How to Answer an Experience Question About Budgeting and Forecasting

  Reviewed by: Michelle Seidel, B.Sc., LL.B., MBA
  Written by: Leyla Norman      Updated November 21, 2018
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Forecasting and managing a budget are integral parts of a manager's job. Interviewers want to know how much experience you’ve had budgeting. They may ask very specific budget experience interview questions, and your answers should include examples from volunteer or professional experience to demonstrate your abilities. When asked to describe your budget management experience, always remain confident and make eye contact with the employer.

Forecasting Method

Try answering with an example of how you took into consideration the previous year’s budget when asked about how you forecast a budget. Include factors that were important to your forecasting, such as the current state of the local and national economies, the demand for your product, competitors and the state of your industry.

Cost Control

You can provide an instance of when you saved the company money by controlling costs. You might say, “I streamlined the production process in my last position. This saved an hour’s work for employees every day as well as the cost of supplies we didn’t need to use. We were able to use that extra hour to prepare for the next day. We consistently remained slightly ahead of or on target with our production schedule.

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Overall Financial Impact

To show your experience with company finances, you can respond to the interviewer with an example of when your decisions had a financial impact on your company and how you dealt with it. If you underestimated the budget needed for supplies one quarter, relate how you dealt with and solved the problem. You might say you were able to reallocate resources from other areas of the budget with minimum impact to solve the problem, for example. Tell the interviewer what you learned from the experience and how you plan to avoid it in the future. Let the employer know if you have a specific budgeting method you use. This will help him see if your way of forecasting and managing a budget is a good fit with his company’s general culture and specific needs.

Short-Term and Long-Term Budgeting

When you're asked about budgeting, another way to showcase your experience is to explain how you've worked with both short-term and long-term budgets. Although your position may require only one or the other, the employer wants to know if you are capable of doing both. If you are asked about the size of the budgets you have managed, tell the truth. Do not overinflate the size of the budget you handled to make yourself look better to the employer. If you do and you get the job, it's likely you'll be responsible for doing work you have no experience with. It's better to impress the interviewer with your thorough knowledge and confidence in a certain type of budget, and to show a willingness to learn more advanced work.

About the Author

Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.

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