Careers in Cost Accounting

Updated on April 3, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAnkush Jain
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

List of Top 3 Cost Accounting Careers

Cost accounting involves tracking, analyzing, and managing an organization’s expenses to improve cost control and profitability. Careers in cost accounting encompass roles like cost analysts, management accountants, and financial analysts. These professionals provide valuable insights and financial expertise to help businesses make informed decisions and enhance their financial performance.

Careers in Cost Accounting

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Cost accounting plays a pivotal role in business by providing critical financial insights. It helps organizations control expenses, optimize profitability, and make informed decisions. Careers in cost accounting offer diverse opportunities, including cost analysts who identify savings, management accountants who aid strategic planning, and controllers/CFOs overseeing financial functions. These roles are instrumental in ensuring efficient financial management, enabling companies to thrive in competitive markets.

Overview of Cost Accounting Careers

Cost accounting is the accounting method under which the company’s production cost is captured by assessing the cost of the inputs in each production step along with the fixed costs associated like depreciation of the assets etc. With cost accounting, detailed information is provided to the management to control the current operating costs and plan for the future. Cost accounting is thus the process that involves the process of recording, analyzing, and allocating the cost associated and then implementing the measures to control the cost.

A cost accounting career in the present world is one of a good career opportunity. The person doing the cost accounting job is responsible for the various tasks. There are various areas in the cost accounting job roles where the person can look at his career options, some of which are as below.

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Below is the list of top 3 Cost Accounting job roles/careers:

Career #1 – Cost Accountant

The cost accountant appointed by any company is generally responsible for budgeting, performance measurement and evaluation, cost management, and the company’s asset management. Their work is meant for internal use. They collect and analyze the financial information used by the management of the company and help management in making future decisions concerning the company’s work.

Responsibilities

  • Collect, record, organize, and analyze the internal and financial information for evaluation of the past and present performance of the company and making projections for the future using the data.
  • Recommend ways for the company’s management to economize the cost by analyzing the costs and various implications of different production methods.
  • Assess current practices, identify potential problems, and recommend the company’s management for necessary improvements.
  • Creating and controlling the budgets of the company and managing the actual costs.
  • Help develop a competitive edge in the quality of the product, brand service, customer service, etc., for maximizing profits.

Job Statistics

  • As per the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, in 2016, there were 1,397,700 employed accountants and auditors.

Top Companies

  • Ernst and Young, Delloite and Touche LLP, KPMG.

Salary

  • The median annual pay per year for accountants and auditors was $ 70,500 in May 2018 and $ 33.89 per hour to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. The lowest 10 % of the accountants and auditors earned less than $ 43,650, and the highest 10 % of the accountants and auditors earned more than $ 122,840.

Demand & Supply

  • The employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow at a rate of 10 % from the year 2016 to the year 2026, as per the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. This growth is faster than the average of all occupations because their growth is tied to the overall economy’s health. When the economy grows, the work of accountants and auditors will increase for the need to prepare and examine financial records.

Education Requirement

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in finance, accounting, or related field.

Recommended Courses/Qualifications

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Positives

  • Remuneration and the perks are high, as there is a huge demand for cost accountants.
  • It offers good growth potential.
  • High demand for cost accountants.

Negatives

  • Meeting targets requires long working hours.
  • Work may become monotonous sometimes.
  • Persons who don’t have analytical skills cannot make their career in this.

Career #2 – Budget Analyst

Budget analysts play an important role in the organization as they help the public and private institutions organize their finances, prepare the budget reports of the organizations based on past spending and economic trends, and help these institutions monitor their spending. They are crucial as they help in maintaining profitability, reaching financial goals, and finally attaining growth in the long term.

Responsibilities

  • Develop the organization’s budget by coordinating with the project and program managers.
  • Reviewing the budget proposals of managers.
  • Estimating the financial needs of the future.
  • Combining the different programs and the departmental budgets into one organizational budget in consolidated form and then reviewing the funding requests for merit.
  • Explanation of the recommendation for the funding request to the other concerned person.
  • Monitoring the organization’s spending to ensure they are within the budget as prepared by the company.

Job Statistics

  • As per the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, in 2016, there were 58,400 employed Budget Analysts.

Top Companies

  • Ivy Exec, Deloitte, the MIL Corporations

Salary

  • Budget Analyst’s median annual pay per year was $ 76,220 per year in May 2018 and $ 36.65 per hour as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. The lowest 10 % of the Budget Analyst earned less than $ 49,860, and the highest 10 % earned more than $ 116,300.

Demand & Supply

Employment of the Budget analyst is expected to grow at the rate of 7 % from the year 2016 to the year 2026 as per the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. This growth is as fast as the average of all occupations. As there is the demand for the efficient use of the public funds at all levels, this leads to the continued demand for budget analysts.

Education Requirement

  • A Bachelor Degree in finance, accounting, or a related field.
  • Master’s degree in the field of Accounting, finance, or related areas.

Recommended Courses/Qualifications

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Positives

  • High earning as there is a huge demand for Budget analysts.
  • Good employment
  • Job stability

Negatives

  • Long working hours.
  • Traveling is required for getting the information.
  • Overtime is sometimes required, especially during the final budget reviews.

Career #3 – Cost Estimator

Estimating the cost of manufacturing and construction projects is vital for the survival of any company. For this important work, Cost estimators play an important role as they provide information to the managers who are required to submit competitive contract bids for different projects or to price the products appropriately. The cost estimator collects and analyzes the company’s data for estimating the time, money, labor, material, etc., required to manufacture the product, construct the building, or provide the services.

Responsibilities

  • Go through the blueprints or the other technical documents to prepare the estimates.
  • Identification of the factors which affect the costs of the company.
  • Collect, calculate, adjust, and analyze the data of the company.
  • Providing information to the managers who are required for the purpose of submitting the competitive contract bids of the different projects.
  • Recommending the different ways for the company to reduce the overall costs.
  • It maintains the records of the estimated costs and the company’s actual costs.

Job Statistics

  • As per the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, in 2016, there were 217,900 employed Cost estimators.

Top Companies

  • Ford Motor Company, Fluor Corporation, and the Boeing Company.

Salary

  • The median annual pay per year for the Cost estimator was $ 64,040 per year in May 2018 and $ 30.79 per hour as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. The lowest 10 % of the cost estimator earned less than $ 38,060, and the highest 10 % earned more than $ 107,940.

Demand & Supply

  • Employment of the cost estimator is expected to grow at 11 % from the year 2016 to the year 2026, as per the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States. This growth is faster than the average of all occupations due to the increasing demand for the cost estimator because of the need of the companies for accurate cost projections to make sure that their products or services are profitable. The construction industry growth is also expected to create most new jobs for the cost estimator.

Education Requirement

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in the field of finance, accounting, business, or economics.

Recommended Courses/Qualifications

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Positives

  • High earning as there is a huge demand for the cost controller.
  • High job opportunities being the role is important for every organization.

Negatives

  • Handle the pressure as many things are to be managed in different company areas.
  • Long working hours with stress.

Explanation of Cost Accounting in Video

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