What is a Budget Analyst?

A budget analyst is responsible for helping organizations and companies keep their finances on track. Budget analysts prepare budgets and develop forecasts based on economic and past spending trends in order to provide a company with a “big picture” of its financial situation. These professionals work in a variety of industries with both small and large companies. Jobs can be found with financial firms, healthcare providers, educational institutions, government agencies, and more. Budget analysts are vital to maintaining a company’s profitability, reaching the organization’s financial goals, and attaining long-term growth.

Job Duties

One of the main duties of budget analysts is analyzing a company’s current budget and developing a new one, if necessary. This may involve working with project and department managers, as well as other stakeholders, to determine the benefits and costs of different programs. Budget analysts also conduct research, analyze the data they find, and review a company’s financial records. During the analyzing process, they often recommend spending cuts and funding levels.

Budget analysts are also required to ensure that bookkeeping, budgets, and other finances are in compliance with company standards, laws, and regulations. They may make recommendations to stakeholders and management regarding the most efficient way to use funds. Additional duties include preparing annual and other reports, providing technical analysis, and monitoring spending for variations.

Job Outlook and Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employment for budget analysts is expected to grow three percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. As governments continue to face budget cuts, the need for budget analysts should remain steady in the public arena with some potential for growth at government agencies. According to the BLS, the turnover rate for budget analysts is steady, meaning that more entry-level jobs open up as budget analysts move on to better-paying positions.

The BLS reports that the median pay for a budget analyst as of May 2016 was $73,840 per year, and the top 10 percent of budget analysts earned a median salary of $111,460. Entry-level workers and those in the lowest 10 percent of the pay range held a median salary of $48,300. Employment prospects and salary potential may vary depending on education, experience, location, and other factors.

Training and Education

To hold positions as budget analysts, professionals are typically required to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, although some employers may refer applicants with master’s and advanced degrees. Since strong analytical and numerical skills are required for these positions, coursework in accounting and statistics is helpful. Some employers look for candidates with degrees in statistics, finance, political science, business administration, or accounting. Employers also seek strong verbal and written communication skills as well as a keen attention to detail.

Entry-level budget analyst positions provide opportunities for taking on additional responsibilities as well as learning the industry. From there, budget analysts may move to a budget manager, finance manager, or senior budget analyst position.

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Individuals with strong mathematical and communication skills may consider careers as budget analysts. Due to the attractive salary, job outlook, and possibility for growth, the position of budget analyst is a smart career choice for those seeking to help companies meet and exceed their financial goals.