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The task of determining the best way to allocate limited financial resources is a critical function for any type of successful business enterprise. The individuals who perform this function are called Budget Analysts. Analysts are found in a wide variety of business settings. Some work in private industry, while others work for nonprofit organizations or government agencies. Budget analysts have a key role in the development and execution of budgets. They are responsible for allocating existing resources as well as estimating future financial requirements.

Budget analysts provide value to organizations in a variety of ways; however, their most important function is to provide advice and technical assistance to firms in the preparation of annual budgets. Operational and financial plans generated by a corporation's management representatives need to be carefully reviewed by a budget analyst in light of funding needed for new initiatives along with capital expenditures needed to fund existing programs. For private firms, analysts primarily focus on efficiency and new ways to improve company profits. Those analysts who work for nonprofit organizations or government agencies are not usually concerned with profits, but still must seek out the most efficient distribution of organizational resources among a variety of programs and departments.

Responsibilities

Budget analysts comprise the centerpiece of an organization's annual budget cycle. At the outset of each budget cycle, the organization's managers and department heads submit proposed operational and financial plans to budget analysts for review. Within these plans are program outlines, estimates of each program's financial requirements, and propose funding initiatives to meet those requirements. The budget analyst will then conduct an initial review. Estimates are examined for accuracy, completeness, and conformance to organizational objectives and established procedures and regulations. The analyst conducts this examination using cost-benefit analyses, information on past budgets, and research into outside economic developments affecting the organization's ability to spend.

Once the initial review is completed, budget analysts consolidate individual departmental budgets into budget summaries which encapsulate the cases for or against funding requests. The summaries are then submitted to senior management, whose representatives, with the assistance of budget analysts, carefully scrutinize the proposals. Working together, the management reps and budget analysts devise alternatives to problems they encounter and achieve a finalized budget plan. The final decision to approve this budget is usually made by the organization head in a private firm, or by elected officials (e.g., legislators) in a government entity.

As the fiscal year unfolds, analysts monitor the budget by conducting periodic reviews of reports and accounting records in order to verify that allocated funds are being spent as specified. If discrepancies between the approved budget and the actual execution are found, budget analysts often explain the variations in writing and recommend revised procedures. These recommendations may include cuts to programs or a reallocation of excess funds. In addition, budget analysts perform assessments of the efficiency and effectiveness of new programs or existing ones which are being changed. While doing all these things, analysts continually keep program managers and others within the organization in the loop on the status and availability of funds in different accounts.

In addition to the work they do during the budget cycle, analysts are also often involved in long-range financial planning. In recent years, budget analysts have seen their role broadened even further, in response to widespread corporate and government downsizing caused by reduced funding. Analysts now are often involved in measuring organizational performance and assessing the effects of various corporate policies on the budget. Those who work for the government are sometimes involved in the drafting of budget-related legislation. In addition, budget analysts are occasionally called upon to conduct employee training sessions to inform personnel about new budget procedures.

To an increasing extent, budget analysts are relying heavily on computerized financial software to help them do their work. Database software, electronic spreadsheets, and word processing software have become powerful tools in the analysis of financial data. This technology has expanded the amount of data and information available to budget analysts and has enabled then to analyze more data than ever.

Job Characteristics

Work schedules tend to vary according to milestones in the yearly budget cycle. Periods of initial development, midyear reviews, and final reviews of budgets require long hours; during these periods it is not uncommon for budget analysts to work well in excess of 40 hours per week. The typical work environment for analysts is a comfortable one; they normally work in office settings. For some analysts, there is a certain amount of travel associated with the job, mostly to obtain first-hand information or verification of budget details.

Budget analysts spend a significant amount of their time working independently. There is a fair amount of stress that comes with the job, mostly in the form of tight work schedules and pressure to meet deadlines at certain times of year. In order to be a good budget analyst, a person needs not only mathematical skills but also the ability to communicate well orally and in writing, in order to present and defend budget proposals to decision makers. In addition, analysts must adhere to strict ethical standards at all times and must always display integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality in dealing with financial information. They must also have an ability to work under rigid time constraints.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS) anticipates job growth in this field to progress about as fast as the average for all occupations over the upcoming decade. Both the public and private sectors will have a continued need for sound financial analysis during this span. Because of the continual importance of the financial analysis function throughout all phases of the yearly business cycle, budget analysts as a general rule tend to be less vulnerable to layoffs than workers in many other job categories.

In general, analysts holding advanced degrees beyond the bachelor level are expected to have the best job opportunities. Those who are familiar with spreadsheet, database, graphics, and financial-analysis computer software will also enjoy a distinctive edge in the job market. As time goes on, it is expected that the role of budget analyst will continue to expand in many organizations to encompass such functions as performance evaluation and policy analysis, which will make the budget analyst even more valuable to the organization.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Candidates for budget analyst jobs need at least a bachelor's degree, although a master's degree is required for some jobs and preferred nearly everywhere. There are occasional circumstances where a sufficient amount of relevant work experience can be substituted for formal education. Degree majors can be in accounting, business, finance, public administration, economics, political science, statistics, or sociology. For jobs in certain firms, a degree major in a field closely related to that of the employing organization (e.g., engineering) may be preferred. Regardless of the degree major, coursework in accounting and statistics are always helpful due to the strong quantitative and analytical skills required for the profession.

Once employed, budget analysts typically receive a fair amount of on-the-job training to learn their craft. Analysts in many organizations, including the Federal Government, also receive extensive classroom training. Familiarization with the steps involved in the budgeting process is typically achieved by an entry-level analyst working through a complete one-year budget cycle. Many government analysts seek out the prestigious Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) designation granted by the Association of Government Accountants. To earn this certification, an analyst must hold a bachelor's degree and also 24 credit-hours of financial management coursework and two years of government work experience in financial management. They must also pass a series of three exams covering topics related to the government and government financial management. The certification must be renewed every two years and during every two-year interval, analysts must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education in order to renew the certification.

Resources

Major Employers

Nearly half of all budget analysts work in the public sector for either the Federal Government or governments at the state or local level. Other major employers of budget analysts include schools; financial, scientific, or management services; and the manufacturing industry.

Schools for Budget Analysts are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Budget Analysts

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Budget Analysts jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Huntsville 390 $87,330
Hoover 190 $71,790
Birmingham 190 $71,790
Montgomery 110 $54,810
Mobile 40 N/A
Tuscaloosa N/A $71,510
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 130 $73,980
Fairbanks 50 $70,670
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 760 $69,000
Scottsdale 760 $69,000
Mesa 760 $69,000
Tucson 170 $67,280
Sierra Vista 60 $75,850
Douglas 60 $75,850
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 260 $59,340
North Little Rock 260 $59,340
Little Rock 260 $59,340
Pine Bluff 30 $58,580
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 2600 $91,020
Long Beach 2600 $91,020
Los Angeles 2600 $91,020
San Francisco 1020 $91,420
Hayward 1020 $91,420
Oakland 1020 $91,420
San Diego 700 $80,710
Carlsbad 700 $80,710
Roseville 620 $70,020
Arden 620 $70,020
Sacramento 620 $70,020
Arcade 620 $70,020
Santa Clara 440 $92,390
Sunnyvale 440 $92,390
San Jose 440 $92,390
San Bernardino 430 $66,130
Riverside 430 $66,130
Ontario 430 $66,130
Ventura 220 $63,960
Thousand Oaks 220 $63,960
Oxnard 220 $63,960
Santa Maria 140 $87,150
Santa Barbara 140 $87,150
Bakersfield 120 $81,710
Visalia 80 $67,530
Porterville 80 $67,530
Santa Cruz 70 $66,940
Watsonville 70 $66,940
Salinas 70 $83,140
Fresno 50 $63,780
Vallejo 50 $84,400
Fairfield 50 $84,400
Santa Rosa 50 $89,070
Stockton 40 $75,410
Lodi 40 $75,410
Modesto 40 $80,140
Yuba City 30 $63,840
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 680 $78,880
Aurora 680 $78,880
Denver 680 $78,880
Colorado Springs 240 $73,190
Boulder 100 $74,770
Fort Collins 50 $78,880
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 640 $85,200
Hartford 640 $85,200
West Hartford 640 $85,200
New Haven 100 $78,030
Danbury 30 N/A
Stamford N/A $86,510
Norwalk N/A $86,510
Bridgeport N/A $86,510
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 50 $59,300
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 920 $62,730
Miami 920 $62,730
Fort Lauderdale 920 $62,730
Tampa 430 $75,740
Clearwater 430 $75,740
St. Petersburg 430 $75,740
Tallahassee 240 $53,010
Jacksonville 240 $65,210
Melbourne 190 $76,940
Palm Bay 190 $76,940
Titusville 190 $76,940
Orlando 180 $63,440
Kissimmee 180 $63,440
Sanford 180 $63,440
Destin 150 $68,090
Crestview 150 $68,090
Fort Walton Beach 150 $68,090
Gainesville 130 $56,560
Ormond Beach 60 $52,340
Daytona Beach 60 $52,340
Deltona 60 $52,340
Naples 50 $62,000
Immokalee 50 $62,000
Marco Island 50 $62,000
North Port 40 $55,880
Bradenton 40 $55,880
Sarasota 40 $55,880
Lakeland 40 $59,780
Winter Haven 40 $59,780
Port St. Lucie 30 $56,620
Panama City 30 $58,030
Pensacola 30 $61,110
Brent 30 $61,110
Ferry Pass 30 $61,110
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 900 $72,500
Atlanta 900 $72,500
Sandy Springs 900 $72,500
Savannah 60 $65,170
Macon 40 $46,970
Clarke County 40 $48,660
Athens 40 $48,660
Hinesville 40 $69,130
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 240 $77,390
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 100 $63,210
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 50 $51,210
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 180 $66,400
Anderson 180 $66,400
Carmel 180 $66,400
Fort Wayne 50 $76,330
West Lafayette 30 $63,200
Lafayette 30 $63,200
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 130 $73,130
Des Moines 130 $73,130
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 50 $57,130
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Elizabethtown 100 $65,190
Fort Knox 100 $65,190
Fayette 70 $62,150
Lexington 70 $62,150
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 150 $65,560
Metairie 140 $61,220
New Orleans 140 $61,220
Bossier City 50 $63,670
Shreveport 50 $63,670
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 70 $63,090
Portland 70 $63,090
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 1260 $77,480
Columbia 1260 $77,480
Baltimore 1260 $77,480
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 570 $88,930
Dearborn 570 $88,930
Detroit 570 $88,930
Lansing 110 $75,270
East Lansing 110 $75,270
Ann Arbor 50 $79,250
Grand Rapids 40 $73,370
Wyoming 40 $73,370
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 100 $46,330
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jefferson City 60 $52,740
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 40 $28,980
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 110 $56,190
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 180 $66,600
Henderson 180 $66,600
Las Vegas 180 $66,600
Reno 60 $75,740
Carson City 50 $63,540
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 340 $73,210
Hammonton 50 $59,960
Atlantic City 50 $59,960
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 250 $71,100
Santa Fe 60 $51,320
Las Cruces 60 $67,150
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 550 $66,570
Troy 550 $66,570
Schenectady 550 $66,570
Rochester 140 $65,730
Niagara Falls 90 $68,880
Buffalo 90 $68,880
Cheektowaga 90 $68,880
Ithaca 60 $73,530
Syracuse N/A $70,590
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayetteville 220 $75,680
Raleigh 200 $65,510
Durham 150 $73,260
Chapel Hill 150 $73,260
High Point 50 $62,820
Greensboro 50 $62,820
Asheville 40 $50,850
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 290 $72,220
Elyria 290 $72,220
Dayton 180 $76,210
Toledo 40 $60,720
Akron 40 $67,290
Columbus N/A $74,540
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 370 $71,240
Tulsa 160 $59,270
Lawton 50 $69,130
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 250 $71,260
Corvallis 30 $58,580
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Carlisle 270 $63,920
Harrisburg 270 $63,920
Pittsburgh 220 $62,710
Hanover 40 $66,800
York 40 $66,800
Hazleton 40 $74,340
Wilkes 40 $74,340
Scranton 40 $74,340
Barre 40 $74,340
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 340 $40,750
Carolina 340 $40,750
San Juan 340 $40,750
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 90 $65,180
North Charleston 70 $65,930
Charleston 70 $65,930
Mauldin 30 $66,270
Greenville 30 $66,270
Anderson 30 $66,270
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 40 $67,830
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 220 $59,920
Nashville 220 $59,920
Murfreesboro 220 $59,920
Davidson 220 $59,920
Knoxville 70 $65,410
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sugar Land 1260 $82,310
The Woodlands 1260 $82,310
Houston 1260 $82,310
Dallas 1250 $81,920
Arlington 1250 $81,920
Fort Worth 1250 $81,920
San Antonio 840 $71,510
New Braunfels 840 $71,510
Round Rock 770 $65,820
Austin 770 $65,820
El Paso 130 $62,950
Temple 90 $69,130
Killeen 90 $69,130
Waco 50 $65,710
Lubbock 40 $60,180
Corpus Christi 30 $65,190
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 130 $71,100
Clearfield 110 $78,120
Ogden 110 $78,120
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 40 $63,610
Burlington 40 $63,610
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 430 $68,560
Charlottesville 90 $72,020
Roanoke 40 $63,140
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 930 $73,660
Seattle 930 $73,660
Tacoma 930 $73,660
Olympia 160 $67,250
Tumwater 160 $67,250
Spokane Valley 60 $63,660
Spokane 60 $63,660
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 60 $58,860
Morgantown 50 $54,550
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Madison 240 $63,880
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 50 $63,650

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Budget Analysts

To find out more about building a career as Budget Analysts, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Budget Analysts

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 25,240 40% $63,350
Education 8,000 12% $57,940
Professional And Technical Services 6,980 11% $70,650
Business Management 4,520 7% $70,460
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 4,310 6% $71,050
Electronics And Computer 1,780 2% $74,090
Insurance 1,520 2% $68,670
Telecommunications 1,050 1% $66,390
Hospital 1,040 1% $61,650
Office Services And Staffing 950 1% $67,460
Banking And Credit 670 1% $63,570
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Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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