Budget analysts spend much of their time reviewing data. They must look at previous budgets, create new feasible plans, and forecast the future with data. They must put together data from very different departments and use complicated software to aid their forecasts. Potential budget analysts should have a strong understanding of financial costs and opportunities for growth for organizations. These are 10 top interview questions.
1. What Is Your Experience with Financial Analysis Software?
While there is no one software that is necessary for budgetary analysis, accounting software such as Deltek Costpoint and financial analysis software such as Oracle or Microsoft FRx are helpful. General knowledge of spreadsheet operations is necessary.
2. How Would You Monitor Budgetary Completeness and Performance?
Previous budgets and project budgets must be reviewed for compliance with company and legal policies. An understanding of these financial policies is needed, as well as regular review of department spending to ensure it complies with the set budget.
3. Are You a Certified CFA or CFP?
While not necessary, certification as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) or a CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) indicates qualified experience in budgeting. These certifications are examples of experience that would qualify someone for the job without having been a budget analyst before.
4. What Areas of Expertise other than Finance Make You Qualified for this Job?
Budget analysts are not strictly financial officers. Experience and education in statistics or accounting are necessary to deal with forecasting and trend-predicting demands of this job.
5. How Well Do You Cooperate with Others?
Budget analysts often work in teams, either with superiors and/or subordinates. In all organizations, it is necessary for them to communicate with project leaders and corporation leaders to advise on financial management plans.
6. Do You Work Well Under Tight Deadlines?
Budget analysts will often have inconsistent schedules. Budget reports will likely be drafted at the end and beginnings of fiscal years, and there likely be much pressure in a short period of time. Budget analysts must be willing to work long hours at times.
7. How Would You Advise in the Event of a Deficit?
Deficits are natural occurrences in the business cycle. Analysts must be able to provide useful recommendations to aid the corporations in exiting these deficits. They must be willing to cut funding for some programs and reallocate funds.
8. How Would You Handle Presentations to Executives Without Much Financial Expertise?
Analysts oftentimes speak with executives and upper level officers to aid them in their decision-making. Some of these people, like certain government officials, are not technical experts and so analysts must be able to simplify advice without sounding demeaning or concealing necessary information.
9. How Would You React to Noticing that a Department has Gone Over Budget?
Budget analysts must be sure to check the spending trends of separate departments and teams regularly. In answering this question, candidates should be sure to note that regular, clear, and positive communication is essential to adhering to budgets.
10. Do You Have Experience with Compiling Large Sets of Data?
A large part of a budget analyst’s job is take data from large spreadsheets from vastly different departments and putting them together to see a bigger picture. To someone inexperienced, this can seem daunting, so it is necessary to be able to read much data and provide company-wide recommendations.