What Do Budget Analysts Do? 10 Reasons You Could Love This Money Managing Career

by Kate Williams

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

This career is a natural job match for the ESTJ personality type according to Myers-Briggs 16 personality types. And an Enneagram type 8 would likely enjoy being a budget analyst. The job has an established structure, a stable and supportive work environment and where you can let your analytical skills shine.

Budget Analyst Job Overview

Work Environment

Budget analysts work in government agencies, private companies, and universities. Most work full time.

How to Become a Budget Analyst

A bachelor’s degree is usually required to become a budget analyst. Coursework in accounting, economics, and statistics is recommended.

Pay

The median annual wage for budget analysts was $76,540 in May 2019.

Job Growth

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, about average. The demand for budget analysts is steady because of their role in managing how an organization uses its money.

10 Reasons To Love Being a Budget Analyst

1. Budget Analysts Are the Financial Peace Keepers

Relax. They have a spreadsheet for that. Fastidious and organized, budget analysts have to work with other non-financial professionals such as program and project managers to develop budgets.

While budget coordinators may be uber knit-picky when reviewing budgets from managers, it’s for the greater financial health of the company.

When a company is on solid financial ground, people in the business can relax. Because a budget officer mission is to preserve financial peace of mind, they are not afraid to take spenders to task if the budget information is incomplete, inaccurate, not compliant with laws and regulations or just plain ridiculous.

No you do not need a $4,000 1892 French filter coffee machine for your office. But we do have money in the budget to hire an intern who can fetch you coffee. You’re welcome.

2. They Have Seriously Good Reasons for Being So Serious

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. This is all serious work, that if done halfway, can get the company into hot water.

Non-financial people such as government officials or CEOs in a private company have final say on the organization’s budget. However they rely on budget analysts to prepare the iron-clad information for that decision.

3. They Have The Power! To Cut and Redistribute Funds

Just like your parents cut your allowance when they didn’t see an ROI on their investment, budget analysts use cost-benefit analysis to keep the company’s money from being wasted.

When the lawn was waist high, and your bedroom resembled a toxic waste dump, your parents stopped paying you $20 a week for lying to them.

The same goes for budget analysts. They have the power to recommend funding cuts and redistributions to other more effective programs. They use their insane analytical skills to assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods.

Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to make sure the company is sticking to its budget. They also decide if programs need funding changes. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they produce the desired results.

Your parents were budget analysts and didn’t even know it. They gave your little sister a raise for mowing the lawn and for doing her chores relatively well. They also redistributed the rest of your allotted cash to their date night. Winning! For them anyway.

If you are looking for a job where you have the power to pull the purse strings, this work may be a good match.

4. They Persuade People That They are Always Right on the Money

In addition to providing technical analysis, budget analysts must communicate their recommendations effectively to all sorts of audiences.

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 who work in government may attend committee hearings to explain their recommendations to legislators.

Sometimes, budget analysts evaluate how well a program is doing, assess policy, and draft budget-related legislation.

5. Budget Analysts Held 55,400 jobs in 2019, Most for the Federal Government

Now working for the government may seem boring and it is not without its monotony, but it provides a stable refuge when the economy tanks. Government workers are also more likely to have solid healthcare benefits, a pension fund and lots of holidays. If you want a stable work environment and a good work-life balance, then working to keep the use of taxpayer money in-check could be a huge plus for you.

As you can see from this chart below, nearly half of the largest employers of budget analysts is a government entity.

Federal government22%
Educational services; state, local, and private13
Professional, scientific, and technical services11
State government, excluding education and hospitals11
Local government, excluding education and hospitals11

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.

6. If Math is Your Love Language, Budget Analysis is Your Muse

To get hired in this math career, you need 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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Budget analysts working in federal, state or local government may earn the optional Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants.

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.

7. You Exceed These Must-Have Qualities on Your Personality Spreadsheet

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, being a budget analyst is a career match for an ESTJ or Supervisor personality type based on the Myers-Briggs 16 personalities. It is also a job match for an Enneagram type 8.

These personalities are natural leaders who are self-confident, not afraid to confront others or be confronted and who genuinely believe in defending the greater good. There are certain skills you need as a budget analyst.

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.

8. Those Who Manage the Money Have Job Security

Let’s be practical for a moment. Would a budget analyst ever recommend cutting the analysis portion out of the budget? No. Therefore your job is safe unless or until the company fails, which isn’t gonna happen on your watch.

9. Everyone Needs a Budget Analyst

You have options as a budget analyst. You can work a safe government job and consult on the side. You can start your own business helping people who have started a business.

You can write a blog about the best budgeting practices, you can help parents talk to their kids about money. The math and writing skills combo can get you anywhere, you just have to decide where you want to go.

10. If You Won the Lottery, You’d Never Go Broke

Seriously, being a budget analyst offers job security, a chance to persuade people and a modest amount of satisfaction taking people to task about their lack of money savvy. Besides, spreadsheets make the world a much simpler place.

Related Jobs

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of budget analysts.

Accountants and Auditors

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Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to make a product or provide a service.

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Economists

Economists collect and analyze data, research trends, and evaluate economic issues for resources, goods, and services.

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Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions.

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Financial Managers

Financial managers create financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

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Management Analysts

Management analysts recommend ways to improve an organization’s efficiency.

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Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of the government.

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Actuaries

Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty.

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Financial Examiners

Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws governing financial institutions and transactions.

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Insurance Underwriters

Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications and decide whether to provide insurance, and under what terms.

$70,020

For information about the Government Financial Manager certification, visit

Association of Government Accountants

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Budget Analysts,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm (visited ).

 

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