Cost accountants are professionals found in almost all types of business firms. They deal with the recording of various costs of the enterprise mainly the cost of production, distribution or both. They have a senior position in the organization.

Cost Accountant Job Description

A cost accountant’s main work is recording the transactions and costs of the business firm to help in minimizing the cost incurred. They should have the required qualification and experience to do the job well. They have to report to the head of finance department or the accounting department on a periodical basis.

Job duties

The duties of a cost accountant usually include as follows:

  • Collecting the necessary data for the accounting purposes.
  • Complete inventory control including physically counting the inventory.
  • Analyzing and reporting on various costs, break even analysis, capital budgets, etc.
  • Prepare periodical reports and reviews on weekly, monthly or yearly basis as necessary.
  • Reconciliation and comparison of the costs of the business.
  • Maintaining accounting books and doing other accounting works.

The duties of a cost accountant are not limited to the above ones and may vary according to the organization they are working for. But the main duty is to record the various costs incurred in carrying out the business activities.

Skills

Cost accountant requires a lot of skills especially analytical skills in order to carry out their work smoothly.

  • Must have good interpersonal skills.
  • Must be a well-organized and detail oriented person.
  • Must have good mathematical skills.
  • Must take initiative and be a self-starter.

Work environment

Cost accountants usually work in an office although they might have to visit other departments or operations. They have a room for themselves or might be working with other assistants in the accounting department. They usually have a desktop or a laptop to work.

Qualifications

Cost accountants have to have excellent knowledge in the cost accounting field. There are some basic qualifications required and there are others that are preferred by various companies.

  • All the cost accountants should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some firms prefer a master’s degree also
  • Cost accountants who have experience of more than 2 years are usually preferred.
  • Having experience in engineering, manufacturing or the like is considered as an added advantage by many business organizations.
  • Having a good knowledge of ERP system and accounting softwares are also preferred
  • They should also have excellent knowledge in MS Office especially Excel.
  • Analytical skills, ability to work with a team, etc. are also required


Different companies prefer different qualifications although the basic accounting degree is a pre-requisite. Cost accountant does not need to have a professional qualification or a certified license as it is just an internal function. But the more qualification and experience a cost accountant has, the higher are the chances of getting a high salaried job in a good business firm.

Tips for the job

A cost accountant can be successful if can follow the following tips

  • A cost accountant should try to be an expert analytical thinker.
  • Cost accountants should be able work under pressure and also meet very tough deadlines at times.
  • They should try to learn about the business of the firm they are working with as it varies from firm to firm.

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