One of the largest challenges in most corporations, agencies, or organizations is to distribute limited finances effectively. In most cases, the task of dividing up limited resources would be practically impossible if it were not for the budget analyst. The budget analyst develops, critiques, analyzes, and implements budgets. She must use the financial resources that are available and also estimate future budgetary needs.
A budget analyst can work in a wide variety of places, from the private sector to the public sector or even non-profit organizations. If she works in the private sector, her main duty will be to analyze the budget of that corporation and determine new ways to make the company more efficient; thereby raising the profits of the company. In the public sector and in non-profit organizations, profits are often less of a concern. In those cases, a budget analyst must try to find the best way to disperse money and other resources throughout the agency or the various segments of the organization.
As funding has become scarcer, there have been bold moves to downsize, restructure, and stop needless spending. Consequently, budget analysts have become important people in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, alike. Besides managing and implementing the budget, she also works to evaluate the performance of various programs or departments. If a program or department seems wasteful, she may encourage corporate or agency leaders to end, trim, or streamline that program or department. Drafting legislation related to a balanced budget and conducting training sessions on how to approach a new budget may also be among her job duties.
Each time a new budget cycle approaches, leaders and managers give the budget analyst proposals to review. The proposals indicate all aspects of the program or department in question. They will detail each program, how much money it will take the program to run, and they may even propose ways to fund the program and increase financial resources.
Estimating a budget and analyzing a proposal for accuracy and completeness are among the many responsibilities of a budget analyst. In addition, she must be aware of the procedures that are in effect, the regulations that are implemented by law, and the objectives of the organization or department. She must also use a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the cost of the program or department is worth the benefit it serves to the community or the corporation. Occasionally, she will need to find alternative ways to fund a particular program or department, so thinking outside the box is an important skill.
Budget summaries and financial software are quite popular for the budget analyst. The summaries will directly state whether a program or department should receive funding. They are usually read by top corporate leaders or elected officials. Although the advice of the budget analyst does not have to be followed, it is the best way to ensure the longevity of a corporation, agency, or organization.