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Accounting Analyst vs. Accountant: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in accounting, you may be wondering what the difference is between an accounting analyst and an accountant. Both roles are important in the field of accounting, but they have different responsibilities. In this article, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between these two job titles, and we’ll provide some tips on how to choose the right career path for you.

What is an Accounting Analyst?

An Accounting Analyst is responsible for providing financial analysis and support to an organization. They compile and analyze financial information to help the organization make well-informed decisions. Accounting Analysts may also be responsible for preparing financial reports, developing forecasting models, and analyzing trends. They typically work in the accounting or finance department of a company and report to the Accounting Manager or Financial Analyst.

What is an Accountant?

Accountants are responsible for maintaining and preparing financial records. They use their mathematical skills to calculate, prepare and analyze financial data. This data is used to help individuals, businesses and organizations make informed decisions about their finances. Accountants may work for a specific company or organization, or they may work as independent consultants. Some accountants specialize in a specific area, such as auditing, tax accounting or forensic accounting.

Accounting Analyst vs. Accountant

Here are the main differences between an accounting analyst and an accountant.

Job Duties

Accounting analysts perform a wide variety of tasks to help improve a company’s financial standing. They might research market conditions, study the competition and evaluate new technologies that could affect a company’s financial performance.

Accounting analysts also develop solutions to address these issues. They may design new accounting systems or propose changes in business processes to reduce costs and increase revenue. These professionals often present their findings and recommendations to senior management.

In contrast, accountants perform specific duties related to bookkeeping and financial reporting. They use the data collected by the accounting analyst to complete tax returns and other financial documents. Accountants may also provide financial advice to managers and employees.

Job Requirements

To become an accountant or accounting analyst, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, statistics, economics, business administration or a related field. For consideration in more advanced positions, it may help to pursue a master’s degree, but it is not a prerequisite for either position.

In addition to college, both professions may continue education through additional certifications. A CPA license, which teaches accountants how to file taxes, is accredited through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and offered as a national exam. A CFA license allows financial analysts to advise clients through decision-making in investment opportunities. Certifications are not mandatory in either position but allow for more growth opportunities and can be an outlet for gaining more experience in the financial field through extensive training hours.

Work Environment

Accounting analysts typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients and attend conferences. They often work full time during regular business hours, although overtime is sometimes necessary.

Accountants usually work in an office environment, but they may also travel to visit clients or attend conferences. They also work full time during regular business hours, although overtime is sometimes necessary. Accountants can work for a variety of companies, including banks, insurance agencies, law firms and real estate agencies.


The specific skills used on the job by accounting analysts and accountants can differ depending on their level of experience and the type of organization they work for. However, both roles typically require excellent analytical and mathematical skills to perform tasks such as reviewing financial statements, preparing tax returns and developing budgets. They also need to be able to use accounting software programs to input data and generate reports.

Organizational skills are important for both accounting analysts and accountants, as they often have to manage multiple projects at one time. Communication skills are also key, as they need to be able to explain complex financial concepts to clients, colleagues and upper management.

Accounting analysts may benefit from having research skills, as they often have to find information about new laws and regulations that could impact their organization. They also may need to develop forecasting models to predict future trends. Accountants usually do not need to conduct research, but they may benefit from having project management skills to help them plan and oversee the work of junior staff members.


The average salary for an accounting analyst is $61,154 per year, while the average salary for an accountant is $68,239 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has.


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