How to Become a Budget Analyst


Before setting foot on any career path, you first need to determine if it's a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a budget analyst:


• You enjoy working with numbers, as well as expenditure and revenue forecasting

• You have an interest in accounting and finance

• You have excellent data analysis skills

• You enjoy the idea of working in an office environment during regular weekday hours

• You have an interest in working with managers from other business departments  


Below we've outlined what you'll need to get started in this profession. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Budget Analyst

Although the educational requirements can vary by employer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as accounting, mathematics, finance, statistics, or a closely related field in order to work in this field.


Some employers may require you to have a master’s degree, while others may accept many years of related work experience as a suitable replacement for a formal education. 





General Job Description of a Budget Analyst

Budget analysts are responsible for helping public and private institutions organize their finances by analyzing the expenditures and revenues, and preparing budget reports based on their findings. They work with departmental managers and business unit leaders from across their organization in order to review their financial plans, with regards to forecasted expenditures and revenue.



Typical Job Duties

• Monitor current budget throughout the fiscal year

• Suggest budget amendments to department heads and senior management

• Review budget estimates submitted by department heads to review them for accuracy and completeness

• Study previous budgets with focus on variance from budgeted to actual expenditures and revenues

• Project future financial needs

• Prepare reports regarding budgetary discrepancies and amendments



Who Employs Budget Analysts?

Budget analysts are typically hired on a permanent, full-time basis by the following types of organizations:


• Federal, provincial/state and municipal governments (employ almost half of budget analysts)

• Colleges and universities

• Non-profit and not-for-profit organizations

• Private and public research institutions

• Hospitals and healthcare systems

• Accounting firms and financial services organizations

• Medium-sized and large private companies in almost every sector of industry




Skills Needed to Be Successful

To be effective in a career as a budget analyst, you'll need to posses a certain set of skills in finance, mathematics, and data analysis. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and you will likely need to show evidence of them in your resume when applying for jobs.


• Proficient in Microsoft Excel and Word

• Proficient with various budgeting software

• Working knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles

• Working knowledge of budgeting principles and terminology

• Knowledge of financial reporting practices

• Ability to analyze trends and to research and assimilate data from various detailed record sources

• Ability to prepare detailed recommendation reports

• Knowledge of employer’s industry 



Helpful Characteristics to Have

To enjoy performing the duties of a budget analyst, you'll need to have certain qualities. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a budget analyst is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• Able to enjoy working in an office environment during regular weekday hours

• Willing to work overtime occasionally in order to complete tasks

• Willing to take accountability for results of work

• Able to maintain confidentiality

• Enjoy working with numbers

• Enjoy analyzing data and preparing reports and recommendations based on that analysis

• Enjoy communicating with people from other internal business groups and departments



Typical Salary Level

The salary level of budget analysts can vary depending on their level of education, their level of experience, the size and type of their employer, and many other factors.


Budget Analyst Salary - Canada: According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Financial Auditors and Accountants occupational group earn an average salary of $91,993 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 24, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Budget Analysts occupational group is $69,280 per year.



Current Job Postings in the Field

Our job board below has budget analyst postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to 'budget analyst', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.




Cost Estimator

Finance Manager

Investment Analyst




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession:


Occupations in Alberta: Financial Analyst.” (January 28, 2013). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 30, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook:Budget Analysts.” (September 4, 2019). Business & Financial - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 30, 2019.

General Business Blog:What Is a Budget Analyst? Everything You Need to Know About This Number-Crunching Career.” Ashley Brooks (May 3, 2018). Niagara College of Canada website. Retrieved October 30, 2019.




Scholarships for Becoming a Budget Analyst

The 'Relevant Majors' section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a budget analyst. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for eventually working in this field. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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