What is a Budget Analyst?
Do you solve math problems for fun? Would you rather reconcile your bank account than watch TV? Do you love to save money and like to show your friends how they can save, too? If so, you may want to know about how to become a budget analyst.
As a budget analyst you will:
- Analyze how a company is organized and help put together their budget
- Ensure that a company’s budget meets legal requirements
- Answer questions about a company’s budget
- Help the company utilize the budget as it was intended
- Forecast future budgets
Small and large companies alike employ budget analysts. Although most work regular weekday hours, they often need to meet stringent deadlines and solve complex problems, so they sometimes work longer than 8 hours per day.
Occasionally, they need to travel for work, but mostly they are stationed in an office.
There are five main sectors where budget analysts work:
- Federal government
- Educational services
- State government
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Local government
The average budget analyst salary is $76,220.
Top Five Skills of a Budget Analyst
You listen to everyone and don’t think about what you are going to say while spoken to. Then you analyze all the information, looking at it from as many perspectives as possible before proposing potential solutions.
Your math skills are solid, from statistics to accounting, but you never get cocky and always double-check your numbers. Always.
Financial Resources Management
It makes you happy to see where you can save others money, especially if they don’t have to sacrifice quality or make huge changes.
You are able to explain complex concepts in an uncomplicated way, without sounding as if you are talking down to anyone or manipulating the conversation.
Complex Problem Solving
This is what you do most days. You see yourself as part of the solution to problems and interact directly with your peers and superiors, taking notes and asking good questions.
Becoming a Budget Analyst
Step 1: High School Requirements
High School Courses for Budget Analysts
If you are in high school and you think you may want to pursue a career as a budget analyst, you should take math, including statistics, English, and computer classes.
If your high school offers it, take statics, AP Statistics if possible. It’s a practical class you will use to interpret your everyday world and certainly on the job. Taking the course now will help you prepare for college math courses.
Part of your role as a budget analyst is not only to present the budget but explain it to people with absolutely no financial background. Take English classes, including writing electives and speech. These classes will help you to write and speak clearly and persuasively.
You won’t need to be a computer whiz, but you need to at least know how to create macros and manage data electronically if you plan to direct a company’s budget. A budget analyst has access to highly sensitive data, so you will also need to learn how to protect and secure this information.
Formal Education Requirements
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
In this field, you will have more opportunities by having at least a Bachelor’s degree.
During college, aside from learning essential knowledge, you will be able to join clubs and associations, network with professors and peers, and have your resume critiqued.
Most universities sponsor career fairs, where students can attend mock interviews with actual recruiters who will provide you with interview feed back. Then when you graduate, your interview skills will be equal to that of the seasoned professional.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, undergraduate students may pursue Bachelor’s degrees in accounting or finance, but you may do as well by studying a related major such as business administration, political science, or statistics.
Consider a Master’s Degree
In order to compete for higher paying jobs and promotions, consider getting a Master’s of Business Administration, Master of Accountancy, or Master of Science in Finance degree.
Although holding a Master’s degree is optional, continuing education is not. Obtaining continuing education is the only way to become certified and maintain certification.
Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree
What Bachelor’s Degree to Choose
There are some different options when it comes t what major you should choose when you decide to follow a budget analyst’s career.
The most common ones are accounting, business administration and statistics.
An accounting major will prepare you deal with the technical aspects of being a budget analyst. you will learn how accounting systems work all you will get a deeper understanding on how modern businesses work.
As a Business Administration student you will learn how to manage a business you will study in depth all the business operations how they work. This is really important knowledge for budget analysts as you will have a deeper understanding on how you should spread your budget resources.
Finance is a great option for aspiring budget analysts. As finance students they will build a strong foundation on how economics work and depending on the elective courses they will choose they can specialize in different fields.
Bachelor Degree Requirements
Most undergraduate degrees in finance or accounting require 120 semester hours. About 60 of those hours are met by general requirements. The remaining 60 hours are met by courses in business administration, statistics, accounting, economics, finance, and electives.
Admission to finance, accounting, and business administration programs vary widely, but you should maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0. Knowing where you want to attend college earlier in the application process helps to meet any special requirements.
The same website provides a sample of college course listings you might take:
- Budget Development Course
- Financial Statements Analysis Course
- Budget Execution Course
- Financial Project Management Course
- Introductory Analysis Course
Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree (Optional)
Master of Science in Finance Degree Program 2 years
The most common master’s degree for budget analysts is master of science in finance.
Most Masters of Finance applicants wait until they have a year or two of experience before applying to a graduate program, according to Ms. Smith-Barrow, a reporter for U.S. News. In an article she wrote, most new professionals need a few years of experience before they are ready for the rigorous coursework.
The same article outlines the classes that you would take, which include finance, statistics, and accounting.
In order to be accepted into a program, you should maintain a minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA. Depending on how competitive the program is, your GPA may need to be higher for you to be considered.
You will need to take either the GMAT (Graduate Admissions Test) or the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), depending on which one your university requires.
Generally, Master of Finance degree require 30-36 semester hours.
Core Courses (18 Credits)
- Accounting and Financial Reporting
- Statistical Analysis
- Business Communication
- The Firm and the Macroeconomy
- Economics for Decision Making
- Corporate Finance
- Business Leadership and Human Values
- Financial Modeling and Valuation
- Financial Institutions
- Fixed Income
Electives (12 credits)
- Managing Financial Risk
- Entrepreneurial Finance
- Corporate Governance
- Advanced Financial Accounting
- Quantitative Financial Analysis
- Advanced Corporate Finance
- Financial Crisis and Contagion
- Advanced Portfolio Management
- Data Analytics
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Wealth Management
- Financial Econometrics
- Continuous Time Finance
- Advanced Hedge Fund Strategies
The average cost of a marketing of science in finance degree program is $64,008- $91,648.
If you are thinking of joining a marketing of science in finance degree click below and discover the best programs close to you.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Budget Analyst and How Much Does it Cost?
Option 1 : Bachelor’s Degree
|Bachelor’s||4 years||$54,040 -- $133,672|
|Total||4 years||$54,040 -- $133,672|
Option 2 : Master’s Degree
|Bachelor’s||4 years||$54,040 -- $133,672|
|Master’s||2 years to 3 years||$64,008- $91,648|
|Total||6 years to 7 years||$118,048- $205,320|