Since it will be your duty to help your employer maintain its finances, you will likely be asked a series of questions during your interview that are aimed toward your understanding of budgeting, finances and even corporate bookkeeping. The following budget analyst interview questions and answers will help you become better prepared.
Are You Comfortable with Budgeting for Several Departments at Once?
In most cases, budget analysts work for large corporations or universities in which there are multiple departments associated with spending. Because of this, you may be required to budget the entire corporation or university—or sometimes a group of departments—rather than just a single department. To answer this question, you may say “I am extremely capable of reviewing budgets for multiple departments and creating not only an overall budget, but a specific budget for each department that is geared toward meeting the company’s overall financial goals.”
Can You Effectively Curb Spending when Necessary?
There will undoubtedly be times when particular departments go over budget despite your attempts to anticipate and facilitate their needs. When this occurs, your employer will typically ask you to create a report for the department head that shows the difference between the proposed budget and actual spending, and part of this report will be creating recommendations that are designed to help the department curb spending. The best answer to this question will be along the lines of “I am familiar with and capable of creating reports that show where money is being spent as well as making recommendations for reducing spending in necessary areas.”
Are You Proficient and Comfortable with Performing Cost vs. Benefit Analyses?
A cost vs. benefit analysis is sometimes necessary for determining whether a certain departments—meaning certain employees—are worth what the company is spending to keep them running. In other cases, this may mean removing a retail product that has not sold as expected from store shelves. In either case, these can be tough decisions, especially when the company may experience a financial loss in the beginning as a result of that decision. You should provide an answer that proves to your employer that you can not only be completely objective, but that you can also overlook the potential downfalls to such actions in favor of bettering the business overall.
How Do You React to Stressful Situations?
During the course of your career, there may come a time when you find yourself working for a company that is failing financially and heading toward bankruptcy. When this occurs, it will be your duty to cut spending wherever possible, find alternative sources of funding and prepare regular financial reports for company representatives. These can be very stressful situations, and since your actions may dictate the overall success or failure of the company, your interviewer will be interested in learning how you handle yourself during stressful periods. You should always answer this question with a firm “Regardless of the situation, I can stay on track and make only the best decisions for the company.”
When you are interviewed for a budget analyst position, most of the questions you are asked will have to do with your competency and ability to effectively communicate. Although many of these questions may be disguised, you should be sure to read into them in order to determine what the interviewer is really looking for.