How to Become a Budget Analyst

How to become a budget analyst

As companies continue to grow, financial responsibility and conscious spending become an important factor for success. Budget analysts are the people who help keep organizations from toppling over from uncontrolled debt and unnecessary expenditures. If you enjoy working with numbers and want to be an integral part of company, you should pursue a career in business as a budget analyst.

What do budget analysts do?
Budget analysts generally work with public and private companies to help determine the efficacy of their budgets. The analysts are also brought in to work with program and project managers to assist in developing various strategies that reflect financially responsible policies. There are times when budget analysts need to observe the monthly expenditures of a specific department. They often provide specialized advice and technical assistance unique to the department, and employ techniques like cost and benefit analysis, fiscal allocation and budget preparation. Budget analysts pore over the department's data, and after they are finished, they offer suggestions on how to keep funding in balance with the company's overall business objectives.

If an organization needs to interact with some form of governing body like a city council or joint committee for financial purposes, budget analysts will be responsible for providing reasons for funding requests. They report to the chief operations officer, finance department head or other managers. 

Budget analysts can work in a variety of settings including universities, academic institutions, government agencies and corporate offices. They perform most of their duties in their offices, but sometimes are required to travel to a site to analyze the budget details in person or verify funds are being used properly.

What degrees or certificates do budget analysts need?
Most budget analysts earn their bachelor's degree before applying for this position. The demands of budget analytics requires strong mathematical skills, so people who have earned their accounting or statistics degree will be comfortable working in this position. Although employers generally hire people who only have a bachelor's degree, you make yourself a more marketable candidate if you've also earned a master's or graduate degree.

If you would like to work as a budget analyst in a government agency, you should consider earning your Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). The minimum requirements include a bachelor's degree, 24 credit hours in financial management and two years of professional experience. You will also have to pass a series of exams provided by the AGA.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor degree programs in business and online MBA programs. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_business.

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