An analyst specializes in an area within a field of specialization. A consultant specializes in a field of specialization and therefore has a stronger understanding of the specific industry. The business consultant is an expert who comes from outside the company and provides his services at hourly rates. These consultants focus on people, not companies, and they are not the type of consultants addressed here.
Independent consultants often have varying incomes, and the most profitable independent consultants are usually former high-ranking financial professionals. If a consultant has three years of full-time business experience and, at least, a bachelor's degree, they may be eligible to enroll in a course to earn the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation, which requires nine college-level courses or 27 hours of college credit in the subject. These services are provided by independent professionals, who are referred to differently as business analysts and business consultants. Many analysts and consultants study economics or finance in undergraduate school, and many earn their master's degree in business administration (MBA).
Generally speaking, financial consultants have greater earning potential, but they also tend to work longer hours and spend more time away for business trips. Many of the skills of a business analyst and a business consultant are the same, but usually a BA is more of a technical expert, while a business consultant is more of a financial expert.