Cost Accountant

Calculate a company's expenses and profits.
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Quick Stats

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Salary Range
$39,000 – $107,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Cost Accountants do?

Cost Accountants crunch numbers just like any regular Accountant, but their work has nothing to do with taxes. Instead, a Cost Accountant’s numbers show members of the company the cost of doing business, and are used to help make internal business decisions. These decisions include how many employees to hire or how much production to count on for the upcoming year.

As a Cost Accountant, you take all of your company’s costs, then find ways to counterbalance them with profits. For example, you add up the rent of the office building, the salaries, and the cost to buy or maintain machinery. Then you look at how much the company charges for the product it produces, and then figure out how many units have to be made each year in order for the company to make money. You can imagine it like a big teeter-totter—the more costs there are on one side, the more profits there should be on the other.

Though it might sound like basic math (more here, less there), it’s actually more complicated. There are a number of things you have to keep in mind, like the overall cost of decline in the machines (since after all, the longer they’re used, the less productive they are), the market outlook, and any emergencies. The information you find is used to make changes to a plant or workforce, and helps in the creation of production plans.

Should I be a Cost Accountant?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.

  • Also known as: Accounting Consultant, Accounting Methods Analyst, Accounting Systems Analyst, Corporate Accountant See More

    How to become a Cost Accountant

    Most Cost Accountants have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:add9ec&chl=|certificate+%284%25%29|associate%27s+%285%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2882%25%29|master%27s+%286%25%29|doctorate+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,82
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