Business analysts play a critical role solving data challenges in financial services

Business Analysts Play a Critical Role Solving Data Challenges in Financial Services

Adding SQL to the business analyst toolkit enhances data skills critical to project execution.

Financial services organizations rely heavily on the insights provided by their data to make informed decisions about daily operations, investment performance, and controls. Data insights also inform the health and effectiveness of investment-related process and technology projects.

Whether it’s creating new performance reports, implementing a new technology platform, or conducting a data clean-up project across multiple sources, business analysts (BAs) play an instrumental role in bringing data insights to life.

BAs help bridge the gap between stakeholders and technical teams. By understanding the data and processes needed to support business goals, they can guide a technical team in the delivery of outcome-based solutions.

Supplementing traditional BA skills with SQL competencies

BAs need core business analysis skills such as interviewing stakeholders, documenting the current state, writing business requirements, and crafting project and testing plans. In addition, a strong understanding of Structured Query Language (SQL) can significantly enhance a BA’s ability to extract, analyze, and report data insights to support problem-solving projects.

SQL (pronounced “sequel”) is defined by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as “a standard programming language for relational database management systems.” It enables users to retrieve, insert, update, and delete data from a database and perform various database operations.

Business analysts equipped with SQL skills have a more powerful toolset to support decision-making and enable successful execution of projects. By leveraging SQL’s data extraction, reporting, validation, and query optimization capabilities, business analysts can more effectively navigate complex data sets, develop actionable data insights, and collaborate with technical teams.

5 ways SQL enhances data skills

By going beyond traditional Excel-based data analysis and bringing SQL into the fold, BAs can quickly become indispensable in driving project success and achieving business objectives. Here are five data skills enhanced by using SQL:

  1. Data Extraction and Exploration: By harnessing SQL’s querying capabilities, business analysts can access relevant information quickly and efficiently, enabling them to dive deep into patterns and trends, highlight anomalies, and gain other valuable insights to support project objectives. SQL provides simple, powerful tools for extracting and exploring data from databases. Business analysts proficient in SQL can use commands such as CASE WHEN and GROUP BY to pull, filter, sort, and aggregate targeted data sets.

  2. Data Validation and Quality Assurance: Data integrity is critical for project success. Business analysts with SQL skills can use the language to design and execute queries to perform data quality checks, ensuring that the information used for analysis and decision-making is reliable. By identifying data anomalies, redundancies, or other inconsistencies, analysts can get ahead of data issues and prevent potential project roadblocks.

  3. Reporting and Visualization: Effective communication of insights and findings is also important for successful project implementation. SQL skills enable business analysts to develop meaningful metrics and calculations and present that data in easily understandable formats. Taking it a step further, data visualization tools like Microsoft Power BI and Tableau can be integrated easily with SQL to create eye-catching charts, graphs, and dashboards to convey project information to stakeholders more clearly.

  4. Data Integration and Collaboration: Projects often involve multiple systems and disparate datasets that need to be merged. Business analysts with SQL expertise can promote more seamless data integration by writing queries to combine and transform data from multiple sources. Using JOIN and UNION commands along with subqueries in SQL, analysts can efficiently blend and consolidate data sets from different sources. Proficiency in SQL can also help analysts collaborate more effectively with database administrators and software developers, facilitating a smooth flow of information throughout the project lifecycle.

  5. Efficiency and Scalability: BAs with strong SQL skills can enhance system performance by writing efficient queries and optimizing database interactions with stored procedures, functions, and scripted data views. This may become more important as project and system requirements evolve. By improving data retrieval and processing response times and minimizing system resource consumption, business analysts can help a project remain agile and responsive to changing business needs.

Business analyst roles at Grandview Analytics

Grandview Analytics is a consulting and managed data services firm that helps financial institutions solve data and technology challenges. We are a team of experienced financial industry professionals who have developed a passion for problem-solving using data analysis tools combined with knowledge of investment assets, operational functions, and technology platforms.

While not everyone new to Grandview will be fluent beyond advanced Excel skills, proficiency in common SQL scripts is one of the essential business analyst skillsets we develop in our team through hands-on experience, mentorship, and internal and external training.

If you’ve ever considered a pivot from your front/middle/back-office investment-related role to a business analyst role, reach out to us at to learn more about BA roles at Grandview Analytics.


Grandview Analytics is a technology consulting and investment data management software company serving financial institutions. We offer data strategy, technology implementation, systems integration, and analytics consulting services as well as an outsourced investment data management and reporting service powered by our proprietary, cloud-based platform, Rivvit.

Our services drive improved business processes, integrated technologies, accurate and timely data, and enhanced decision-making capabilities. Our seasoned team of financial industry professionals brings deep business and technical domain expertise across asset classes and trade lifecycle. With hands-on financial industry experience, we execute on complex initiatives that help clients optimize ROI on data and technology investments.



Picture of Jeff Tincher

Jeff Tincher

Jeff is Director at Grandview Analytics. With nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, he has built a career around financial data analysis and technology.


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