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What Budget Analysts Do About this section

Budget analysts
Budget analysts prepare budget reports and monitor spending.

Budget analysts help public and private organizations plan their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor organizational spending.

Duties

Budget analysts typically do the following:

  • Work with program and project managers to develop the organization’s budget
  • Review managers’ budget proposals and funding requests for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations
  • Combine program and department budgets into a consolidated organizational budget
  • Explain funding requests to others in the organization, to legislators, and to the public
  • Help 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 organizations—including governments, private companies, and universities—about the details of 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 decide 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 funds.

Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure that organizations comply with the budget and to determine whether certain programs need changes in funding. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing desired results.

In addition to providing technical analysis, budget analysts must communicate their recommendations effectively within the organization. For example, if there is a difference between the approved budget and actual spending, budget analysts may write a report explaining those discrepancies and recommend changes to reconcile them.

Budget analysts working in government may attend committee hearings to explain their recommendations to legislators. Occasionally, budget analysts evaluate how well a program is doing, assess policy, and draft budget-related legislation.

Work Environment About this section

Budget analysts
Budget analysts work in a variety of settings including government agencies, universities, and companies.

Budget analysts held about 55,400 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of budget analysts were as follows:

Federal government 22%
Educational services; state, local, and private 13
Professional, scientific, and technical services 11
State government, excluding education and hospitals 11
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 11

Although budget analysts usually work in offices, they may travel to get budget details firsthand or to verify funding allocations.

Work Schedules

Most budget analysts work full time, and overtime is sometimes required during development, mid-year, and final reviews of budgets. The pressures of deadlines and tight work schedules may be stressful.

How to Become a Budget Analyst About this section

Budget analysts
Budget analysts must present technical information in writing that is understandable for the intended audience.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a budget analyst. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master's degree. Courses in accounting, economics, and statistics are helpful.

Education

Employers generally require that budget analysts have at least a bachelor's degree in fields such as business, finance, or public administration. Because developing a budget requires numeracy and analytical skills, coursework in accounting, economics, and statistics is helpful.

Sometimes, budget- or finance-related work experience may be substituted for formal education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Budget analysts working in federal, state or local government may earn the optional Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) credential from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). CGFM candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree, abide by the AGA’s Code of Ethics, pass examinations, and complete a designated period of professional-level experience in governmental financial management. To maintain certification, CGFMs must complete continuing education.

Although the CGFM is not required, having a designation may help with career advancement.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Budget analysts must be able to process a variety of information, evaluate costs and benefits, and solve complex problems.

Communication skills. Budget analysts must be able to explain and defend their analyses and recommendations in meetings and legislative committee hearings.

Detail oriented. Creating an efficient budget requires careful analysis of each budget item.

Math skills. Budget analysts need math skills and the ability to use financial-management software and programs.

Writing skills. Budget analysts must present written technical information in a way that is understandable to the intended audience.

Pay About this section

Budget Analysts

Median annual wages, May 2020

Budget analysts

$78,970

Financial specialists

$73,840

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for budget analysts was $78,970 in May 2020. 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 $51,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $121,360.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for budget analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $86,480
Professional, scientific, and technical services 84,050
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 74,870
State government, excluding education and hospitals 70,650
Educational services; state, local, and private 67,800

Most budget analysts work full time, and overtime is sometimes required during development, mid-year, and final reviews of budgets. The pressures of deadlines and tight work schedules may be stressful.

Job Outlook About this section

Budget Analysts

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Financial specialists

4%

Budget analysts

3%

 

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 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 manage resource allocation, the need for these workers remains even during times of tight budgets.

Job Prospects

About 4,300 openings for budget analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment projections data for budget analysts, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Budget analysts

13-2031 55,400 57,300 3 1,900 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For information about the Government Financial Manager certification, visit

Association of Government Accountants

O*NET

Budget Analysts

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