SMART Performance Goals Every Business Analyst Must Achieve
Today I want to focus on goals for business analysts.
It’s a topic I enjoy since I spent a lot of time in analyst roles. They laid the foundation for senior finance positions later in my life.
So, if you want to advance your analyst career to new heights or impress the boss with new objectives in your business analyst role, then you are in the right place.
Whether you are a senior business analyst or starting your first analyst job, let’s get moving. Then you can begin goal-setting.
Examples Of Goals For Business Analysts
Here are my top 10 performance goals examples for business analysts:
- Develop the right processes
- Master your organization’s information systems
- Turn data into information
- Train across all functional areas
- Improve your accounting and financial analysis skills
- Put your focus on business performance
- Improve your communication skills
- Be a partner to your stakeholders
- Become an implementor
- Increase leadership skills
Next, I will walk through each of these 10 points individually. Then, I suggest you check out these 12 professional development goals when you have finished. It provides a broader view of your self-improvement potential.
But for now, back to the ten goals for business analysts!
Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
1. Develop The Right Processes
Your challenge as a business analyst is that priorities are loosely defined. As a result, analysts get caught up in all the junk no one else wants to do.
Thus, business analysts must set firm objectives.
First, ask yourself this question: what am I trying to accomplish? Then develop processes to ensure you achieve your business analyst performance goals and objectives.
To get your thoughts flowing, here are some examples of priorities to consider:
- Analyze capital expenses for return on investment
- Assess financial statements for opportunities
- Develop a daily dashboard of key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Monitor your organization’s critical success factors
- Identify opportunities for the annual financial planning process
Tackling this objective should be your first project. Then move on to number 2 on today’s list.
2. Master Your Organization’s Information Systems
Knowledge provides power and influence.
Your knowledge partly comes from the information available at your organization. The data comes from the information systems and underlying processes that feed it.
Thus, process map your company’s information systems. Then, learn the underlying processes that feed it. Finally, use new techniques to understand the information flow.
3. Turn Data Into Information
Most of the companies I have worked at are data-rich and information poor.
Specifically, there is plenty of data spit out by the technology systems. But, there needs to be more information.
What is the result?
When things go wrong, everyone points their finger elsewhere to place blame. Then it takes more time to get to the root cause of problems.
Thus, your goal as a business analyst: challenge yourself to turn the reams of data into actionable information.
Ask yourself what information will help to run your business better. Then get busy producing and analyzing that information.
Whatever the case, do not dump data on your stakeholders. First, they will not use it. Worse yet, they will lose confidence in you.
4. Train Across All Functional Areas
It takes more work to achieve your objectives as a business analyst when you need an in-depth understanding of your company.
Here are some ideas to cross-train in every area of your organization:
- Participate in new product development teams
- Go on sales calls to potential new customers
- Work in customer service
- Learn how to use your products properly
- Test products for quality control issues
- Visit offsite facilities
- Work on the production lines
- Pick, pack, and ship in the warehouse
5. Improve Your Accounting And Financial Analysis Skills
Finance is a core part of business language. In addition, accounting reports are an essential part of that language.
Thus, set a goal to immerse yourself in the following financial areas:
- Monthly financial statements
- Department budgets
- The annual financial plan
- Short-term financial forecasting
- Cash flows
- Capital investments
Act like your company’s money is your money, and manage it wisely as if it were yours.
Learn about the accounting department. Also, become adept at finance. Knowledge of both areas goes a long way toward your success.
6. Put Your Focus On Business Performance
Keep sight of the big picture at your company. Learn and understand the big-picture view.
Specifically, companies employ business analysts to improve performance.
So, get your skin in the game and set goals for improving your employer’s business.
Some potential business performance goals for analysts include the following:
- Improve product or service quality
- Achieve higher on-time delivery
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Improve customer retention
- Increase sales volumes
- Optimize pricing
- Increase market share
- Develop new customers
- Expand into a new market or channel
- Develop new products or services
- Decrease expenses
- Streamline processes
- Improve profit margins
- Increase absolute profits
- Increase shareholder value
Learn what is critical to the success of your company. Then set your goals to support that success.
7. Improve Your Communication Skills
Getting your ideas across effectively is a worthy objective for business analysts. Furthermore, good communication is one of many critical management skills.
Because if you can communicate your findings with impact, performance improvement will follow. Otherwise, your conclusions are worthless.
For example, possible communication-related goals for business analysts include the following:
- Improve public speaking skills
- Better present your thoughts in meetings
- Practice constructive criticism
- Be more persuasive
- Become better at negotiation
- Write more concisely
Furthermore, get some assistance in this critical skill area. For this, I highly recommend a course on building practical communication skills.
8. Be A Partner To Your Stakeholders
Business analysts have access to crucial information. Thus, you possess an essential company resource.
Use that information as a tool to become a better partner for the management team. Become their eyes and ears on the business to move it forward. This behavior is proper whether you are trying to improve a small business or a larger one.
Most importantly, avoid being viewed as a support function focused on the past. Do not just identify problems; become part of the solution.
So, stop thinking of yourself as a business analyst. In contrast, present yourself as a valuable company resource that identifies problems and helps solve them.
Remember, you have unique skills. Also, the ability to mine, produce and understand valuable information like others can not.
Thus, step back and look at the bigger picture of business goal setting.
First, understand the goals of the company where you work. Second, align yourself with those goals to become a better partner.
9. Become An Implementor
Next, I have a brief story from my past. I want to share it to hammer home another goal for business analysts.
I came to know a consulting firm that specializes in lean manufacturing. They did some fine work at a food manufacturing company where I was the Vice President of Finance for ten years.
Their team members didn’t like being called consultants. Instead, these people preferred to be called implementors.
Because they were experts at collecting data, turning it into information, and implementing solutions. The solutions streamlined factory processes and reduced costs at the company.
They insisted that consultants merely tell you what you should do. But then, they took their role one step further to put their recommendations to work.
So, as a business analyst, I want you to do the same thing. Don’t just say what needs to get done. Instead, get your hands dirty and help do it!
Then put those accomplishments on your resume. Furthermore, to present your qualifications in the best possible light, MyPerfectResume is an excellent tool.
10. Increase Leadership Skills
Remember the point I made earlier? Specifically, companies employ business analysts to improve operating performance.
To improve operating performance, you must be a change agent.
To be a change agent, you must become a good leader.
What does it mean to lean?
Simply put, leadership is the process of exerting influence to maximize the efforts of others toward the achievement of common objectives.
As a result, think about these possible goals to improve your leadership skills:
- Build better relationships
- Accept responsibility
- Develop confidence and presence
- Practice active listening skills
- Become more adaptable
- Reflect and learn from failure
- Be open to contructive critisism
- Set a good example
- Set expectations and goals
- Be a coach and mentor
- Provide positive feedback
- Address poor performance
Also, consider this online course for developing your leadership skills.
Goal Setting For Business Analysts
Okay. That concludes my review of 10 top business analyst performance goals.
You may also benefit from reading: How to develop a 5-year career plan.
Otherwise, please stick with me here and let me touch on some additional vital topics related to goals and goal setting..
SMART Goals For Business Analysts
First, you need a quality process to set your goals for success. For this, business analysts should set SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym. To be a SMART goal, each one should meet the following requirements:
I won’t go into the details of setting SMART goals for business analysts here. However, you can check out this article about using the SMART goal-setting system for more information.
Next, let’s touch on the last point of the SMART goals system, setting time-bound goals.
Short-Term Business Analyst Performance Goals
Since it’s a “what have you done for me lately” kind of world, I suggest focusing on short-term business goals.
Complete these goals within one year. This timing fits nicely with the typical business planning and performance review cycle.
First, consider where you have any notable weaknesses in your performance. Then, shore it up by setting and achieving short-term goals.
Long-Term Goals For Business Analysts
However, pay attention to your long-term goals too.
Usually, goals having an expected completion date beyond one year are considered long-term in the business world.
Goals of this type are essential for your professional development at work.
Examples Of Goals For Business Analysts – Wrap Up
Good luck with your business analyst career goals.
Here is a phrase I would like to leave you with:
Be great, be diverse, and, most importantly, be you. Your personal development as a professional depends on it.
Furthermore, to take your work game to the next level, you may enjoy our other:
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!
Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.