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Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They are responsible for preparing budget reports and monitoring an institution’s spending. Budget analysts can be found in a wide range of work environments, from government agencies and universities to public and private companies. To be a budget analyst, you must have good analytical skills, strong attention to detail, good communication skills and excellent math skills.
Analyzing Budgets and Evaluating Costs
Budget analysts must be able to process a wide variety of information, evaluate costs and benefits and solve complex problems. Budget analysts develop an organization’s budget by reviewing the smaller budgets of each division or department of a company. They compile one comprehensive budget that includes all spending in all areas of an organization. In order to do this effectively, a budget analyst must be able to evaluate which requests for money have merit and which are discretionary measures. They also ensure that their budgets are accurate and comply with state and federal laws.
Speaking and Writing with Flair
Communication skills are a necessity for budget analysts. They need to explain the outcome of their budget analysis as well as communicate their recommendations for cost-saving measures. They must be able to break down complex financial principles to laypeople and present highly technical information in understandable ways. If they are making funding requests to legislators or the public, they must be able to make a solid argument for the money, offering concrete explanations for the request, its use and its overall benefit.
Details, Details, Details
Creating an efficient budget requires an eye for detail. Each budget item must be scrutinized. Budget analysts must monitor each dollar spent to ensure an organization’s budget stays on track. Depending on the organization, daily and/or weekly spending reports are generated and shared with company leadership. Careful monitoring of a budget can alert a skilled analyst to future problems.
A Successful Equation
An organization’s budget is a series of line items that add up to an annual amount of money that is needed to successfully run an institution. Budget analysts need exceptional math skills to ensure they are compiling an accurate, concise picture of a company’s expenses. Budget analysts should also be skilled at using financial software, such as spreadsheets, databases functions and financial analysis programs. These tools can assist in forecasting spending, identifying trends and maintaining an organization’s financial history.
2016 Salary Information for Budget Analysts
Budget analysts earned a median annual salary of $73,840 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, budget analysts earned a 25th percentile salary of $58,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $92,890, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 58,400 people were employed in the U.S. as budget analysts.
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Laura La Bella has worked as a marketing communications writer and editor in the fields of advertising, development and higher education for more than 15 years. She has authored more than two dozen nonfiction books for young adults, covering biographies of socially relevant people, timely social issues and career paths.