Budget Analyst, in general, help organizations to reach their financial goals by refining and overseeing primary and tertiary budgets and monitoring in-house spending. They work in many areas of commerce, including private businesses, non-profits, and government agencies.

Budget Analysts use their knowledge of finance and business to analyze costs and income and make suggests about the feasibility of operations within the organization. They may also study trends, observe investment opportunities, and indicate sound financial decision-making.

Job duties demand becoming familiar with an organization’s financial and other resources, its mission, and its objectives. One of the Budget Analyst’s main duties is to ensure that emergency and long-term and spending needs are covered.

Budget Analyst Job Description

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If this sounds like something you could do, and you have experience balancing budgets and working with spreadsheets, then reading on to find out more about the position. This career is perfect for someone who is fresh out of school or as a fulfilling job to take after your military service.

What makes Budget Analyst such an interesting career is that they gather and analyze data for operations, management, acquisitions, expansion, and other areas of business. Usually working with the executive staff you will be privy to sensitive information, and, according to one article, your daily job duties may include the following:

  • Working project and program managers to develop and refine department budgets.
  •  Reviewing budget proposals from various departments for accuracy and compliance with company bylaws.
  • Combining all department budgets together into a collective organizational budget and review all requests, making recommendations on each.
  •  Explaining your budget recommendations to others in the organization, administrators, and superiors.
  • Assisting the chief operations, managers, and supervisors analyze their own budget and make suggestions.
  •  Monitoring organizational spending to make sure that it meets budget.
  • Estimate projected financial needs 

In addition to performing many of these duties, though, you can expect to make a median salary of $69,280, with tip earners pulling in around $104,000 per year, according to the Business Administration Information (BAI) website.

Plus, the demand in the field is expected to grow 6% by 2022, as lean economic times require increased budget scrutiny and the watchful eyes of Budget Analyst. It is expected that the demand for entry-level budget analyst jobs should be strong, as many who currently fill positions are reaching retirement age, and location, education, and experience level can impact your chances at landing one of these lucrative positions.

I’m Ready: Budget Analyst Required Knowledge and Skills

Much like a Hiring Manager position we talked about in another blog, the Budget Analyst will need to get familiar with operations, programs, and goals of the organization. To that end, Budget Analyst must, according to this online article develop strong analytical skills and refine their knowledge in areas including:

  • Analytical and formulaic skills
  • Broad-based knowledge of business operations.
  • Attention to details.
  • Strong technology skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written and verbal communication.
  • Dependable and even judgment.
  • The ability to present numbers and analytics in a clear and common way.

Moreover, Budget Analyst must hold to ethical standards and demonstrate objectivity, confidentiality, and integrity, but if you are well organized and enjoy finance and business, then becoming a budget analyst could be the right career choice for you.

But, in order to qualifications for even an entry-level budget analyst position, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in most cases although some higher-level positions may even require advanced degrees in business, finance, or economics. Recommended coursework may include mastering such subjects as statistics, math, accounting, political science, economics, accounting, political science, and public administration.

Entry-level budget analyst positions usually start out with few fiduciary responsibilities, often working directly under a supervisor and, as they gain work experience and education, it may lead to intermediate and, finally, senior budget analyst positions.

Moreover, government analysts must carry the following certification from the Association of Government Accountants: Certified Government Financial Manager. This involves meeting a list of certain criteria like education as well as work experience, as well as passing a series of exams. 

Budget Analyst Career Applications

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But whichever path you choose, just remember that the Budget Analyst must be a well-rounded, knowledgeable, and trustworthy person, who is, in many respects, responsible for the financial well-being and profitability of the company or business itself.
According to our friend at Truity, the Budget Analyst advises a broad range of municipalities, universities, and businesses as well as prepares annual and special reports and evaluate budget proposals. Although elected officials, top executives, and financial officers usually make the final decision, they rely heavily on the work of Budget Analyst to prepare the information for that decision.

Another tool in the Budget Analyst’s belt must be the ability to use cost-benefit analysis sheet to review financial requests, explore alternative funding, and assess program tradeoffs. Budget Analyst also may pour over past budgets and research financial developments that affect a company’s income and expenditures. Below is a short list of some of the possible career paths involved with a Budget Analyst degree courtesy of our friend at Accounting Degree Review:

Public Accountant:

Public Accountants analyze financial data and provide recommendations, prepare tax returns, and determine a company’s financial position. In order to become a certified CPA, one must take and pass a national examination.

Finance Managers:

Finance Managers guide organizations toward financial health. They provide financial reports and examine investment activities, and they also help to determine growth strategies. In a nutshell, they solve financial problems and explore business opportunities.

Tax Examiner:

Tax Examiners review both corporate and individual tax returns. They routinely process tax returns, conduct tax audits, and investigate overdue accounts.

Plus, in the government realm, Finance Manager, like Budget Analyst, must attend committee hearings and communicate their recommendations to legislators. Occasionally, Budget Analyst may be asked to help draft budget-related legislation or provide policy analysis.

Budget Analyst vs. Auditor

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With all of the description of what a Budget Analyst is what one does, we thought it might be a good idea to add some qualifiers since the career sound awfully close to another separate and different number-crunching career.

Though closely related auditing and accounting are two distinctly different disciplines, and, if you would like to follow these careers, it is important to understand their distinctions. And that starts with understanding that accounting and budget analysis are daily or semi-daily processes performed by organizations, businesses, and companies in order to manage their finances.

Further, accounting involves the reporting of financial information, tracking departmental budgets, recording expenditures, identifying profits, and monitoring cash flows. However, auditing is an evaluation process for financial business practices that range from accounting protocols to documentation and compliance with regulatory statutes.

Auditing can be performed internally or externally, and, although an audit can take some time, it is considered to be a single event and not an ongoing or daily one, such as accounting. It is important to note, though, that, although accounting and auditing are different careers, they are related and students may find themselves sharing some of the same courses.

Moreover, while auditing is a single major in most institutions that focus primarily on numbers and mathematics, the bottom line, and other business-oriented subjects, a degree program in accounting will involve some arts, communications, mathematics, and social sciences subjects.

Education and Certification for a Budget Analyst Career

Speaking of coursework, there are many choices for online education in accounting and its various fields of application. Earning a BA online is a flexible option for many working adults to earn a degree or even achieve an advanced degree. Getting a degree in your field of work can be an excellent way to find higher pay and specialized positions.

One site compiled a list of the top 30 online programs from regionally accredited and affordable schools. Online tuition averaged around $200- $500 per credit hour for non-residents, and we are told that rankings are listed in descending order by cost per online credit for non-residents.

The same site also estimates that, between 2014 and 2024, there will be more than 150,000 more jobs added in Accounting sectors. Further, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics , the demand for accounting professionals is projected to rise based on the continued globalization or the economy and population growth.

Budget Analyst Career Wrap-up

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So, we have established that the Budget Analyst Career can be lucrative, achievable, and is expected to grow in coming years. Given that, if you feel comfortable with the following list, you may want to consider a career as a Budget Analyst after military service or after school.

  •  Working project and program managers to develop and refine department budgets.
  • Reviewing budget proposals from various departments for accuracy and compliance with company bylaws.
  • Combining all department budgets together into a collective organizational budget and review all requests, making recommendations on each.
  • Explaining your budget recommendations to others in the organization, administrators, and superiors.
  • L Assisting the chief operations, managers, and supervisors analyze their own budget and make suggestions.

 Aside from working with numbers, you will have to be a good communicator, have an attention to detail, and be able to think outside of the box.

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