Budget Analyst

Apr 8, 2022

What does a budget analyst do?

  • Work with program and project managers to develop the organization’s budget

  • Review managers’ budget proposals and funding requests for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations

  • Combine program and department budgets into a consolidated organizational budget

  • Explain funding requests to others in the organization, to legislators, and to the public

  • Help top managers analyze proposed plans and find alternatives if the projected results are unsatisfactory

  • Monitor organizational spending to ensure that it is within budget

  • Inform program managers of the status and availability of funds

  • Estimate future financial needs

What is a budget analyst responsible for?

Budget analysts advise organizations—including governments, private companies, and universities—about the details of their finances. They prepare annual and special reports and evaluate budget proposals. They analyze data to determine the costs and benefits of various programs, and they recommend funding levels based on their findings. Although government officials or top executives in a private company usually decide on an organization’s budget, they rely on the work of budget analysts to prepare the information for that decision.

Sometimes, budget analysts use cost–benefit analyses to review financial requests, assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods. Budget analysts also may examine past budgets and research economic and financial developments that affect the organization’s income and expenditures. Budget analysts may recommend cutting spending on particular programs or redistributing funds.

Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure that organizations comply with the budget and to determine whether certain programs need changes in funding. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing desired results.

In addition to providing technical analysis, budget analysts must communicate their recommendations effectively within the organization. For example, if there is a difference between the approved budget and actual spending, budget analysts may write a report explaining those discrepancies and recommend changes to reconcile them.

Budget analysts working in government may attend committee hearings to explain their recommendations to legislators. Occasionally, budget analysts evaluate how well a program is doing, assess policy, and draft budget-related legislation.

How much does a budget analyst make?

The median annual wage for budget analysts was $79,940 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,330, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,440.

Is budget analyst a good career?

Employment of budget analysts is projected to grow 3 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 4,000 openings for budget analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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