Budget Support Officer

Every council department is allocated a budget - an amount of money, which is spent during the year and is strictly controlled. A budget support officer's job is to work with staff in different departments to identify costs, check available budget and monitor expenditure within the overall council spending plan.

Work Environment
This is an office-based role. Budget support officers spend a large part of each day working at a desk with a computer. The remainder of the time would involve liaising with colleagues in different departments.

Daily Activities
Budget support officers begin the budget cycle by talking to individual unit managers within departments to find out their current expenditure and establish an estimate of their ad hoc expenditure for the coming year. Once this has been done it can form the basis of subsequent years' budgets, with adjustments taking place during the year as required.

As the year progresses, budget support officers maintain records of expenditure, identifying the appropriate budget from which moneys are spent, monitoring expenditure and preparing monthly reports, ultimately tied in with the local authority's expenditure as a whole.

At the year-end, budget support officers gather information on outstanding creditors and debtors and produce a final accounts picture for each department.

Skills & Interests
Budget support officers need:

  • to be able to pay attention to detail - accuracy is essential;
  • a methodical, logical approach;
  • an analytical mind, able to tease out figures from a mass of statistics;
  • numeracy skills - it is crucial to be good with figures;
  • organisational skills;
  • to be able to communicate clearly with all kinds of people;
  • familiarity with computer programs, both PC or mainframe-based.

Entry Requirements
Entry requirements vary from council to council. For some there are no set academic qualifications; for others you would need to be a graduate

Mathematical, statistical or accounting knowledge and experience are useful, as is competence with computer software, such as spreadsheets and specific programs used by your employing local authority. 

You may be able to work towards NVQs/SVQs. Professional training may also be available.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
You may be able to progress to a managerial job. With further qualifications it may be possible to move into an accounting role.

Further Information & Services
Accountancy Age journal www.accountancyage.com/ 
Instituteof Chartered Accountants in Englandand Wales www.icaew.co.uk 
Association of Accounting Technicians www.aat.co.uk 
Chartered Institute of Public Financeand Accountancy www.cipfa.org.uk  

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales (www.careerswales.com/) or in your local library, careers office or school careers library. 

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