Budget analysts help companies and organizations keep their finances on track. They prepare budgets and develop forecasts based on past spending and economic trends. Budget analysts are vital to reaching financial goals, maintaining profitability and attaining long-term growth.
These professionals may work in a variety of industries, with companies large and small. Budget analyst jobs can be found with government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare providers, financial firms and more.
One of a budget analyst’s main duties is developing an organization’s budget. This may involve working with department and project managers, as well as other stakeholders, to determine costs and benefits of various programs. They also conduct research, analyze data and review financial records. During the process, they typically recommend funding levels and spending cuts.
Budget analysts are often required to ensure that budgets, bookkeeping, and other finances are in compliance with regulations, laws and company standards. They also make recommendations to management and other stakeholders regarding efficient use of funds. Additional duties include monitoring spending for variations, providing technical analysis, and preparing annual and other reports.
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Budget Analysts
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for budget analysts is projected to be 3% through 2024.
As governments face continued budget cuts, the need for budget analysts should remain stable in the public arena with some possibility for growth at government agencies, the BLS said. Also, the occupation has a steady turn-over rate as analysts move to other, better-paying positions, creating prospects for those at an entry level, the BLS said.
The BLS reported in May 2015, the median pay for a budget analyst was $71,590 and the top 10% earned a median salary of $108,600. Those in the lowest 10% of the pay range, often entry level workers, had a median salary of $47,550.
Salary potential and employment prospects may vary depending on location, experience, education and other factors.
Education and Training for Budget Analysts
Budget analyst positions typically require a bachelor’s degree at minimum, although employers may show preference to candidates with advanced degrees, such as a master’s. Because strong numerical and analytical skills are necessary in this field, coursework in statistics and accounting is helpful. Some employers look for a candidate with a degree in accounting, business administration, political science, finance or statistics.
According to the BLS, prospective budget analysts are often required to have some training or experience in the budget cycle, which typically lasts for one year. Employers also seek strong written and verbal communication skills, and attention to detail.
Entry-level budget analyst jobs provide opportunities for learning and taking on additional responsibilities. From there, it may be possible to move to a senior budget analyst, finance manager or budget manager position.
Military Occupational Specializations
A number of military jobs encompass skills and knowledge used by budget analysts. For example, Navy business management, purchasing, supply and logistics roles utilize fundamentals of budgeting, analysis and problem solving.
Air Force financial management officers are required to plan and organize finances, and establish internal controls, while cost analysis officers design and develop cost-analysis methods.
Army financial management technicians perform job duties such as posting documents to budget systems and preparing financial reports.