By Avinash Aggarwal, Managing Partner AKGVG & Associates, New Delhi
To keep the finances on track, a budget analyst is required for any organisation. Developing forecast and preparing budgets based on past expenditures and economic trends are the main focus for the next financial year’s preparation. They play a vital role for an organisation in reaching the financial goals, maintaining profitability and achieving long term growth. Availability and demand for a budget analyst is vast and for any industry, large or small, can set up their platform in government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare providers, financial firms and many more sectors/ industries.
What is budget analysis?
The purpose of budget analysis is to understand how an organization's money is being spent and managed, and whether the budget meets the group's goals. The organization could be a business, a government, a charity or any other entity that draws up budgets. Budget analysis helps the organisations to systematize their finances. It is used to evaluate the budget proposals and keep a check if the expenditures are done productively and provide recommendation either to increase or decrease the funding based on their statistical evaluation. A total information is generated which is further send to senior management for evaluation
says Mr. Avinash Aggarwal.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Budget analyst
One of a budget analyst’s main duties is developing an organization’s budget. This may involve working with multiple departments and project managers, as well as other stakeholders, to determine costs and benefits of various programs. They also conduct research, analyze data and review financial records. During the process, they typically recommend funding levels and spending cuts. Budget analysts are often required to ensure that budgets, book-keeping, and other finances are in compliance with regulations, laws and company standards. They also make recommendations to management and other stakeholders regarding efficient use of funds. Additional duties include monitoring spending for variations, providing technical analysis, and preparing annual and other reports.
• To monitor and manage the current budget throughout the fiscal year
• To Suggest budget amendments to department heads and senior management
• Review budget estimates submitted by department heads for accuracy and completeness
• Studying previous budgets with focus on variance from budgeted to actual expenditures and revenues
• Projecting the future financial needs
• Report preparation concerning budgetary discrepancies and amendments
· Budget consolidation of all the departments into a single document
· Explanation of the recommendations provided
· To come up with alternatives in case of analysis issues
· To keep a track on expenditures to meet the actual allotted budget
Scope of a Budget Analyst
Minimum requirement to apply for the post of a budget analyst is graduation, although preference will be given to candidates with post graduation. Course work in statistics and accounting will be beneficial as the work demands strong numerical and analytical skills.
Prospective budget analysts are often required to have some training or experience in the budget cycle, which typically lasts for one year. Employers also seek strong written and verbal communication skills, and attention to detail. Some employers look for a candidate with a degree in accounting, business administration, political science, finance or statistics.
The government projects the number of analyst positions to keep growing, but slower than the rate of growth for all jobs. However there's a lot of turnover as analysts leave their current jobs for better paying, higher ranked positions. The result is plenty of openings for beginner budget analysts. Entry-level budget analyst jobs provide opportunities for learning and taking on additional responsibilities. From there, it may be possible to move to a senior budget analyst, finance manager or budget manager position.
A number of military jobs encompass skills and knowledge used by budget analysts. For example, Navy business management, purchasing, supply and logistics roles utilize fundamentals of budgeting, analysis and problem solving.
Army financial management technicians perform job duties such as posting documents to budget systems and preparing financial reports.
Hence, the role of a budget analyst is important and crucial in today's dynamic business environment.