There is no doubt that a career choice as a budget analyst is going to be the most rewarding and successful career for bright and intelligent students as analyzing a budget is actually interesting and fulfilling for those who love numbers.
Career as a budget analyst is an extremely satisfying career choice for students with good mathematical skills as they get to take home a fat compensation package while doing what they love to do. However number crunching skills alone do not make a successful budget analyst. He must also have good comprehension and grasping skills to understand thoroughly and in depth the project with which he is involved. Knowledge of the project will enlighten a budget analyst about the background from where the numbers he is dealing with are coming.
What is a career profile of a budget analyst? It is simple. A budget analyst prepares, analyzes and implements a budget. Preparation of budget proposal is followed by a thorough analysis and evaluation of the budget for cost-saving measures and finally upon the approval of the budget by the top management, it is implemented under the direct supervision of the budget analyst.
The role of a budget analyst usually requires an in depth knowledge of finance and accounting. In fact, career responsibilities of a budget analyst are huge and significant to the core operations of the organization. It is a budget analyst’s role to fulfill the objectives and vision set by the organization through efficient budgeting, i.e. allocating funds on priority basis for various projects and departments while ensuring the efficient distribution and utilization of these funds.
A budget analyst must analyze the present and future scenario of the organization’s operation by analyzing and evaluating currently running projects and programs as well as the projects to be launched in the immediate future. After analyzing the current scenario of the organization, a budget analyst must assess the current financial strength of the organization in order to chart out a detailed budget proposal. While preparing a budget, he must be careful to allocate funds carefully for each project or department on priority basis. It is also a budget analyst’s responsibility to monitor the fund distribution so that the funds are distributed and spent efficiently.
To carry out all these functions effectively, a budget analyst must have strong understanding in various financial concepts as his job includes working out cost-benefit ration of a project, i.e. comparing costs of the resources allocated for a project with the benefits derived out of them; estimating profits and losses; recommending on efficient utilization of funds; and training subordinates on budgeting and financing.
In a nut shell, a budget analyst establishes a strong connection between the organizations’ resources and objectives on a daily basis by writing budgeting proposals and justifications for budgeting; analyzing accounting reports and financial records; and finally reviewing the budget related functions of the organization. While carrying out his official responsibilities, a budget analyst should be careful that his organization should not exceed the budget limits during the implementation of the projects.
A career aspirant as a budget analyst must be good with numbers. As in any profession, good communication skills are a mandatory requirement for a budget analyst too. Besides, he should have the ability to pay attention to detail, decision-making ability, problem-solving skills and also have good leadership qualities. Skills with budgeting softwares are an added advantage. Other skills required for a successful budget analyst are comprehension skills, monitoring skills, and interpersonal skills.
Career aspirants must have a MBA qualification with an emphasis in Finance or Accounting. MBA in Financial Management is also a good qualification to begin a career as a junior budget analyst. Graduates in accounting, mathematics and finance may find entry-level support positions with private firms and some organizations. However, they need to upgrade their qualifications and skills if they have a genuine interest to make a career as a professional budget analyst.
Earning potential is very high in this field and it always depends on the qualification and professional experience. However on an average a Budget Analyst earns up to $61,000 per year. Highly reputed and experienced Budget Analysts may earn up a salary of $91,000 or more per year.
Entry-level salary in small companies ranges from $32,000 to $40,000. In large companies, entry-level salary ranges from $36,000 to $43,000. Graduate budget analyst trainees working with federal government agencies draw an annual salary of $28,862 or $35,752 per year while qualified post graduate budget analyst trainees take home an annual salary of $43,731.
On an average, corporate enterprises in the Untied States of America pay an annual salary of $65,280 while Federal Government agencies pay $ 65,240 per year. In state government agencies, this figure is $55,990 per year while in local government agencies it is, $55,120 per year. Colleges, universities, and professional schools pay an annual salary of $51,270 per year. (US Labor Department Statistics, 2006-07)
Potential employers of budget analysts include business enterprises and industries, non-government organizations, academic institutions and government agencies.
Budget analysts generally work in comfortable office rooms, by putting in 35 to 45 hours of work per week.
Graduates in accounting and finance may start at entry level positions by assisting experienced budget analysts and later they can upgrade their qualifications and skills if they wish to promote their career as a budget analyst. Qualified candidates especially those with MBA in Financial Management or Accounting may kick start their career as a junior budget analyst and soon they can climb up the career ladder as they gain sufficient professional experience. Experienced budget analysts are often assigned for overseas budgeting and financial management operations. They are sometimes absorbed by federal government agencies as Budget Policy and Management Advisors.
Qualifications and professional experience make a difference in the grade of career positions as well as remuneration. Federal government agencies sometimes employ both graduates and post graduates as budget analyst trainees but candidates with post graduate qualifications are paid a higher remuneration than those with mere graduate qualifications.