How to Become a Budget Analyst

This article provides information about how to become a budget analyst.

Having a specific budget and sticking to it are vital to companies. By having someone who can plan, analyze and implement their budgets, any organization can succeed in managing and distributing its finances. This is where the role of a budget analyst becomes highly important.

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A budget analyst performs vital tasks in any organization, whether private or public. Their main job is to come up with a budget, implement it and estimate the financial needs of the company moving forward. Other responsibilities include reviewing budget proposals and making sure they are in line with the objectives and regulations of the company, finding other sources of funding for their programs as well as determining financial and economic trends that may impact the company’s spending behavior. To inform the management about all their findings and analysis, budget analysts usually make a summary report.

The goals of a budget analyst working for private companies, however, may differ from one who works for a government agency. In the private sector, this professional normally analyzes the budget and search for other avenues to help improve the organization’s efficiency and increase its profits. Those involved in the government and non-profit organizations, on the other hand, work to determine the best ways to distribute funds among the different departments.

A bachelor’s degree can help you start a career as a budget analyst on an entry level capacity. But do take note that many organizations prefer candidates with a master’s degree. You can obtain a degree in accounting, business, economics, finances, public administration or statistics although many companies prefer to hire those with a background in business and strong analytical and quantitative skills. There are also firms that provide on the job training for their new employees.

Being computer literate is also very helpful. As most companies today use a computer network and advanced digital technology, knowing how to use software applications as well as spreadsheets, database and financial analysis programs will be an advantage to you.

If you aim to work in the government, you may have to get a certification to become a government financial manager. This certification exam is administered by the Association of Government Accountants. Requirements to be eligible for a government position include a bachelor’s degree, at least 24 credit hours in financial management, two years work experience in the same field and passing three exams.

Moving onwards, one also needs to complete 80 education hours every two years. This is for the purpose of renewing one’s certification.

Budget analysts have every opportunity to move up to senior and management positions as they gain more experience in their jobs and pursue their master’s degree. This is true for both the public and private sector.

While about 41 percent of budget analysts are involved in government service, there are also those who work in other sectors such as in management services, manufacturing, schools and scientific and technical services. Employment for this position is foreseen to go up by 15 percent through 2018 based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read more about business degrees here.

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