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Top 11 Budget Analyst Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for budget analysts, including requirements, benefits, and costs.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a budget analyst in the job market because they provide evidence that the analyst has the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job. Certifications demonstrate to employers that the analyst has met certain standards of proficiency and can handle complex tasks related to budgeting and finance. Certifications also set analysts apart from other job applicants, as they show that an individual is committed to their profession and has invested in their professional development. Employers may view certified analysts as more reliable and trustworthy, which can give them an edge in competitive job markets. Lastly, certifications can often lead to higher salaries and better opportunities for advancement.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Budget Analysts and explain how they can help to advance a budget analyst's career.

What are Budget Analyst Certifications?

Budget analyst certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and proficiency in the area of budget analysis. This certification is designed to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively analyze budgets, identify areas of improvement, and develop strategies for making adjustments to maximize available funds. It can also help individuals gain a better understanding of how to track expenditures and ensure that budgets remain within approved parameters. With this certification, analysts are able to become more efficient at their job by developing sound financial plans for organizations and businesses.

The benefits of obtaining budget analyst certification include improved career prospects, increased job security, higher salaries, and greater credibility in the field. Those with this credential will be better equipped to evaluate financial data, recognize trends and patterns in spending, identify potential areas for cost savings, and make recommendations for changes that could improve overall efficiency. Additionally, those who hold a budget analyst certification may have access to more advanced positions or opportunities within their current organization or other organizations seeking qualified budget analysts. Finally, having this credential may give individuals an advantage when applying for jobs or promotions as it shows employers they have expertise in the field of budget analysis.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the different types of budget analyst certifications available and their requirements in order to find the best fit for your experience and career goals. Additionally, consider taking courses or completing online training programs to gain a deeper understanding of budgeting principles and techniques.

Related: What does a Budget Analyst do?

Top 11 Budget Analyst Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Budget Analysts today.

1. Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)

Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) is a professional certification program developed by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). It is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of government financial managers in the areas of government accounting, auditing, financial reporting, budgeting, and financial management.

The CGFM program requires applicants to pass three exams. Exams are offered twice a year in March and September. The exams cover topics such as governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, budgeting and financial management. Each exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

To become certified as a CGFM, applicants must meet certain education and experience requirements. Applicants must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university with at least 24 semester hours in accounting or related fields; or have at least five years of full-time experience in governmental accounting or related fields; or have a combination of education and experience that totals five years.

The cost for the CGFM program varies depending on the number of exams taken and whether you choose to take them online or in person. The fee for each exam is $200 if taken online and $250 if taken in person. Additionally, there is an application fee of $100 which must be paid before taking any exams.

2. Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO)

Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of public finance. The CPFO program is administered by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

The CPFO program requires applicants to demonstrate knowledge and experience in public finance, including budgeting, accounting, debt management, investments, financial reporting, and risk management. It also requires applicants to pass an examination that covers these topics. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours.

To be eligible for the CPFO program, applicants must have at least two years of full-time professional experience in public finance or a related field. Applicants must also have either a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

The cost of the CPFO certification program varies depending on whether you choose to take the exam online or in person. The cost for taking the exam online is $400; if you take it in person, it will cost $450. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with the application process such as background checks and fingerprinting fees.

Once you have successfully passed the exam and completed any other required steps, you will receive your CPFO certificate from GFOA. This certificate is valid for five years after which time you will need to renew your certification by completing continuing education courses or retaking the exam.

3. Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)

Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) is a professional certification program offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). It is designed to recognize internal auditors who have demonstrated knowledge and experience in government auditing. The CGAP program focuses on the specific skills, techniques, and standards required for effective government auditing.

The CGAP program consists of two parts: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as government audit standards, risk assessment, audit planning, data analysis, reporting requirements, and best practices. The exam tests a candidate’s knowledge of these topics.

To get certified as a CGAP, candidates must first complete the online course and then pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher. The entire process typically takes 3-4 months to complete.

The cost for the CGAP program varies depending on whether you are an IIA member or non-member. For IIA members, the cost is $1,175; for non-members it is $1,375.

4. Certified Government Financial Manager-Advanced (CGFM-A)

The Certified Government Financial Manager-Advanced (CGFM-A) is an advanced certification program designed to recognize the highest level of professional excellence in government financial management. It is offered by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and administered by Prometric, a global leader in testing and assessment services.

To become a CGFM-A, candidates must have at least five years of experience in government financial management or related fields, as well as complete three courses and pass three exams. The courses are Principles of Government Financial Management; Advanced Governmental Accounting; and Advanced Government Budgeting, Reporting & Analysis. The exams are the AGA Professional Certification Exam (PCE), the AGA Comprehensive Examination (CE), and the AGA Advanced Examination (AE).

It typically takes between six months and one year to prepare for the CGFM-A exam. Candidates should plan to spend at least 20 hours per week studying for the exam. Resources such as study guides, practice tests, webinars, and online courses can help candidates prepare for their exams.

The cost of taking the CGFM-A exam varies depending on which resources you use to prepare for it. The cost of registering for all three exams is $1,200 USD plus applicable taxes. In addition to this fee, there may be additional costs associated with purchasing study materials or enrolling in online courses or webinars.

5. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). It is designed to recognize and enhance the skills of management accountants, financial analysts, and other finance professionals. The CMA credential is held by more than 70,000 finance professionals in over 100 countries.

To become a CMA, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass two rigorous exams. The first exam covers financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. The second exam covers financial statement analysis, corporate finance, decision analysis and risk management, investment decisions, and professional ethics.

The entire process typically takes between 12-18 months to complete depending on how quickly you can study for the exams and submit your application materials. To get started with the CMA certification process you will need to register with IMA as a student member or affiliate member. You will then need to pay an initial fee of $250 which includes both exams plus access to online study materials. Additional fees may apply for late applications or rescheduling of exams.

Once you have passed both exams you will need to submit an application for certification which includes a verification of work experience in management accounting or related field as well as references from employers or colleagues who can attest to your qualifications. After submitting your application it typically takes 4-6 weeks for IMA to review your documents and grant you certification status if all requirements are met.

6. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of internal auditing. The CIA is recognized worldwide as the standard for internal audit professionals.

It typically takes between six months and two years to complete all three parts of the CIA exam. The exam consists of three parts: Part 1 – Internal Audit Basics; Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing; and Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing. Each part must be completed separately and within a certain time frame. The cost to take each part varies depending on where you take it, but generally ranges from $200-$400 per part.

To qualify for the CIA exam, candidates must meet certain educational requirements, including having a bachelor’s degree or higher in accounting or related field from an accredited college or university. Candidates must also have at least two years of professional experience in internal auditing, control, or security-related fields.

Once all three parts have been successfully completed, applicants can apply for their Certified Internal Auditor designation from the IIA. This application process requires submitting proof of education and professional experience along with other supporting documents such as transcripts and letters of recommendation. Fees associated with this application process range from $150-$250 depending on your country/region.

7. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional designation given to accountants who have met the educational, experience and examination requirements established by their respective state boards of accountancy. CPAs are licensed by the state in which they practice and must adhere to a code of professional ethics. They provide services such as auditing financial statements, preparing tax returns, advising clients on financial matters, and providing management consulting services.

To become a CPA, you must meet the requirements set forth by your state board of accountancy. Generally, these include completing 150 hours of college coursework (which typically takes five years), passing the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and meeting any additional requirements set forth by your state board. The cost to become a CPA varies depending on where you live; however, it typically includes fees for education courses, exam preparation materials, registration fees for the exam itself, and any other related costs.

8. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a professional designation for management accountants that is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). This designation recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of competency in the field of management accounting.

To become a CGMA, individuals must hold an active CPA license and have at least three years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management. They must also pass an exam administered by the AICPA and CIMA. The exam consists of two parts: a written exam and an online assessment. The written exam covers topics such as cost management, budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, and strategic planning. The online assessment tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills in areas such as communication, problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, and leadership.

The entire process to obtain the CGMA designation typically takes approximately six months to complete. Candidates must first register with AICPA/CIMA to take the exam. Once registered, they will receive study materials and be able to access practice exams to help prepare for the actual test. After passing both parts of the exam, candidates will receive their CGMA designation certificate from AICPA/CIMA.

The cost to obtain the CGMA designation varies depending on where you live and if you are an AICPA or CIMA member. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 USD for non-members to register for both parts of the exam and receive their certificate upon completion.

9. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in financial planning. It is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. to individuals who have completed a comprehensive education program and passed a rigorous exam.

The CFP program includes coursework in areas such as investments, taxes, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance and risk management. The program also requires applicants to have at least three years of full-time financial planning experience.

It typically takes between two and four years to complete the CFP program requirements. The cost of the program varies depending on the institution offering it, but can range from $2,000-$5,000 for the coursework alone. The exam fee is an additional $695.

In order to become a CFP, applicants must pass the CFP Certification Examination administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board). This exam consists of two parts: a written component and an oral component. Once both components are successfully completed, applicants are eligible to receive their CFP designation from the CFP Board.

10. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute, an international organization that sets standards for investment professionals. The CFA designation is widely recognized as the highest standard of excellence in the field of investment management and financial analysis. It requires a combination of education, experience, and passing three rigorous examinations.

The CFA program typically takes around four years to complete. To become a CFA charterholder, you must have at least four years of qualified work experience in the investment decision-making process, or a combination of work experience and college-level education. You must also pass all three levels of the CFA exam within seven years.

To get started on your journey to becoming a CFA charterholder, you will need to register with the CFA Institute and pay an enrollment fee ($450). Once registered, you can purchase study materials from the institute or from third-party providers. After passing each level of the exam, there is an additional fee for certification ($450).

In total, it costs approximately $1,800-$2,000 to become a CFA charterholder.

11. Certified Budget & Finance Analyst (CBFA).

Certified Budget & Finance Analyst (CBFA) is a professional certification program designed to help financial professionals develop and demonstrate their knowledge of budgeting, finance, and financial analysis. It is offered by the Institute of Certified Financial Analysts (ICFA).

The CBFA program consists of four courses: Budgeting and Forecasting, Financial Analysis, Investment Analysis, and Risk Management. Each course requires approximately 40 hours of study time. The courses can be taken online or in person at an ICFA-approved classroom.

To become certified as a CBFA, applicants must pass all four exams with a score of 70% or higher within two years of enrolling in the program. Applicants must also have three years of experience in budgeting, finance, or financial analysis.

The cost for the CBFA program varies depending on whether you take the courses online or in person. The online version costs $1,500 USD while the classroom version costs $2,000 USD.

Do You Really Need a Budget Analyst Certificate?

When considering a career in budget analysis, it is important to consider whether or not you need a certificate in order to be successful. While having a certificate may be beneficial, it is not necessarily essential for success.

The most important factor when pursuing a career in budget analysis is having the right skills and knowledge. Knowledge of financial principles and accounting processes are essential for any budget analyst, as well as being able to think analytically and understand complex data sets. Even without a certificate, having these skills can make you an attractive candidate for employers looking to hire budget analysts.

Additionally, gaining experience through internships or entry-level positions can be just as beneficial as having a certificate. Employers are often more interested in applicants who have practical experience than those with only theoretical knowledge. Having the right experience can demonstrate your ability to handle complex tasks and make sound decisions when analyzing budgets.

Finally, having strong interpersonal and communication skills will also help you stand out from other applicants. Budget analysts need to be able to communicate their findings clearly and concisely so that management teams can understand their recommendations and take action based on them. Being able to work well with others is also important since many budget analysts must collaborate with colleagues from other departments in order to get the job done effectively.

In conclusion, while having a certificate in budget analysis may be beneficial, it is not necessarily essential for success in this field. Having the right skills and knowledge coupled with practical experience and strong communication skills will go much further than simply having a certificate alone.

Related: Budget Analyst Resume Examples

FAQs About Budget Analyst Certifications

1. What is a Budget Analyst Certification?

Answer: A Budget Analyst Certification provides essential skills training and knowledge in budgeting, financial analysis, and forecasting. It is designed to help professionals understand the complexities of government and corporate budgets, as well as to develop the analytical skills necessary for successful financial management.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining a Budget Analyst Certification?

Answer: Generally, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance and at least two years of professional experience in budgeting or financial analysis. Additionally, some certifying organizations may require passing an exam or completing additional coursework.

3. What types of jobs can I qualify for with a Budget Analyst Certification?

Answer: With a Budget Analyst Certification, you can qualify for roles such as budget analyst, cost estimator, financial analyst, project manager and more.

4. How long does it take to earn a Budget Analyst Certification?

Answer: The timeline depends on the specific certification program you choose; however, most programs can be completed within 4-12 months depending on your prior experience and knowledge level.

5. Where can I find information about available Budget Analyst Certifications?

Answer: You can find information about available certifications through various online sources such as professional organizations like the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) or through websites such as Coursera that offer specialized courses in budgeting and financial analysis.

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