Budget Analyst Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Budget Analyst, or Cost Analyst, analyzes a company’s budget and looks for ways to allocate resources more efficiently to maximize profits. Their duties include organizing finances, preparing budget reports, monitoring institutional spending and creating cost-benefit analyses for businesses with the goal of finding ways to run the company efficiently and effectively.

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Budget Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Budget analysts oversee an organization or business’ spending to ensure that funds are allocated appropriately and used according to plan. They help to maintain records and create reports and proposals while working to analyze data and recommend funding for various programs. Budget Analysts also evaluate program effectiveness to determine if redistribution of funds is needed. Some primary duties include:

  • Developing organizational budget with managers
  • Reviewing proposals for completeness, accuracy and compliance with company standards
  • Consolidating the organizational budget for review
  • Vetting funding requests for merit and authenticity
  • Monitoring spending and keeping the organization within its set budget
  • Preparing reports and estimating future financial needs
  • Defending budget recommendations with data and evidence-based analyses 
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What Does a Budget Analyst Do?

Budget Analysts can work in a variety of environments, including government organizations, academic institutions and traditional companies. Some Budget Analysts work in-house for an organization, regularly analyzing the company’s budget for effective spending while others work for financial firms that companies can hire for one review or recurring reviews. For those that work in-house, additional job responsibilities might include evaluating proposals and funding requests to determine the best allocation of funds for the organization. Day-to-day responsibilities for Budget Analysts can vary depending on where the company is in its budget cycle and the specific needs and goals of the organization.

Budget Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Successful Budget Analyst candidates will have a varied list of skills and qualifications. Most will have highly developed analytical skills with the ability to process large quantities of information to evaluate costs, benefits and project outcomes. Strong candidates will demonstrate the ability to analyze and solve problems while being able to clearly articulate complex ideas  and communicate clearly and effectively. 

Detail-oriented candidates will also have a developed ability to solve complicated math problems as the job entails the disaggregation of data to form recommendations for a business to run effectively. They will also be able to work with and understand spreadsheets, financial analysis programs and database functions. Budget Analyst candidates must also be able to present technical ideas clearly in writing for a wide array of audiences to understand. 

Budget Analyst Salary Expectations

Salary estimates are based on information gathered anonymously and were last updated in October of 2019. The average salary for a Budget Analyst is $71,428 per year. Most Budget Analysts work a full-time schedule, and some can expect to work overtime when there are deadlines to be met. 

Budget Analyst Education and Training Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is typically required as budget preparation requires extensive numeric and analytical skills. A foundational background in economics, accounting and statistics is helpful, and some financial institutions, government agencies or state regulations may require more extensive specializations. Some employers may also prefer a master’s degree in areas such as finance, accounting or public administration. 

Budget Analyst Experience Requirements

Government Budget Analysts have the option of earning the Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants. To qualify, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, twenty-four credit hours of financial management study, two years of professional-level experience and a passing grade on a series of exams. Additionally, they must take 80 hours of continuing education courses every two years in order to maintain their certification. 

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Tailoring job descriptions to the needs of a business, company or organization is an important  task and when undertaken with care can simplify the process, resulting in quicker hiring of quality applicants. If this guide is not exactly what is needed, consider looking at these similar listings:

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Frequently asked questions about Budget Analysts


What should you look for in a Budget Analyst resume?

Budget Analysts must have specific skills to perform their jobs well. Look for these on a potential Budget Analyst’s resume: 

  • Analysis: Budget Analysts must be able to process complex financial documents and related information. 
  • Problem solving: Budget Analysts have to have problem-solving skills to take the information from the company’s budget and create solutions to financial issues. 
  • Attention to detail: Budget Analysts must closely monitor their work to ensure their numbers are accurate. 
  • Financial literacy: Budget Analysts must have a strong background in accounting and finance to perform their jobs. 
  • Communication: Budget Analysts have to communicate their findings and ideas to company leaders, so communication skills are vital.


What degree should Budget Analysts have?

Most Budget Analysts earn a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. Common majors for Budget Analysts include finance, accounting, economics or business. Whatever their major, it’s important for Budget Analysts to have a strong background in mathematics, so courses in statistics, accounting and economics are helpful even if the Budget Analyst’s major is in a different field. Some Budget Analysts acquire advanced degrees in order to move into Senior Budget Analyst roles. Common graduate programs include finance, business administration and accounting. 


What makes a good Budget Analyst?

Budget Analysts must balance excellent analysis with clear communication and problem solving. Great Budget Analysts are able to accurately parse budgets and other financial documents, identify areas for growth and improvement and create solutions. Once they’ve done the analysis work, excellent Budget Analysts are highly capable communicators who can explain the proposed solutions to stakeholders who may not have the same level of financial education and experience they do. 


What's the difference between a Budget Analyst and a Financial Analyst?

While both Budget Analysts and Financial Analysts review financial documents, their job similarities end there. Budget Analysts work to maximize the impact of a company or organization’s operating budget. Financial Analysts, by contrast, manage a company’s investments and financial future. Both Budget Analysts and Financial Analysts might earn similar undergraduate degrees and take similar classes in college, but once they graduate, the entry-level jobs they take and experience they build prepare them for two very different careers. 

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