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Budget Analysts

Career Description

A Budget Analyst develops, analyzes, and executes budgets,  which are used to allocate current resources and estimate future financial needs.

Common Work Tasks

  • Examine the budget and seek new ways to improve efficiency and increase profits
  • Try to find the most efficient way to distribute funds and other resources among various departments and programs
  • Conduct program performance evaluation, policy analysis, and the drafting of budget-related legislation
  • Conduct training sessions for company or government agency personnel regarding new budget procedures
  • Examine budget estimates and proposals for completeness; accuracy; and conformance with established procedures,  regulations, and organizational objective
  • Employ cost-benefit analyses to review financial requests, assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods
  • Examine past budgets and research economic and financial developments that affect the organization’s spending
  • Consolidate individual departmental budgets into operating and capital budget summaries
  • Help the chief operating officer, agency head,  or other top managers analyze proposed budget plans and devise possible alternatives if the projected results are unsatisfactory
  • Recommend program cuts or a reallocation of excess funds

Other Job Titles

Budget Analysts are also known by other titles, including:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Management Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Cost Estimator

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
A bachelor’s degree usually is the minimum educational requirement for budget analyst jobs,  but some organizations prefer or require a master’s degree. Entry-level budget analysts usually begin with limited responsibilities but can be promoted to intermediate-level positions within 1 to 2 years, and to senior positions with additional experience.

Certification and Licensure
      A government budget analyst employed at the Federal, State, or local level may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager designation granted by the Association of Government Accountants. Other government financial officers also may earn this designation. To do so, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, 24 credit hours of study in financial management, and 2 years of government work experience in financial management. They also must pass a series of three exams that cover topics on the government; governmental accounting,  financial reporting, and budgeting; and financial management and control. To maintain the designation, individuals must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education every 2 years.

Experience
          Budget analysts must abide by strict ethical standards. Integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality are all essential when dealing with financial information, and budget analysts must avoid any personal conflicts of interest. Most budget analysts also need mathematical skills and should be able to use software packages, including spreadsheet, database, data-mining, financial analysis, and graphics programs. Strong oral and written communication skills also are essential, because budget analysts must prepare, present, and defend budget proposals to decision makers. In addition, budget analysts must be able to work under strict time constraints.

Salary

The median annual salary of a Budget Analyst is $63,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $97,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $41,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of budget analysts are:

  • Federal Executive Branch - $69,820
  • Local Government - $60,670
  • State Government - $57,470
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $57,530
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises - $70,220

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  7%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 4,400
  • Employment 2006 : 62,000
  • Employment 2016:  66,000
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