A budget analyst works for a business, organization, or government agency, advising them on how to best manage and allocate financial resources.
In private businesses, a budget analyst evaluates the budget and recommends changes with the goal of maximizing profits; as profits aren’t a concern with public entities, a budget analyst’s main responsibility becomes increased efficiency in the distribution of resources.
Budget analysts may also monitor programs, analyze existing policies, draft legislation, and train others regarding budget procedures.
Entry-level budget analysts usually handle basic responsibilities for a year or two as they learn the inner workings of the business or organization; they then may be promoted to managerial positions. Additional training or education could help a budget analyst move up the career ladder even faster.
Even for entry-level budget analyst positions, employers usually require at least a bachelor’s degree; some employers, however, also require a master’s degree, preferably in a business-related topic such as a master’s in business administration or MBA.
For the bachelor’s degree requirement, any subject is often acceptable, but candidates who have taken coursework in economics, finance, accounting, public administration, sociology, statistics, or political science are especially prized.
Employers may also be willing to waive formal education requirements for those who have finance- or budget-related work experience. Many budget analysts continue to take professional development courses throughout their careers.
Budget analysts who work for the government may choose to earn the Certified Government Financial Manager certification granted by Advancing Government Accountability.
The salaries of budget analysts vary by education, experience, and type of employer, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wages among budget analysts in 2008 was $65,320. The middle 50% made between $52,290 and $82,150.
Those who worked in aerospace product and parts manufacturing ($70,830), the federal executive branch ($70,650), and companies and enterprises ($70,460) were at the upper end of the income scale.
The U.S. Department of Labor expects that budget analyst positions will increase “faster than average.” Those with master’s degrees and familiarity with budgeting computer software should see the best job prospects.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos003.htm)
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics