Depending on your level of experience, training, and education, you may be able to pursue several positions in the world of budget analysis. While most general analysts have a bachelor’s degree, higher-level positions such as finance director or senior financial analyst may require a master’s degree and a significant amount of professional experience.
|Job Title||Description||Average Salary|
|Budget Analyst||Budget analysts review organizational budgets and provide insight into a company's finances. They are responsible for developing budgets and ensuring that a company's budgets are compliant with financial regulations. They communicate with executives about budget concerns and may also field departmental funding requests||$58,247|
|Budget Manager||Just like analysts, budget managers are responsible for monitoring expense and revenue patterns, but they take on greater leadership responsibilities in an organization and sometimes lead teams of several budget analysts. Budget managers are also responsible for regulating the day-to-day operations in the budget department and delegating tasks to other team members.||$71,764|
|Senior Financial Analyst||Senior financial analysts are highly skilled in several areas of finance, from budgeting and economics to accounting and statistics. They may work to address higher-level concerns beyond the immediate budget, offering long-term financial analysis and advice that shapes a company's financial policies.||$78,243|
|Finance Director||Operating at the highest levels of organizational finance, these executives are responsible for overseeing the overall preparation of budgets and other financial data and analyses. As directors, they may also be responsible for managerial duties such as hiring and employee performance evaluations.||$112,506|
Types of Budget Analysts
Budget analysts have a set of skills that qualifies them to pursue a variety of different positions, each with its own unique challenges and responsibilities. Below you’ll find brief descriptions outlining the differences between two of the most common positions in the field: financial analysts and banking analysts.
These analysts serve in a support role for financial departments, often advising on the newest financial trends and projections to help a company make informed decisions. Their responsibilities encompass many different dimensions of finance, from accounting and economics to business projections and research-based modeling techniques. Financial analysts must consume large amounts of data, make detailed observations, and then synthesize and report their findings back to other members of the finance department.
These specialized analysts are more focused on projections and research related to investment banking. They advise companies on the intricacies of different industries, demographics, and investment risks. Banking analysts are skilled in statistics, accounting, information modeling, and deep quantitative analysis. They perform many similar duties to budget analysts, but with an emphasis on maximizing return on investment for their companies.
Potential Industries for Budget Analysts
Since just about every organizations must deal with financial and budgeting concerns, budget analysts can pursue a career in almost any industry. While the work is similar at its core, different fields each present different goals and challenges.
Analysts in the healthcare field must keep track of medical trends and developments to best develop budgets and financial projections. Those who work in certain environments, such as hospitals, may need to have an even greater knowledge of healthcare regulations and policies.
Since government agencies don’t seek to make a profit, a budget analyst’s responsibilities often involve determining the most efficient way to allocate financial resources among different departments and government programs.
E-commerce budget analysts are responsible for maximizing budget efficiency and increase profits. They must stay up to date on developments in digital commerce so they can accurately forecast financial changes and difficulties that may arise.
Like e-commerce analysts, finance budget analysts work to help companies maximize their profits through efficient budgeting. Given the complex nature of the work, there is room for a great deal of specialization.
While gaining a certain amount of experience in budgeting or finance may sometimes be enough to move into a budget analyst position, your best shot is to enroll in an accredited degree program. Earning a degree in budget analysis will provide you with the skills and background that are needed for steady employment and career growth.
What Degree is Needed to Become a Budget Analyst?
Most budget analyst positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, though more elite employers may desire a master’s degree even for their general analysts. Private sector employers desire candidates with a degree in a relevant field, such as finance, business, accounting, economics, statistics, or public administration. Government agencies and some private employers may be more lenient with degree requirements, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a degree in political science or sociology may sometimes be adequate to obtain a budget analyst position.
For higher-level positions in management, a master’s degree is usually required. Many MBA programs offer concentrations in finance or financial analysis and advanced degrees in accounting or statistics may also help you distinguish yourself from other applicants.
Internships for Budget Analysts
One of the best ways to develop your skills and increase job opportunities is through an internship. Internships are typically required in master’s programs, but many undergraduate programs offer them as well. An internship gives you the chance to gain professional knowledge in a real finance environment, working under other employees and learning from their experience. Internships typically occupy a set number of hours each week and are designed to not overlap with a student's classroom schedule. While most internships are unpaid, some of the more prestigious positions may let you take home a paycheck.
Internships are often available as part of a program's curriculum, allowing students to gain academic credit and build work experience at the same time. Even those that don’t translate to course credit offer valuable opportunities for learning and networking. If your program does not include internships as part of the curriculum, then it’s still usually possible to find your own opportunities, either with the help of the school or through your own research.
Budget Analytics Certfications
Certified Budget Analyst
The International Academy of Business and Financial Management offers CBA certification to budget analysts with at least five years of relevant experience. The certification exam covers specialized skill areas such as zero-based budgeting and beyond budgeting.
Certified Public Finance Officers
The CPFO certification is available for budget analysts who work for government agencies and possess a bachelor's degree and at least three years of government work experience. The certification exam covers five key areas, including accounting and auditing, operational and capital budgets, and cash and debit management.