Cost Accountant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Cost Accountant, or Cost Analyst, is a financial professional who’s responsible for assessing business expenses and preparing optimized budget plans for their employer. Their duties include reviewing financial records, researching the market rate for key business costs and adjusting the company ledger to accurately reflect balance sheets.

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Cost Accountant duties and responsibilities

Cost Accountants collaborate with other accountants and financial staff in the company to provide financial and accounting support to executives and department heads who establish goals and budgets for the organization. Their duties include:

  • Collecting and analyzing data about a company’s operational costs
  • Setting standard costs of manufactured goods
  • Developing and analyzing cost standards
  • Carrying out cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis, including for small businesses
  • Establishing costs of business processes such as administration, labor, shipping, etc.
  • Performing account reconciliations
  • Preparing audit reports and presenting their findings to management
  • Recommending changes to the company’s processes and policies to reduce cost and maximize profit
  • Advising executives and upper management on appropriate costing based on financial data
  • Managing the company’s balance sheet and accounting books
  • Supporting other company accountants with invoicing and capital expenditure

Cost Accountant Job Description Examples:


Cost Accountant

Position Summary:

Performs a variety of tasks related to budgeting, forecasting and cost tracking of multiple construction projects. When not assigned to a specific job, performs various duties and special projects in the Project Controls Department.

Functions OF THE JOB

Essential Functions

  • Assist project managers with budget development.

  • Assist project managers with chart of accounts for each project.

  • Track job costs from start to completion.

  • Forecast total billing cost for project managers and client.

  • Assure thorough and timely billing of project.

  • Assure contract compliance of project.

  • Provide assistance on resolution of open items with customer.

  • Assure efficient job close-out.

  • Work close with timekeepers, payroll and other project controls employees.

  • Other duties as assigned by project controls manager.

    Physical Activities:

    Ability to sit 4+ hours at a time inputting data using keyboard/monitor.

    Able to walk to printers to obtain reports & checks.

    Reach for, handle, and manipulate objects. Use hands and arms to lift and carry objects weighing up to 20 pounds.

    Climb ladders and stairs of customer facilities.

    Physical Demands:

    Extensive hours required at times. May work up to 14 hour days and on weekends during shut-downs. Potential for night shift work.

    Extensive travel required: 75%-100% per year

    Sit for long periods; walk, verbally communicate, stand, climb, crawl, kneel, lift; drive a vehicle.

    Travel less than 10% by plane or car international and domestic.

    Visual Acuity: Visual activities commonly associated with the performance of the functions of this job.

    See well (either naturally or with correction) and focus clearly on objects at varying distances.

    Environmental/Atmospheric Conditions: Environmental and atmospheric conditions commonly associated with the performance of the functions of this job.

  • inside and outside conditions, including high and low ambient temperatures.

  • hazards of operating at elevated levels.

  • occasionally wearing a respirator or fall protection harness and lanyard.

  • will occasionally be subject to noise levels above 85-dbl and will be required to wear ear protection.

    Position Qualification Requirements


    Highly proficient using keyboard computer entry functions required.

    In-depth understanding of the Viewpoint and Time and Attendance Payroll Database and advanced ability to use their functionality.

    Good proficiency using Microsoft Excel and Word required.

    Associates Degree or equivalent combinations of technical training and/or related experience

    Minimum of 1-3 years of experience in cost accounting.


    Prior work involving cost or accounting functions in construction or business office strongly preferred.

    Prior work experience using a computerized accounting system.

    Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of sometimes stressful situations.

    Machines, Tools, Equipment and Work Aids:

    Computer hardware and software, including: MicroSoft Office (Windows, Excel, Word); cost tracking software (ViewPoint, Construction Imaging); internet use and innovation. Ability to learn other software, if required, with company-provided training.

    Job Types: Full-time, Contract

    Salary: $30.00 to $45.00 /hour


  • cost accounting: 1 year (Required)

  • Refinery: 1 year (Required)


  • High school or equivalent (Required)


  • Twic (Required)

    Required travel:

  • 100% (Required)

    Contract Renewal:

  • Likely

    Work Location:

  • Multiple locations

  • Fully Remote

  • On the road


  • Health insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off


  • Weekends required

  • Day shift

  • Night shift

  • Overtime

  • 12 hour shift

  • Overnight shift


  • ×

    Cost Accountant

    Job Cost Accountant – BAM Contracting, LLC

    Job Description:

    A key member of the accounting staff reporting directly to the Controller. Major focus of responsibilities will be in the construction job costing area, however there will be other accounting functions as well.

    Major Responsibilities:

    Set up Jobs, including phase codes, hours budget, & unbilled costs.

    Clarify and troubleshoot contact items with estimators as needed.

    Set up contracts based on a statement of values, billing info, and other parameters.

    Enter extra tickets. Coordinate with payroll to determine carpenter term/special rates as needed.

    Perform follow-up on change order requests, coordinate resolution of disputed items.

    Send change order requests to general contractors, and also provide change order logs as requested.

    Maintain contracts for change orders received, making adjustments as needed when rejected by GC.

    Process field report changes, print, and distribute new field reports to the superintendents.

    Bill non-AIA jobs, create invoices, and archive. Enter invoice in A/R, clarify & troubleshoot.

    Payroll hours reconciliation and review.

    P&L review, calculation of gross profit, as well as adjustments to unbilled costs.

    Attend review meetings with field managers and management. Make any necessary adjustments.

    P&L finalization. Prepare summary of P&L results. Run period-end report package.

    Roll P&L period, and close period in Job Cost.

    Provide backup for Controller. Assist with special projects as needed.

    Key Requirements:

    Outstanding work ethic, ability to perform under pressure, meet deadlines, ability to prioritize, and deliver multiple tasks on time.

    Good problem-solving skills, intellectual maturity, and ability to adapt to a team approach.

    Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

    Education & Experience:

    Bachelor’s Degree in accounting or related field a plus but not required.

    3 to 5 years job costing experience.

    Sage 300 (Timberline) experience a plus but not required.


    Competitive salary based on experience

    Excellent benefits including health, dental, vison, and disability insurance; ample paid time off; and 401(k) plan with Company contribution

    Opportunity for annual bonus

    Flexible work schedule

    Job Type: Full-time

    Salary: $55,000.00 to $68,000.00 /year


  • cost accounting: 3 years (Preferred)

  • accounting: 3 years (Preferred)

  • accounting/finance: 1 year (Preferred)

    Additional Compensation:

  • Bonuses

    Work Location:

  • One location


  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off

  • Flexible schedule

    This Company Describes Its Culture as:

  • Detail-oriented -- quality and precision-focused

  • Outcome-oriented -- results-focused with strong performance culture

  • Team-oriented -- cooperative and collaborative


  • Monday to Friday

  • Day shift

    Company's website:


    Benefit Conditions:

  • Only full-time employees No
  • ×

    Cost Accountant

    Hydac has been located in Bethlehem, PA since 1975. Due to continued growth and expansion we have an immediate opening in our Finance & Accounting Department at our North American Headquarters in Bethlehem. We are currently seeking a qualified candidate with ERP experience to fill a Cost Accountant/Financial Analyst position.


  • Coordination of cost accounting and reporting activities

  • Develop / maintain cost accounting framework

  • Establish annual labor and overhead rates

  • Review, investigate and explain production variances on a routine basis

  • Provide support for annual physical inventories and cycle counts, and inventory analysis

  • Drive improvements to reach goals and KPI’s

  • Reviews and compares assigned business’ operating profit and loss results to established plans, standard costs, and previous actuals.

  • Ability to perform ad-hoc financial analysis as needed to support business

  • Financial reporting

  • Assist with monthly close process

  • Drive work process improvements

  • Coordination of financial presentations

    Work Experience/Educational Requirements:

  • BA Degree in Accounting / MBA is a plus.

  • 5+ Years of Accounting Experience, with 2+ Years of manufacturing industry experience.

  • Experience with ERP systems.

    Qualifications and Competencies:

  • Strong attention to details, analytical, problem solving, and organizational skills.

  • Ability to multi-task, work as a team member and independently, self-driven, adaptable, and patient.

  • Ability to meet deadlines [website] month-end closing and business plans).

  • Ability to work independently, with minimal supervision.

  • Strong communication/interpersonal skills, reading and writing skills in English, in order to communicate effectively with various levels of management and staff members.

  • Proficiency in MS Office: Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point.

  • Experience with visualization and analytical tools (Qlik, BI).

  • Work with ethics and integrity.

    Positions offer a competitive salary and benefit package. EOE.

    Job Type: Full-time


  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off

  • Tuition Temporarily due to Covid-19
  • What does a Cost Accountant do?

    Cost Accountants are typically employed at consulting firms, accounting agencies or in-house accounting departments at large companies to analyze a company’s expenditures and create reports to advise on improving efficiency and reducing financial waste. They review a company’s financial documents and recommend new accounting procedures that could improve cash flow and make it easier to understand and itemize expense reports. Cost Accountants use financial software to identify inconsistencies and irregularities in operational costs and model the impact of possible budget changes on a company’s financial health. Their role is to improve financial efficiency and give data-driven advice to company leadership.

    Cost Accountant skills and qualifications

    An excellent Cost Accountant should understand the principles of financial accounting and how it can be used to create a budget for a business. To do this, they use a variety of technical and soft skills, including:

    • Advanced knowledge of mathematics and statistics
    • Understanding of organizational accounting concepts
    • Strong financial analysis skills
    • Ability to prepare financial reports and give recommendations based on available data
    • Superior knowledge of financial reporting software tools and ERP software
    • Ability to perform risk and security assessments
    • In-depth knowledge of financial guidelines and regulations
    • Excellent attention to detail
    • Effective communication, including writing, speaking and active listening
    • Collaboration and teamwork

    Cost Accountant salary expectations

    A Cost Accountant makes an average of $67,360 per year. Salary is may depend on level of experience, education and geographical location.

    Cost Accountant education and training requirements

    A Cost Accountant needs a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration or another related field. This degree provides candidates with a good understanding of business accounting, financial management, economics and ethics. Some candidates may also have a master’s degree in management accounting or similar fields and may be qualified for Senior Cost Accountant roles or Cost Accountant positions with specialized or leadership responsibilities.

    Valuable certificates include the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification, which is for candidates who pass the two-part exam and have at least two years of work experience. Some candidates may also be Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).

    Cost Accountant experience requirements

    Entry-level candidates likely have some professional experience from internships and other practical learning opportunities completed during their undergraduate study. Some entry-level candidates may have 1 or 2 years of professional experience as an Accounting Assistant, Assistant Cost Accountant or another accounting role. 

    Candidates with 3 or more years of experience may be suitable for positions that require working with little additional training. Some candidates may also have years of experience as a Cost Accountant and are likely familiar with common and specialized tasks.,

    Job description samples for similar positions

    If you are hiring for another role or one similar to Cost Accountant, you may consider these templates as well:

    Frequently asked questions about Cost Accountants


    What is the difference between a Cost Accountant and a Managerial Accountant?

    Cost Accountants and Managerial Accountants both provide expert consultations on a company’s financial choices, but Cost Accountants focus exclusively on expenses while Managerial Accountants consider all of a company’s operations when planning budgets and making recommendations. Cost Accountants compute overall expenses, project long-term costs and look for ways to spend less money, while Managerial Accountants also address revenue sources and other aspects of a business. Managerial Accountants are often part of the leadership team and use qualitative observations and reports produced by Cost Accountants to make predictions about the direction of a company.


    What are the daily duties of a Cost Accountant?

    On a typical day, Cost Accountants process large amounts of expense information through bookkeeping software, financial documents and industry research. They study the market to produce cost standards for large expenses such as salaries, materials and shipping, then compare actual company expenditures to these standards. Cost Accountants compile information into weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly financial reports and perform cost-benefit analysis on the business’s key expenses. They also conduct valuations on inventory and company assets, monitoring variation in value and cost over time.


    What are the characteristics of a good Cost Accountant?

    Good Cost Accountants are excellent at multi-tasking, paying attention to detail and recognizing patterns in large sets of information. They enjoy working independently and are highly curious, allowing them to perform in-depth analysis and seek out the possible causes of a company’s high costs. Successful Cost Accountants are organized and focused, recording key information and noting what influenced their reports so they can easily pull up source data or correct unbalanced ledgers.


    What should you look for on a Cost Accountant's resume?

    A Cost Accountant’s resume should prominently feature their accounting qualifications, including their education and certifications as a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Analyst or Certified Internal Auditor. Strong candidates for a Cost Accountant role will include data on their resume that explains how their analysis saved their previous employers money or eliminated unnecessary expenses. When reviewing resumes for a Cost Accountant position, look for candidates who have experience in your business’s industry so that you can benefit from their knowledge of standard costs and operational procedures in that field.

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      Last updated: Apr 28, 2021