How to Become a Cost Accountant?

According to reports by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), auditors and accountants earn more than USD 70, 000 per annum on average. In addition, the report shows a six percent increase in accounting and audit jobs from 2018–2028 that opens opportunities for more than 1, 40, 000 job positions.

If you are someone seeking scope in finance and accounting careers or looking for promotions as an accountant, this article will help you to understand the skills and education required to become one and most importantly, to know the accounting certifications to be earned for securing a high-paying job in this proliferating industry.

Who is a cost accountant?

They are often called managerial or management accountants and are individuals in the companies who evaluate and plan the cost of conducting business. Cost accountants coordinate physical inventory counts and cycle-counting activities and are responsible for reconciling inventory.

Cost accountant responsibilities

  • Examine the company’s supply and purchase chains to spot areas that have inaccuracies and require improvement.
  • Compare actual and projected costs to develop business budgets or simply present their research and findings to the concerned authority.
  • Look for new opportunities to improve the financial health of their company using their in-depth understanding of facts, figures, and finances to optimize operations.

Skills of a cost accountant

If budgeting, evaluating, and maintaining costs is what thrills you the most, then a finance and accounting career or preciselysaying ‘cost accounting’ could be the right path for you! If you want to see yourself outperforming your peers in your career you need to work on the following skills.

Strong accounting knowledge

You need to work on fundamentals like:

  • Break-even point formula
  • Asset management
  • Business awareness

Here is a suggested course:

  • Cost accounting for beginners course by

Excellent analytical skills

These skills will help in executing the following tasks:

  • Improved decision making
  • Ensure accuracy and eliminate any kind of mismatching
  • Successful evaluation of contacts, business ventures, and investments

Suggested course is :

  • MS-Excel –Data analysis with excel pivot tables

Technical proficiencies and tech-savviness

Learning computer skills is indispensable as cost accountants need to operate several tools and accounting software such as:

  • Zoho Books
  • Ms. Excel
  • KPMG Spark
  • Quickbooks

Suggested courses are:

  • The Complete Oracle SQL Certification Course
  • Managerial accounting: Tools for facilitating and guiding business decisions

Communication skills

Cost accountants have to deal with risk managers, stakeholders, external vendor partners, and several big teams. This requires them to have a strong grip over communication skills. Nurturing these skills will help you:

  • In clear negotiation
  • To make professional presentations and reports
  • To build relationships with clients that are helpful in molding cost savings deals;

Educational requirements

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting is required for an entry-level cost accountant.
  • A master’s degree with accounting as a specialization is considered important for advanced positions.

Note: Apart from the education, the work experience required for each job role varies among companies.

Certifications for accountants

While the requirements for accounting or finance certification are not a compulsion. Earning them can demonstrate expertise and knowledge in this field. Apart from the mentioned accounting certifications, you can also earn:

  1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) by the CFA institute
  2. Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)
  3. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  4. Chartered Investment and Management Accountant (CIMA) certification by CIMA and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  5. Certified Management Accountant (CMA) by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
  6. Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) by the Corporate Financial Institute (CFA)

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Alina Parker

Investment & management accountants Writer, Adviser, Researcher and Investor.