Do you have a knack for finding ways to save money? Are you a great problem solver? Do you love analyzing financial data and sharing your insights? If so, it’s a great time to pursue a cost accounting job.
The job market for cost accountants is strong. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 498,000 accounting and auditing positions to be created by 2024 due to business growth and replacement needs.
Manufacturing and construction companies, in particular, are actively recruiting cost accountants to monitor and analyze purchasing, inventory, production and labor costs. Cost accountants help ensure businesses are operating efficiently and competitively. These professionals also work on monthly closings, inventory monitoring, budget preparation and analysis, internal financial reporting, post-project audits and product pricing recommendations.
Employers expect candidates for cost accounting jobs to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, along with previous experience in the cost accounting field. Accreditations such as certified public accountant (CPA) or certified management accountant aren’t required, but they typically give cost accountants an advantage. Most cost accountants do not have a CPA or additional certifications, but those who do are viewed as highly committed to their professions and experts in their fields. It’s also beneficial to have a master’s in business administration when pursuing cost accounting positions.
Strong technical skills are essential. Cost accountants spend a lot of time inputting and analyzing data, therefore experience with the latest software and systems is imperative. There’s strong demand for Microsoft Excel expertise and familiarity with ERP systems.
Other valuable skill sets.
Given the high level of interaction with management, cost accountants need to be adept communicators, able to convey complex information clearly and concisely in both written and verbal forms. Cost accounting is a good fit if you’re seeking a role where you can provide valued input on key processes and business decisions.
Companies look for self-starters who will take the initiative to review expenses and product pricing, and make recommendations. Cost accountants must be on constant alert to business changes that may affect the bottom line, which calls for tremendous attention to detail. They also need to be comfortable pointing out budgetary and pricing concerns, even when faced with competing priorities from colleagues and managers in other departments.
This is a deadline-oriented role and best suited to accountants who have superior time and project management skills. Senior managers and executives use the data generated by cost accountants for critical strategic decisions, so it’s vital that reports are generated on schedule.
Cost accountants are needed in any economic environment, so it’s an attractive career path. Businesses are always focused on boosting profitability and competitiveness, and cost accountants play a central role in helping them achieve these goals. Why not explore this specialty and see if it’s the right choice for you?
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