How to Become a Budget Analyst

Budget analysis is very important in all companies and organizations to successfully distribute financial resources. Budget analysts create, analyze, and implement budgets that are used to assign current sources and estimate the financial needs of the future.

What does a budget analyst do?

Budget analysts examine proposed operational and financial plans that outline the programs of the organization, estimate the financial requirements of the programs, and suggest funding plans to meet financial needs. They review budget estimates and proposals to make sure they are complete and accurate and conform to the objectives, regulations, and procedures of the company. Sometimes budget analysts use cost-benefit analyses to examine the financial requests, evaluate program exchanges, and investigate alternative methods for funding. They also review previous budgets and research financial and economic developments that may affect the spending behavior of the organization. Budget analysts sum up their analysis in budget summaries and present them to upper management.

Some budget analysts are involved in policy analysis, performance evaluation, creating budget-related legislation and conducting training sessions on new budget procedures.

What kind of training does a budget analyst need?

Budget analysts usually need at least a bachelor degree, but some employers prefer or require a master degree. Many budget analysts have degrees in accounting, business, economics, finance, political science, or statistics. Some firms prefer applicants with business degrees because budget analysis involves analytical and quantitative skills. Most employers offer classroom training and on the job training. Many budget analysts complete classes in professional development throughout their careers.

Budget analysts working in Federal, state, or local government positions may obtain the Certified Government Financial Manager certification that is offered by the Association of Government Accountants. A bachelor degree, 24 credits hours in financial management, 2 years of relevant financial management work experience, and passing three examinations are the certification requirements. Completion of 80 continuing education hours every 2 years is required for certification renewal.

What are the prospects for a career as a budget analyst?

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 7% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased demand for thorough financial analysis will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for budget analysts with master degrees and specialized experience. Job openings will also occur from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do budget analysts make?

As of September 2009, the middle 50% of budget analysts earned annual salaries between $42,757 and $54,944. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $60,846 (2).

A career as a budget analyst is a great choice for people interest in budgets and financial analysis. Budget analysts must follow strict ethical standards and be able to work under stressful conditions with strict deadlines. Confidentiality, objectivity, integrity, good mathematical skills, and great communication skills are also very important.

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