The Complete Job Description of a Cost Accountant

According to the Institute of Management Accountants, the majority of cost accountants will find employment working for businesses and inside of organizations. Their job is to help companies create their products and services in a cost-effective manner, and as part of this task, they will conduct routine analyses on the materials and processes used by the firm, performing special reports as well. These functions will be ongoing for those employed in cost accounting jobs, and the price of providing products or services will need to be continually evaluated.

Related accounting fields include: 

Cost accounting jobs also can carry the expectation that the person creates a system for recording and storing the information related to expenditures. It may also fall within the cost accountant job description that they devise a way to account for the company's inventory. Cost accountants will need to possess strong research skills, as they will need to provide an explanation for specific factors that may cause a fluctuation in price.

The Role of a Cost Accountant

The basic cost accounting concept includes being able to convene with upper management to make key decisions to cut costs internally, and this can include helping to determine the pricing on products and services and the wages offered to employees. A cost accountant will need to be able to work well in a team setting, and he or she will also need to be a self-starter who is able to work independently and take initiative.

It is common that a cost accountant will need to work within deadlines, and most of their work will take place in an office setting. In addition to performing an analysis of company ledgers on a quarterly basis, a cost accountant will need to prepare financial audit schedules, and a prospective cost accountant candidate will also need to have a basic grasp of Microsoft Office and other similar programs.

Part of a cost accountant's basic job requirements will include ensuring compliance with all laws related to taxes and finance, and they may also be called upon to prepare statements for investors, creditors, and government agencies. It will also be necessary to conduct margin analysis, which is the comparison of the financial benefits of an activity with its cost, and a cost accountant will need to provide explanations for inaccuracies and validation for the expense at which goods were created and sold during the month.

Cost Accountant Salary Information

According to Payscale, cost accountants can earn between $45,000 and $85,000 per year. Those who have been working in the field three years or less can top out at $71,000, and the uppermost salary can increase as a person gains tenure. Cost accountants who have earned their CPA or CWA will be in an advantageous position to receive a higher cost accountant salary, and those work for larger companies will fare better as well.

Candidates will need to possess at least an associate's degree, though a bachelor's in accounting or finance is preferred, with some employers requiring a master's degree. In addition, training in SAP Financial Accounting and knowledge in SAP Controlling can boost income, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in the area of auditing and accounting that is expected to be faster than average until the year 2024.