job cost accountant

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So what is the job cost accountant?

This is another article in the series on jobs you can do with an Accounting  qualification. If you enjoy working in a large manufacturing environment then ideally you will be suited to a role in cost accounting.

Unlike financial accounting, cost accounting is essentially looking forwards rather than reporting on past events. You will be working closely with the management accountant, looking for ways to help your employer save money, increase income and reduce costs. You will be closely involved in the planning, decision making and control aspect of the business. It could mean small changes like obtaining better discounts from suppliers or large changes like reducing the amount of labour or material used in manufacturing.

Large manufacturing companies may have a team of cost clerks and cost accountants working under the supervision of the management accountant. So you will need to like working as part of a team. Many cost accountants become specialised in a certain industry such as bio- tech, energy, automobile or agriculture and become self-employed consultants.

Job cost accountant: so what will I be doing?

The main part of your job will be looking forward and estimating future costs and designing ways in which these costs can be controlled and reduced. This will mean being involved in the budgeting process of the company, and making sure that current spending is in line with budget and producing reports highlighting any differences between the budgeted figures and the actual. This will mean that you will have a global view of the company working with sales, administration, stores as well as manufacturing.

job cost accountant: ok I’m interested so tell me more?

The job is office based and you will spend a lot of time on the computer dealing with analytical spreadsheets and databases. You will need excellent analytical skills and enjoy writing reports. The job tends to be 9 to 5 Monday to Friday although you will be expected to work longer hours at financial year ends. An interest or a background in engineering would be useful or a willingness to learn the basic of the manufacturing process. As stated earlier if you specialise in a certain industry such as aerospace, biotechnology or pharmaceuticals you can then work as a consultant reporting to very senior management. Other fields to specialise in would be risk management, internal audit or general management.

job cost accountant: ok so what’s the money like?

Qualified cost accountants can earn between £22000 and £27000. However with three years experience you should be able to command a salary of £30000 plus

Promotion would take you to Management Accountant with salaries of £60,000 to £100,000 plus.

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