Concepts and Facts Useful in Understanding the Budget Process
The KEY POINTS page discusses points to keep in mind for dealing with budget matters and understanding the process as well as the results.
 
The Analyst believes that to COMMUNICATE is essential in the budget process.  The budget documents are a communication tool, as are the hearings, justifications, and other parts of the process.  Each action includes a communication element, both written and oral.  What is to be communicated and how it is communicated are vital to the success of the agency and its operating components in obtaining resources.  The communication of the results of the use of resources is as important as the promises made in the process of obtaining the resources.
 
The DOCUMENTS involved in the process are an integral part of the communication process as well as the basis for commitments to action, authorization for use of taxpayers' tax receipts,  performance monitoring, guidance to the agency, and audits.
 
COSTS are incurred in carrying out operations.   The types of costs incurred by the agency tells us what it can do, what flexibility it may have, what new work the operating components may engage in, and other factors that are essential to analyze agency capabilities.
 
Budget execution is the part of the process that translates the budget into action.  It is a part of the process that gets little attention at the senior levels of an agency, which tends to focus on budget development or formulation.  To EXECUTE the budget once approved by Congress and OMB requires that budget analysts have specific tools and skills, and that they apply them expertly and efficiently.  This need is as important as the need to apply these same skills to the development of the budget.
 
Proper budget work also requires the application of TECHNICAL skills, which are detailed here.