Budget Manager Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Budget Manager Do?

The budget manager is in charge of ensuring that the funds allocated for different government projects are spent correctly. The role is most often held by someone with a finance background, but it can be helpful to have some experience working on legislation or managing projects, depending on the legislative climate and the size of the office. Budget managers often work long hours keeping track of their own projects, but are also expected to help the office as a whole stay on budget.

Someone in this role will be expected to have strong analytical skills to be able to identify where funds are being misused. Experience working for a government office is not required but can increase opportunity for advancement within the field.

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National Average Salary

Budget manager salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.

The average U.S. salary for a Budget Manager is:


Budget Manager Job Descriptions

When it comes to recruiting a budget manager, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.

Example 1

We are seeking a highly motivated budget manager to work with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Department of Transportation, and other government agencies. The budget manager is responsible for managing departmental funds by tracking expenditures, investigating discrepancies, and participating in investigations. The ideal candidate will have experience working with large-scale budgets or on complex projects. Candidates will need strong analytical skills as well as excellent communication skills. A bachelor’s degree is required. Previous experience in public accounting, finance, or budgeting is helpful but not required.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Manage departmental funds
  • Evaluate and develop financial models to measure performance
  • Investigate agency’s budget, preparing a report of projected expenditures for decision-makers
  • Maintain the departmental budget by compiling data from various sources
  • Analyze reports received from managers regarding marketing campaigns and accounting procedures to ensure that the company is operating within its allocated budget
  • Keep management informed on the budget status
  • Make recommendations on how to reduce departmental overhead
  • Keep up to date with legislative changes that will affect the way budgets are allocated

Education and experience

  • A bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field is required for this job
  • Experience as an auditor, accountant, or business analyst may be helpful
  • Familiarity with accounting software such as Microsoft Excel and SAP
  • Experience managing budgets for commercial businesses will be useful
  • Ability to communicate financial information effectively to clients and management

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to work independently
  • Good research skills
  • Financial modeling skills
  • Strong understanding of financial concepts and accounting practices
  • Solid mathematical, analytical, writing, presentation, organizational, interpersonal, and leadership skills
  • Ability to communicate technical information to non-technical staff is required
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to prioritize tasks and follow a schedule

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience with accounting and auditing techniques and procedures
  • Familiarity with government budgeting methods is a plus
  • Certification from the Government Finance Officers Association, Certified Public Accountant, or other related professional associations may be required for certain positions in this field
  • Accountant certification desirable
  • Ability to read and interpret government regulatory agency reports
  • Understanding of government budgeting practices

Example 2

Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer, the Budget Manager plans, manages, organizes, directs, supervises, and performs professional budgeting and capital improvement plan development and monitoring activities in accordance with the principles and procedures of public finance, budgeting, budget control, and grant management. This includes direct supervision of a team of five professional, technical, and clerical staff within assigned activities.


  • Accepts management responsibility for assigned activities, operations, and services of the City’s Budget Division
  • Oversees and/or participates in the development, implementation and maintenance of divisional goals, objectives, policies and procedures; ensures that divisional goals are achieved
  • Manages, coordinates, and participates in the development of the City’s annual budget
  • Develops preliminary and final budget documents
  • Analyzes revenues and expenditure variances relative to the adopted budget and oversees the distribution of monthly budget reports
  • Implements, monitors, and evaluates budget policies and procedures and makes recommendations as necessary
  • Researches, analyzes, evaluates, and develops findings and makes recommendations involving complex budget and financial management issues
  • Reviews and/or prepares various related staff reports and resolutions, as required
  • Prepares and presents reports, documents, or correspondence to appropriate boards, groups and/or committees
  • Approves requisitions, agreements, and contracts to verify budgets are sufficient to fulfill requested agreements, requisitions and contracts
  • Reviews financial impact of agenda reports and assists departments with the preparation of special budget appropriation

The ideal candidate(s)

The ideal candidate is an experienced, innovative, and motivated finance professional who enjoys challenges, finding creative solutions, and has a mentorship approach to managing employees. The Budget Manager will be expected to support a collaborative and transparent organizational culture. The successful candidate will have strong analytical skills and a background in varied, complex municipal budgets. Effective communication and interpersonal skills are necessary to build and foster positive staff and interdepartmental relationships, as well as provide clear presentations and reports to leadership, various committees, and community groups. This position will require flexibility, patience, and a willingness to exchange and encourage new ideas while building a culture of continuous improvement and high performance, and the ability to build consensus while helping to move the City in an exciting new and prosperous direction.

Key attributes, skills, and characteristics

  • A “roll up one’s sleeves” type of leader who can foster strong, collaborative working relationships with all levels of City staff
  • The ability to creatively communicate complex financial information to non-financial audiences verbally and in writing, using graphics, and simple, practical terms
  • A willingness to leverage effective management and motivation of the Budget staff to research and recommend financial strategies and develop long-term finance plans; and perform complex financial analysis as required
  • A management style that looks for continuous ways to improve processes and utilizes technology to create efficiencies to ensure continued fiscal responsibility
  • A charismatic and humble leader who demonstrates confidence and high integrity, while providing excellent customer service
  • An active listener, calm under pressure, possessing a positive attitude and a good sense of humor

Example 3

This position supports the development of policy alternatives for assigned high level agencies and funds with highest complexity. This position is responsible for directing and supervising staff in the analysis of policy and budgetary initiatives and the review and analyzes of budget requests. It participates in the development and analyzes of budget recommendations, appropriations and allocations. Assists in supervising and training staff.

Key duties and responsibilities

The following functions are typical for this position and are considered the minimum essential job duties. Other duties may be assigned and required: Organizes and supervises a staff of professional employees involved in budget research and analysis in the preparation of departmental operating and capital budgets; Supervises the preparation of reports on budget status, bond fund resources, revenues, and expenditures; Works with staff to analyze requests from assigned agencies, programs and funds. Makes recommendations and participates in the strategy development for recommended options and alternatives.

Core competencies

As an employee in the finance and budget organization, this position must display the highest standards of ethical and fiscal conduct and understand the impact of violating these standards on the organization and on the City. The following knowledge, skills and abilities, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, are typical for this position. Knowledge of: Departmental and budgetary policies and procedures. Applicable laws, ordinances, policies, standards and regulations pertaining to the specific duties and responsibilities of the position. Municipal legislative and budgetary processes. Budget and policy analysis techniques.

Ability to

  • Take initiative and keep abreast of changes in policy, methods, operations, budget, expenditure, and revenue variations, equipment and capital needs, etc.
  • Conduct what-if analyses for purposes of projections, planning, and forecasting
  • Define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions
  • Assemble information and make written reports and documents in a clear, concise and effective manner
  • Comprehend, interpret, and apply regulations, policies, procedures, and related information
  • Meet deadlines, work under time constraints, and manage multiple projects
  • Demonstrate a detail-orientation and thoroughness to assignments and a high degree of accuracy
  • Coordinate and manage budget responsibilities of the highest level of complexity
  • Supervise and train staff

Skill sets

  • Strong analytical, critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Knowledgeable and skilled in the use of computers including familiarity with word processing, electronic spreadsheets, tables, graphs and financial software
  • Strong oral and written communication skills to effectively convey technical, programmatic and financial information in a clear and understandable manner to a broad audience
  • Good organizational, human relations and technical skills

Minimum qualifications, education, and experience

  • Bachelors degree from an accredited four-year college or university in economics, finance, accounting, business management, business administration, public administration or a closely related field preferred, or demonstration of knowledge and level of competency associated with a Bachelors degree in the above areas
  • Masters degree in the above areas preferred, or demonstration of knowledge and level of competency associated with a Masters degree in the above areas
  • Sufficient experience to understand the more basic principles relevant to the essential duties of this position as demonstrated by:
  • 3 to 5 years professional experience as a budget analyst, finance analyst, policy analyst, management analyst or closely related position that involved responsibility for budget development, analysis and management
  • Outstanding performance as a Budget and Policy Analyst, Prin. (GD 27) or. Equivalent combinations of education, training and experience that provides for the requisite competencies for this job may be considered
  • Supervisory experience a must
  • Successful completion of a background check

Example 4

The Budget Manager is responsible and accountable for financial forecasts, operational and budgeting and other valuations and financial analysis. The Budget Manager implements fiscal strategies and supports processes needed to adequately support and evaluate the County various operations, monitor County Departmental budgets, as assigned, to ensure appropriate resources are utilized efficiently to maximize productivity, analyze and reconcile financial records as it relates to the review and processing of contracts, personnel requests, purchase orders, requisitions, release orders and vouchers, develop and distribute departmental quarterly projection worksheets. 

Task and knowledge

  • Analyzing and overseeing department budget ensuring proper distribution and verifying that the appropriate resources are utilized to increase efficiency
  • Provide advice and technical assistance to Division heads, who prepare and submit budget proposals. Review and ensure proposals align with the organization’s objectives and goals; confirming that estimates are complete, accurate and conformance with procedures and regulations
  • Monitor and conduct ongoing review of the budget vs. actual to see how funds are spent; providing reports explaining discrepancies, communicating concerns and providing recommendations
  • Analyze monthly department budgeting and accounting reports to maintain expenditure control and monitoring revenue collections. Consult with managers to ensure that budget adjustments are made in accordance with activities change
  • Review and analyze purchases/travel/hiring requests for fund availability
  • Approval of requisitions (goods, services and personnel); blanket, release, purchase and department orders, vouchers, freeze forms and contracts
  • Maintaining Accounts Receivable module based on payments received
  • Maintaining the regular clearance of cash receiving and deposits in transit as invoice payments and fees received
  • Create month end and annual accrual journal entry for review and posting
  • Quarterly reclassification of journal entries (Drains Expense Reclassification)
  • Support Treasurer duties for Drainage Districts where County serves on the Board. Preparing quarterly and annual financial reports, assisting with debt applications and responding to Board and Community inquiries
  • Supervising Accountants and Account Clerks on various tasks assigned
  • Back up for other Department Managers and Assistant Division Director as necessary/required
  • Back up for Invoice and Deposit preparation as needed
  • Receipting of General Permits (Quarterly)
  • Work on year end Prepared-By-Client (PBC) items for annual County audit
  • Special Reports Create special reports or spreadsheets for a specific purpose when regular financial statements are insufficient
  • Produce, analyze, and review general ledger and cost accounting reports to ensure proper classification/allocation of revenue and expenditures
  • Prepare monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of said reports
  • Prepare, review, and monitor the various budgets as well as all related duties
  • Examine, analyze, and verify accounting records, including payroll, disbursement, revenue collections and purchasing transactions
  • Others duties as assigned

At the time of application, eligible persons must have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Finance, Accounting, or a related field; AND
  • Four (4) years full-time paid professional accounting experience; AND
  • Two (2) years of full-time paid experience preparing and developing budgets

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Management Concepts Federal Financial Management Certificate Programs (FFMCP). This certification provides a comprehensive process for professional development and is designed to enhance and accelerate career growth for Federal Government accountants, auditors, budget analysts, and financial managers.
  • TSPPPA Budget and Public Finance Certificate. This online certificate in budget and public finance provides coursework in the theoretical and practical foundations of public budgeting and the formulation and evaluation of public budgets.
  • Certified Public Finance Officers (CPFO). Candidates looking to receive this prestigious certificate can earn the designation through the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

Sample Interview Questions

  • What is your opinion on outsourcing?
  • What is your experience with budgeting and accounting software?
  • Describe a time when you had to gather information from multiple sources.
  • How did you address the findings of your research?
  • Would you rather be compensated for how profitable a project is, or the importance of it to the company overall?
  • What is your favorite type of budget to work on, and why?
  • Which financial statement would you rather have a manager focus on, the income statement or balance sheet? Why?
  • What are your thoughts on the benefits of standardizing reporting practices throughout a company?
  • If you were given budget responsibility for a project, how would you approach the task?
  • How do you handle a situation where an employee questions your authority?
  • What is bookkeeping and why does it need to be done so often?
  • What are some of the best ways to keep track of accounts receivable information?
  • What are some common pitfalls that companies encounter when implementing new software?

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