How to Become a
Budget Analyst

Businessman pointing at a monthly budget chart in a screen

Do you have a knack for managing money? If so, then a career as a Budget Analyst might be worth exploring. This article will cover some typical tasks of a Budget Analyst and the skills required to complete those tasks. It will also cover education requirements and salary information, as well as an exclusive interview with a Budget Analyst.

What Does a Budget Analyst Do?

A Budget Analyst is primarily concerned with increasing their organization’s financial health and efficiency. This includes analyzing economic trends and developing operational budgets for their organization. Money is the common denominator between all industries, which means a Budget Analyst can work in a variety of settings. Some of these include healthcare, financial firms, educational institutions and government agencies.

Being a Budget Analyst requires stellar analytical skills and a strong grasp of the principles of Accounting and Economics. Some of the daily duties of a Budget Analyst include:

  • Communicative tasks, such as meeting with stakeholders and delivering recommended plans of action

  • Mathematical tasks, such as calculating budgets based on economic trends

  • Analytical tasks, such as performing cost-benefit analyses of potential budget strategies

Budget Analyst Skills

There are certain technical skills that are important for a Budget Analyst, but it's the soft skills that can be the difference maker when applying for a job. Two soft skills that make a good Budget Analyst are critical thinking and complex problem solving skills. A Budget Analyst must be able to use reasoning and logic to find weaknesses in a budget and compose plans to turn them into strengths. Budget Analysts also must have good speaking skills, as part of their job involves communicating their findings and recommendations to stakeholders.

Other key Budget Analyst skills include:

  • Written communication skills

  • Analytical skills

  • Judgment and decision making skills

  • Active listening skills

  • Proficiency in mathematics

How Do You Become a Budget Analyst?

Education and Training

According to our research of Budget Analyst job descriptions, a majority of companies require candidates have a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. Since there is no specific Budget Analysis degree, most Budget Analysts hold degrees in accounting, business administration and finance. The degree one earns typically influences the field in which a Budget Analyst works. Those with degrees in accounting or finance generally work at an Accounting or Financial firm and may have clients who operate across a wide spectrum of industries. Those with a degree in business administration typically are directly employed by an organization and contributes more to the strategic direction of their employer.

There is some overlap in these three degrees, especially in the first two years, but there are some noteworthy differences. An accounting degree touches on financial analysis, but does so in the larger context of core Accounting principles. A degree in finance also touches on accounting principles, but the main focuses are economics, financial planning and understanding financial markets. A finance degree also covers government regulation, which makes it a good choice for those who want to find a Budget Analyst job in a government setting. A degree in business administration focuses on business finance, marketing, global finance and human resource management.

For those who want to work in a Government setting, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) offers a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) program. The requirements are as follows:

  • A Bachelor’s degree

  • 24 credits of coursework in Financial Management

  • Two years of professional experience in a Government setting

  • Passing the CGFM examination

Finding a Job

Demand for Budget Analysts is increasing, but the rate of 3 percent through 2024 is slower than the average for all occupations. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, this will amount to 1,500 new Budget Analyst jobs through 2024. Potential places of employment include universities, hospitals, and government organizations.

This slower-than-average growth makes your job search materials all the more important. The first step is taking care of your resume. Head on over to our Budget Analyst resume sample to get you started.

Once you have a polished resume you are ready to search online job opportunities. In addition to applying for the position digitally, find the contact information of a decision-maker and send them your resume directly.

Before you click apply you want to craft a killer cover letter that gets your resume read. Check out our Budget Analyst cover letter sample to see what we mean.

Insights from a Budget Analyst

To go deeper into life as a Budget Analyst, we talked with Daniel Nikic. Daniel is the founder and president of consulting firm Cohres Ltd. Here’s what he had to say:

What is the common career path for a Budget Analyst?

A common career path for a Budget Analyst is to go towards finance or accounting depending where the individual wants. Hopefully, the career path can lead to be Chief Financial Officer or Head of Accounting.

What should someone consider before becoming a Budget Analyst?

To become a Budget Analyst, a person must love dealing with numbers, not like, but love! Also, the person must be patient and must be good in accounting.

What type of person excels in this job?

A person that excels in this job is someone who is great in math and thinks like an Analyst (analyzes situations).

What are some of the most important skills for a Budget Analyst to have?

Some skills are data management, finance, accounting, analysis, time-management and, of course, patience.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Budget Analyst?

The most rewarding aspect of being a Budget Analyst is knowing if the company is fulfilling financial objectives, the financial health of the company, and the future trends for the company's finances.

How Much do Budget Analysts get Paid?

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Budget Analyst is $71,590 per year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $47,500, while the highest 10 percent earn more than 108,600. Experience and education level are two of the driving factors in the salary differences.

Top 10 States for Budget Analyst Salary

Budget Analysts in the following states have the highest median salary in the U.S.:

    District of Columbia

    $93,900

    Connecticut

    $82,600

    Maryland

    $82,500

    Virginia

    $82,500

    California

    $80,200

    Rhode Island

    $79,100

    Alaska

    $77,800

    New Jersey

    $75,300

    Colorado

    $75,200

    Alabama

    $75,000

    Budget Analyst Resources

    Take a look at the following resources to find out more about being a Budget Analyst.

    Professional Groups

    American Association for Budget and Program Analysis
    This is a more generalized organization that also includes Program Analysts. It is a good inter-disciplinary networking opportunity.

    Government Finance Officers Association
    This is an organization for those who work as a Budget Analyst for the Government. It is an excellent resource for those looking to pursue that field.

    National Association of State Budget Officers
    This organization is also dedicated to those who work as Budget Analysts for the government.

    Association of Government Accountants
    This is the organization that administers the Certified Government Financial Manager exam. Their website includes certification requirements and exam preparation.