Businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations depend on budget analysts for advice on how to maintain and disperse their finances. Budget analysts analyze the costs and benefits of a business or organization's operations and programs and make recommendations for funding based on their analysis. Executive and elected officials base their budgetary decisions on the information prepared for them by budget analysts. Some of the job responsibilities of budget analysts include:
- Working with managers and executives to develop a business or organization's budget
- Reviewing budget proposals for accuracy and compliance with laws
- Explaining funding and budget recommendations to executive, managerial, and other business and organization staff
- Monitoring budgetary spending and informing program managers of the status of funds
The growing complexity of budget analysis is creating a demand in the private and non-profit sector for more budget analysts. The BLS reports that employment of budget analysts is predicted to grow 10% from 2010 to 2020. Analysts are needed in the public sector to ensure efficient use of public funds in the aftermath of budget cutbacks.
Job Growth for
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- Hourly Pay National Average
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Becoming a Budget Analyst
Budget analysts typically hold a bachelor's degree, although many positions do require a master's degree. Some undergraduate degree programs are more practically useful than others, depending on the type of agency you plan to work for, be it private, governmental, or non-profit. Entry-level government budget analyst positions at the federal, state, and local level only require a bachelor's degree in accounting, public finance, economics, or another related area. To advance, governmental agencies will likely favor candidates with a master's in public administration or public policy. Depending on the position, budget-related or finance-related work experience can sometimes be substituted for formal education.
Several schools offer online bachelor's degrees in business finance, accounting, economics, and other areas applicable to a career as a budget analyst. Earning a bachelor's degree in accounting is a good first step toward a career as a budget analyst for a small to midsize company. A sampling of classes you may take in an undergraduate accounting program, drawn from course listings for Colorado State University's online bachelor of science degree in accounting program, include the following:
- Principles of Financial Accounting
- Analyzing Financial Statements
- Accounting for Government & Nonprofit Entities
Budget analysts may receive on-the-job training over the course of one budget cycle. Throughout their careers, budget analysts take continuing education and professional development classes. The website for the Association of Government Accountants provides information for several on-site and online continuing education and certification opportunities.