The following article discusses the career path of Cost Accountant. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Cost Accountants.
Cost accountants are responsible for both routine and specialized cost analysis to ensure that materials and operations are managed in a cost effective manner. They are a specialized type of accountant that helps to determine the raw materials and products that are most suitable for the business operation. They often have to develop costing systems and evaluate inventory and its costs. They must also be able to identify and rationalize the factors that lead to cost variations. This requires research skills. Furthermore, they must be able to document and report on cost variations, advising senior managers on how to make certain decisions. This may also include setting product prices and salaries.
Other job duties of a cost accountant are:
- To analyze ledger activities every month, quarter, and year
- To report to management in relation to audit schedules
- To ensure all processes and services are fully compliant with the generally accepted accounting principles and the relevant regulatory requirements.
- To report on records of costs of service provision and goods manufacturing
Where We Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,397,700 accountants and auditors in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals are:
- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services: 25%
- Government: 8%
- Finance and insurance: 8%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 7%
- Self-employed workers: 7%
How to Become
A cost accountant will usually have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as finance or accounting. They must usually also have significant professional experience. They must be trained in various IT suites, including Microsoft Office. They must be able to work as part of a team and also independently. Usually, they work in an office during regular hours, although overtime work may be required to meet deadlines.
If they have to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), they must be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This means that they have to complete education beyond their bachelor’s degree and pass the CPA exam. Some cost accountants are expected to be a CPA, which is why most have the master’s degree as this enables them to meet and exceed the 150 semester hours of coursework requirement for the certification examination. The CPA examination is offered by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This certification must be maintained through continuous education.
Cost accountants usually start their career at an entry level position and then grow into supervisory roles, then becoming managers and eventually even partners. Some start as junior internal auditors, for instance, rising through the organization over time. It is also common for cost accountants to move between internal auditing and management accounting so that they get more varied experiences.
A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement, with a major in accounting, finance, or related field. Those with a master’s degree are usually in higher demand, particularly those with a master in business administration (MBA) with an accountancy concentration.
Aside from the CPA designation, other certifications can also be beneficial for someone working as a cost accountant, such as:
– Certified Management Accountant (CMA) offered by the Institute of Management Accountants
– Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
– Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA) offered by the IIA
– Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) offered by the IIA
– Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) offered by the IIA
– Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) offered by the IIA
– Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) offered by ISACA
– CPA Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) offered by AICPA
– CPA Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) offered by AICPA
– CPA Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) offered by AICPA
Traits & Qualities
The most effective cost accountant have the following traits to some degree or other:
– Strong analytical skills
– Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
– Detail oriented
– Excellent mathematical skills
– Strong organizational skills
The national average salary estimate for Cost Accountant was $65,282. This number is estimated from over 1,353,436 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $34.00 and monthly of $5,440.
- Most Reported
Salary by State
The following section lists Cost Accountant salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, New Hampshire had the largest quoted salary of $73,219 while Maine had the smallest quoted salary of $49,867.
Top 20 National Employers
According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Cost Accountant. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.
|Employer Name||Location||Average Salary|
|CyberCoders Cost Accountant||New Hampshire||$114,034|
|Rhired Staffing Cost Accountant||California||$101,900|
|Access Staffing LLC Cost Accountant||New York||$96,206|
|Nigel Frank International Cost Accountant||New Hampshire||$95,668|
|Marcum Search LLC Cost Accountant||Maryland||$95,000|
|DENHAM CORPORATION Cost Accountant||California||$92,581|
|Keairns Search Group Cost Accountant||California||$90,000|
|CorePosition – Manufacturing Cost Accountant||California||$87,000|
|Phoenix Resource Group Cost Accountant||Wisconsin||$86,788|
|South Florida Recruiters Cost Accountant||Florida||$86,275|
|Henderson Harbor Group Cost Accountant||New Jersey||$85,861|
|Coworx Staffing Cost Accountant||New Hampshire||$85,835|
|Perennial Resources International Cost Accountant||New Jersey||$85,365|
|Manufacturer, Chicago Cost Accountant||Illinois||$85,000|
|The Judge Group Cost Accountant||Wisconsin||$84,853|
- Accountants and Auditors : Occupational Outlook Handbook …
- Managerial Cost Accounting Resources – FASAB
- Cost Accounting – Cost Planning Program – Nashville
|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Supply Chain Analyst||$66,387|
|Operation Research Analyst||$65,235|