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Career Profile: Budget Analyst

Why Is Budget Analysis a Job of Tomorrow?
As businesses of all sizes continue to expand, budget analysts will be needed more than ever to advise organizations on where to spend and where to cut costs to stay within financial constraints. Employment opportunities for budget analysts are expected to increase 7 percent by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Does a Budget Analyst Do?
Budget analysts handle the monetary resources of an organization. They develop plans to use the limited resources available, as well as analyze existing spending trends to see where excess spending can be cut to save money. Budget analysts working with for-profit organizations have the additional responsibility of seeking out new methods of increasing profits without sacrificing the integrity of its goods and services. Budget analysts now also handle performance evaluations and policy evaluations. In reviewing policy, budget analysts can determine where excess money and time is being spent. By the same token, performance evaluations are also helpful in determining which employees are valuable assets to the organization, needed information when it comes time to decide who should receive a promotion or pay raise. Budget managers also read the proposed spending plans for each budget cycle and analyze whether the plan is sound or whether it should be modified. They estimate the cost of projects and allocate the resources necessary to implement them.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Budget Analyst?
Budget analysts must have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business or another related field of study. However, many employers now prefer analysts with a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete and a master’s degree takes an additional two to three years to earn after first obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The courses taken depend on the student’s specific field of study. Certification is not a necessity for everyone, but budget analysts working for the government may obtain certification from the Association of Government Accountants, which requires at least a bachelor’s degree education, two years of work experience on the government level and the successful completion of several examinations.

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