A budget analyst is a complicated position that requires skills in mathematics, analysis software, and economics. In order to succeed at this position, you also need to have extensive knowledge regarding the creation and application of budgets. To work as a budget analyst for the government or certain corporations, you need to understand policy and legislation that will affect the allocation of resources to the organization. Working as a budget analyst requires the ability to look at many parts of an organization as a whole, and the ability to help increase efficiency and productivity within the various parts so that the whole organization does better.
In order to work as a budget analyst, you need to have extensive skills in mathematics, business, and accounting. These skills are usually developed through education, as a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is usually required. Some positions require that an individual have a master's degree to become a budget analyst, but this is not the case in many organizations. Courses in a bachelor's degree program should focus on learning the skills needed to be technically proficient at analyzing budgets.
Many of the skills required to be a budget analyst are learned through on-the-job training. This includes such things as using analysis software and gaining an understanding of the legislation that affects the organization that you are working for. Knowledge of the intricacies of a specific organization are also gained on-the-job, which includes such things as the specific budgets of each department, the organization of the departments, and the way that pay raises work and how they affect the overall budget.
Since a budget analyst has to look at the budgets of each department within an organization to make sure that they are accurate and under the allocated amount of resources, it is important to have skills in cost analysis as well. This means being able to look at a budget and substitute items to lower the overall budget of an organization, without adversely affecting a department. This skill is generally learned on-the-job because costs are different in every organization due to the services and products being offered.
Critical thinking, problem solving, and good communication are also valued skills for a budget analyst. The budget analyst has to be able to quickly solve problems as they develop and communicate this information to upper-level management or senior officials. Critical thinking helps the budget analyst come up with creative solutions to solving budget problems within an organization.