Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances.
What they do
Budget analysts typically do the following:
- Work with program and project managers to develop the organization’s budget
- Review managers’ budget proposals for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations
- Combine all the program and department budgets together into a consolidated organizational budget and review all funding requests for merit
- Explain their recommendations for funding requests to others in the organization, to legislators, and to the public
- Help the chief operations officer, agency head, or other top managers analyze proposed plans and find alternatives if the projected results are unsatisfactory
- Monitor organizational spending to ensure that it is within budget
- Inform program managers of the status and availability of funds
- Estimate future financial needs
Budget analysts advise various institutions—including governments, universities, and businesses—on how to organize their finances. They prepare annual and special reports and evaluate budget proposals. They analyze data to determine the costs and benefits of various programs, and they recommend funding levels based on their findings. Although government officials or top executives in a private company usually make the final decision on an organization’s budget, they rely on the work of budget analysts to prepare the information for that decision.
Sometimes, budget analysts use cost–benefit analyses to review financial requests, assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods. Budget analysts also may examine past budgets and research economic and financial developments that affect the organization’s income and expenditures. Budget analysts may recommend cutting spending on particular programs or redistributing extra funds.
Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure compliance with the budget and determine whether changes to funding levels are needed for certain programs. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing the desired results.
Although budget analysts usually work in offices, some may travel to get budget details firsthand or to verify funding allocations.
How to become a Budget Analyst
A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a budget analyst. Courses in accounting, economics, and statistics are helpful.
Employers generally require budget analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree. Because developing a budget requires strong numerical and analytical skills, courses in accounting, economics, and statistics are helpful. Federal, state, and local governments have varying requirements, but usually require a bachelor's degree in one of many areas, such as accounting, finance, business, public administration, economics, statistics, political science, or sociology.
Sometimes, budget-related or finance-related work experience can be substituted for formal education.
Government budget analysts may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants. To earn this certification, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, 24 credit hours of study in financial management, and 2 years of professional-level experience in governmental financial management. They must also pass a series of exams. To keep the certification, budget analysts must take 80 hours of continuing education every 2 years.
The median annual wage for budget analysts was $76,540 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $116,510.
Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Demand for efficient use of public funds at the state and local levels will lead to continued demand for budget analysts. Although many states are facing budget shortfalls, employment of these workers should remain steady. Because budget analysts are responsible for managing the allocation of resources, the need for these workers remains even during times of tight budgets.
Similar Job Titles
Accounting Supervisor, Analyst, Budget Analyst, Budget Coordinator, Budget Officer, Cost Accountant, Financial Services Officer, Management and Budget Analyst, Policy Analyst, Staff Analyst, Cost Analyst
Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialist; Accountant; Auditor; Credit Analyst; Financial Analyst
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- American Institute of CPAs - The AICPA develops standards for audits of private companies and other services by CPAs; provides educational guidance materials to its members; develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination; and monitors and enforces compliance with the profession’s technical and ethical standards.
- Financial Managers Society - FMS focuses on providing first-class education, community support, networking and professional development for finance industry members. With membership from banks, thrifts, credit unions and affiliate partners from across the country FMS has established themselves as a National society.
- Government Finance Officers Association - This organization represents public finance officials throughout the United States and Canada. The association's more than 20,000 members are federal, state/provincial, and local finance officials deeply involved in planning, financing, and implementing thousands of governmental operations in each of their jurisdictions. GFOA's mission is to advance excellence in public finance.
- Institute of Management Accountants - IMA’s mission is to provide a forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance.
- National Association of State Budget Officers - NASBO is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization located in Washington, D.C. For many years, all 50 states and territories have paid dues to support an effective membership and governance structure. All state budget office employees are members of NASBO.
Magazines and Publications
Capable of both developing and communicating a budget for a multimillion-dollar organization… budget analysts help institutions organize their finances. Whether for public offices or private companies, budget analysts prepare budget reports and evaluate budget proposals. Budget analysts analyze data to determine the costs and benefits of various programs, and recommend funding levels based on their findings. The final decision on an organization’s budget generally comes down to high-level executives or government officials, but they rely heavily on the competence of budget analysts when making those decisions. They also oversee spending throughout the year to keep spending within the budget, or revise it when changing circumstances demand it. They may recommend program cuts or evaluate the return on investment of particular efforts. Budget analysts usually work in offices, but some may travel to gather information firsthand. They work in government agencies, universities, and private companies. Budget analysts generally work full time, and overtime is sometimes required during final reviews of budgets. The tight work schedules and pressure of deadlines can be stressful. Most budget analysts have at least a bachelor's degree, though related work experience can sometimes suffice. Courses in accounting, economics, and statistics are helpful. Government positions may require certification.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org