What Degree Do You Need to Become a Budget Analyst?

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Budget Analyst?

You most likely have a budget to help you keep tabs on your finances. It is possible to achieve better financial health by creating a written budget and following it religiously. Keeping track of income, expenses, and spending is just as crucial for businesses and organizations as it is for individuals. A full-time job can be managing a large agency or organization’s budget, which is exactly what a budget analyst is paid to do.

There are many duties that all budget analysts have in common, no matter what industry they work in. This is why they are essential today, especially in the finance sector. This article highlights all you need to know about budget analysis and how you can get started as a budget analyst. 

Who Is a Budget Analyst?

Both public and private organizations use budgets to allocate funds. An organization’s long-term growth and profitability depend on the ability of budget analysts to keep track of the company’s finances.

A budget analyst pays close attention to every little nuance of financial data because even the tiniest inaccuracy can significantly impact an organization’s bottom line. To stay on top of their organizations’ spending and reach their financial targets, they adjust and interpret budgets.

What Does a Budget Analyst Do?

Depending on the industry and the workplace, budget analysts have different responsibilities. Small and large businesses across all sectors can benefit from their services and governments and universities.

Budget analysts work on various aspects of the budgeting process, such as budget proposals, sales and revenue forecasts, expenses and material costs, and other items. Budget analysts do the following;

  • Prepare budgetary documents.
  • Keeping tabs on how much money an organization spends
  • Analyze budget proposals using cost-benefit analysis and make adjustments where necessary.
  • Lobby stakeholders to support funding requests.
  • Keep tabs on your current spending and make predictions about what you’ll need in the future.

Is Budget Analysis a Lucrative Career Path?

Budget analysts make an average of $79,940 per year. Budget analysts’ employment is expected to grow by 3% between 2019 and 2029, making it a good career choice. In the United States, job growth is comparable to that of all other occupations. Due to their critical role in conducting benefit analyses and determining how budgetary funds are allocated, budget analysts will continue to be sought after by businesses.

budget analysis

Budget analysts will need to delve deeper into data sources as the business continues to become more globalized and technologically focused. While assistive technology has increased, it does not mean that the need for budget analysts has diminished. Managers must still be able to make real-world decisions based on the information generated by the technology. So, even as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more common in data analysis, the field of data analysis continues to grow.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a Budget Analyst?

Budget analysts require a college degree to succeed in their field. You have a wide range of educational options to choose from. According to the BLS, accounting, business, economics, finance, politics, public administration, sociology, and statistics are among the most popular bachelor’s degree programs for aspiring budget analysts. These degrees are accepted by many potential employers, including state and local governments.

Entry-level budget analyst jobs generally require a bachelor’s degree, but education doesn’t end there, especially for ambitious ones. Having a master’s degree can help you land a job as an intermediate or senior budget analyst, which some employers are looking for. Maintaining professional certifications like the Certified Government Financial Manager credential requires budget analysts who do not wish to pursue a graduate degree to maintain their certifications through continuing education.

A bachelor’s degree in a math-focused, analytically driven field such as accounting, finance, statistics, or economics is typically preferred by employers. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields are more likely to land a better job and earn a higher salary. Some organizations for budget analysts require an advanced degree in an accounting or finance-related field.

Aspiring budget analysts will almost certainly need additional credentials beyond a bachelor’s degree to advance in the government. The Association of Government Accountants’ (AGA) CGFM credential is frequently required for positions in government finance.

Budget analysts who wish to obtain the CGFM credential must first:

  • Read and understand the AGA’s code of conduct.
  • Get into the CGFM program by applying and being accepted.
  • Take and pass three exams.
  • Having an undergraduate degree and two years of government budget or financial management experience are required for this position.

What Careers Can you Start as a Budget Analyst?

  • Auditors and Accountants

Accounting and auditing are the professions of accountants and auditors, who prepare and financial audit records. As a result, they can guarantee the accuracy of financial records and the timely payment of taxes. Accountants and auditors look into the efficiency of an organization’s financial operations.

  • Financial Examiners

The job of a financial examiner is to make sure that financial institutions and transactions are in accordance with the applicable laws. They look at the bank’s financial statements, assess the risk of its loans, and gauge the performance of its management.

  • Economists

Economics is the study of how resources, goods, and services are produced, distributed, and consumed.

  • Financial Analysts

Businesses and individuals seeking investment advice turn to financial analysts. They evaluate the performance of various types of investments, including stocks, bonds, and more.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Budget Analyst?

  • Financial Managers

An organization’s financial health is the responsibility of its financial managers. In addition to generating financial reports, they also manage investments and devise long-term financial strategies and plans for their organization.

  • Actuaries

In their work, actuaries assess the financial impact of risk and unpredictability. It is their job to evaluate the probability of future events and help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the economic impact of those events. The insurance industry relies heavily on the work of actuaries.

  • Tax Examiners and Collectors and Revenue Agents

For the benefit of the federal, state, and local governments, tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine who owes money in taxes and how much. Tax collectors who review tax returns and conduct investigations collect and audit overdue tax payments.

  • Insurance Underwriters

To determine whether or not to provide insurance, insurance underwriters make the final decision. As a result, they can determine the appropriate levels of protection and associated costs.

  • Management Analysts

Businesses can improve organizational efficiency through management analysts or consultants’ recommendations. Managers are advised to make their businesses more profitable by cutting costs and increasing revenue.

  • Cost Estimators

The time, money, materials, and labor needed to manufacture a product, build a building, or provide a service are all estimates that cost estimators gather and analyze. They tend to focus on a single line of business or product.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Budget Analyst?

Budget analysts use both abstract and concrete data extensively in their work. In addition, they collaborate and communicate with colleagues and use technology daily. To be successful as a budget analyst, you’ll need to have the abilities listed below.

  • Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is breaking down complex concepts into their parts and examining them. This skill is frequently used by budget analysts to determine the strengths and weaknesses of budgets, arrive at objective conclusions, and devise remedies.

  • Communication

Analysts who have good communication skills can better share their findings with others. Using written and verbal communications, these professionals collaborate with staff and executives, convey financial recommendations, and condense complex information. In addition to reports and charts, budget analysts also create visually appealing graphics.

  • Mathematics

Numerical and mathematical skills are essential in budget management because the discipline deals with money. Each of these operations must be performed quickly and precisely, whether on paper or with a calculator.

  • Reading Comprehension

They must be able to decipher the meaning and context of a piece of written work. Reading comprehension skills are used by professionals to research trends and data, read publications, and communicate internally.

What Steps Do You Need to Become a Budget Analyst 

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for those who want to work as budget analysts. Accounting, business, economics, and finance are among budget analysts’ most popular undergraduate majors. Some employers will take on budget analysts with a degree from another field if they can show that they have the necessary credentials or experience to back up their claims. Budget analysis professionals should study statistics, accounting, and economics who want to become experts in the field.

It is typical for a student to complete 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree in four years. The length of time it takes for part-time students to complete their degrees depends on the number of courses they take each term.

  • Step 2. Gain Work Experience

Budget analysts are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree by financial firms, higher education institutions, and local, state, and federal government agencies. As an alternative to formal education, some employers will accept candidates who have worked in the field for a few years. Work involving budgeting or financial planning can count as relevant experience.

To land a job, bachelor’s degree holders must gain work experience outside the classroom. Students should look into local internships to build their resumes before they graduate.

  • Step 3. Pursue and Maintain Certification

Not all budget analysts need to be certified, but many government agencies prefer to hire those who are.

Candidates for the Association of Government Accountants’ certified government financial manager (CGFM) credential must have a bachelor’s degree, at least 24 college credits in financial management, and at least two years of professional experience working for the government.

An application fee requires documentation, and examinations are all needed for CGFM credential holders. A minimum of 80 hours of continuing education is required every two years for CGFM-certified professionals to keep their status active.

  • Step 4. Earn a Master’s Degree

While a bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry-level budget analyst positions, more ambitious professionals may want to consider a master’s degree. High-paying jobs at prestigious financial institutions are often reserved for master’s degree holders. Additionally, a master’s degree can help budget analysts advance to intermediate and senior positions. A two-year full-time master’s degree program is typical.

Conclusion

Budget analysts are the business and financial professionals who make sure businesses, institutions, organizations, and government agencies set and stick to budgets and effectively organize their finances. If you’re wondering what you need to get started as a budget analyst, this article provides a comprehensive guide to work with. 

If you have any questions or need further guidance, please drop a comment below.

READ ALSO:  How to Become a Real Estate Agent in 2022
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