Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Budget Analyst

Job Description:

Budget analysts help businesses, universities, and governments organize and stay on top of their finances. Budget analysts develop and review budget proposals and monitor spending and the availability of funds. They review and approve or deny funding requests from within an organization and evaluate programs to determine whether or not they are cost-effective. Analysts must be able to communicate their findings to officials within an organization and recommend changes necessary for that organization’s financial health.

Budget analysts typically must hold at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in accounting, business, or economics. However, a bachelor's degree in another area, along with some course work in statistics or accounting, may be acceptable to some employers. Some employers will require a master's. No matter what the industry, a budget analyst must possess strong analytical, math, communication, and writing skills. Some budget or finance-related work experience is helpful and may, depending on the position and employer, be substituted in lieu of a formal degree. A budget analyst working for governments can advance his or her career by earning a Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants.
Median Salary:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2012, California, Texas, and Virginia have the highest number of employed budget analysts, while the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Virginia offer the highest mean wages. The industries with the highest level of employment of budget analysts are government, including federal, state, and local, and colleges and universities. The BLS projects 10% employment growth for budget analysts from 2010 to 2020.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 10% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Budget analysts should experience modest growth over the next seven years, as recent data and statistical complexities have created an increasingly competitive market for qualified experts. During times when budget cutbacks are imposed, budget analysts are in higher demand, giving way to stabilized employment rates at a broad range of companies and organizations requiring their services. Budget analysts should find the highest percentage of job opportunities are available through the federal government (excluding the post office), followed by state, local, and private educational services organizations. Those considering a career in budget analysis would be wise to seek education in a broad range of expert-level skills, as the field is yielding to more diverse assortment of job duties. Although job growth projections are moderate, availability depends largely on changes in government spending.

Continuing Education:

Budget analysts working in government financial sectors must receive Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)certification through an organization called Advancing Government Accountability. Students must take an exam administered by AGA, and complete a minimum of credit hours of continuing study every two years to maintain their CGFM certification status. The AGA website features an index of online and on-site continuing education opportunities for budget analysts to fulfill certification requirements. Graduates of a continuing education program typically take courses in accounting, statistics, quantitative methods, and analytical skills in order to demonstrate to peers and potential employers their mastery of budget analyst qualifications.