|Recommended Degree Level||Bachelor|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||58,280|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||3.0%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||1,960|
- Some employers hire budget analysts who hold only a Bachelor in Arts (B.A.) degree in finance, economics or business.
- Many employers prefer to hire individuals who hold a master's degree and pursue continuing education.
What you study:
You'll study all of the following while pursuing your finance degree:
- Business Finance
- Economic Analysis for Business
- Principles of Accounting
- Professional Ethics
- Business Law
A Day in the Life
Your day as a budget analyst begins when the company you work for opens its doors. Before you head to your office, you check in with the VP of sales to confirm that you're going over new budgeting strategies this afternoon. You remind the executive that you emailed budget information to him last night and suggest that you he review it before your meeting in case he has any questions.
When you get to your office, you check in with the administrative staff in the financial department to collect your phone messages. You quickly review them and see that none are urgent. You check the messages on your direct line and make a note to call one of your satellite location's managers about a question he has about a labor budgeting plan that was put into place last week.
After you've caught up with your emails and messages, you begin working on a cost-benefit analysis for a new investing program that your company's CEO is considering pursuing. It's your job to carefully review how the new program might affect the company's financial standing. You'll run projections and will then present them to the CEO and other executives so that they understand the pros and cons of the new project.
While you are working on the analysis, a marketing department manager comes into your office and asks if he can speak with you about the new technology and training budget. You help him understand how much money his department has been allotted. You schedule an appointment with him tomorrow morning to help him strategize how to make the most of the new budget.
You grab a quick lunch in your office so that you can finalize the report you'll present to the VP of sales this afternoon. It's important that you can help him understand the company's budget options so that he can pick the budget best suited to his department's growth goals. Once a new budget is implemented, you'll guide key employees through its provisions and will let them know if how they request or report funding has changed.
You head to the VP's office for your meeting. He has outlined his concerns about the budget plans that you've presented, so you answer them to the best of your ability. Once you've agreed on the two most plausible plans, you tell him you'll do a cost-benefits analysis and schedule to meet with him again in a few days. When you return to your office, your administrative assistant gives you your mail and lets you know that he's just finished compiling a presentation binder for the CEO.
Instead of having your assistant deliver the binder, you do so yourself. You take pride in your work and want the CEO to know that you're available to answer any questions he might have and that you're looking forward to going over cost-benefits analyses later in the week. After you've organized your desk, you go home for the night.
Certifications and Licensing
While no formal certification is needed to work as a budget analyst, many government employers prefer that employees hold the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification awarded by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).
Full-time versus part-time:
Most budget analysts work full time hours. However, overtime may be necessary when approaching budget deadlines or final reviews.
As a budget analyst, you may work for a private corporation, government agency or nonprofit organization. The majority of your work will be completed in a traditional office environment.
- American Association for Budget and Program Analysis: The AABPA's website provides career development information, budget-related publications and resources especially for students. Those individuals who are considering graduate-level study in this field will find the student section of the site particularly helpful.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Budget Analysts: This U.S. Department of Labor publication offers general information about careers in this field. Students who want to learn more about career outlooks and salary averages should consult this site.
- Association of Government Accountants: AGA's website features a career center that both experienced analysts and newcomers to the field will find valuable. In addition to a variety of professional tools and resources, the site also provides information about earning the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) designation.