analyst positions can be specific to certain departments in a company. Some work solely for information technology (IT), manufacturing, accounting or finance. Each position requires a special skill set by the analyst; some individuals may be promoted internally from these departments for the analyst position.
Financial analysts typically work in the accounting department and review all departments on a financial basis. Some functions include reviewing operations on a cost-effective basis and find ways to cut expenses.

Entry Level
An entry-level business analyst with no experience may earn from $40,500 to $50,200 according to a July 2009 PayScale compensation survey. Entry-level financial analysts earn from $40,200 to $54,300 based on the same survey.
Most business or financial analyst positions are in the private sector; some analysts may choose to earn professional certification, such as the certified professional Accountant (CPA) license or the certified business analyst professional (CBAP) license.

Staff Analyst
Most staff business or financial analysts have anywhere from one to four years of experience. Business analysts earn $41,800 to $68,400 while financial analysts earn $43,100 to $58,400 based on the PayScale survey. The range of pay is based on the experience of the analyst and if he has earned a professional license. During this career level most analysts will begin to choose a certain career path in the private sector. Finance, banking, accounting, or computer software are popular industries for business and financial analysts.

Senior Analyst
Senior business analysts with a professional license and 5-9 years experience will earn $50,100 to $74,700 based on the July 2009 PayScale survey. Financial analysts earn $48,900 to $67,300 based on the same survey. Senior analysts may supervise other analysts or certain members of the accounting office that interact with their department. Some industries may include bonuses and merit pay at this level of the analyst's career.

Career Options
Business and financial analysts can have a wide range of career options after the Senior Analyst level. Analysts may continue to progress into the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Vice President of Finance, or as an individual consultant. Annual compensation for these positions can vary depending on the company and industry. Many executive positions will have large compensation packages that include stock options, company perks, or hefty bonuses.

Individual consultant positions can also be lucrative depending on the type of experience the analyst has achieved in the work place. Highly skilled analysts can command high hourly rates and specific work hours, making these positions very popular for analysts.