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Become A Cost Analyst

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Working As A Cost Analyst

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Processing Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $54,001

    Average Salary

What Does A Cost Analyst Do

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending.

Duties

Budget analysts typically do the following:

  • Work with program and project managers to develop the organization's budget
  • Review managers' budget proposals for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations
  • Combine all the program and department budgets together into a consolidated organizational budget and review all funding requests for merit
  • Explain their recommendations for funding requests to others in the organization, legislators, and the public
  • Help the chief operations officer, agency head, or other top managers analyze proposed plans and find alternatives if the projected results are unsatisfactory
  • Monitor organizational spending to ensure that it is within budget
  • Inform program managers of the status and availability of funds
  • Estimate future financial needs

Budget analysts advise various institutions—including governments, universities, and businesses—on how to organize their finances. They prepare annual and special reports and evaluate budget proposals. They analyze data to determine the costs and benefits of various programs and recommend funding levels based on their findings. Although elected officials (in government) or top executives (in a private company) usually make the final decision on an organization's budget, they rely on the work of budget analysts to prepare the information for that decision.

Sometimes, budget analysts use cost-benefit analyses to review financial requests, assess program tradeoffs, and explore alternative funding methods. Budget analysts also may examine past budgets and research economic and financial developments that affect the organization's income and expenditures. Budget analysts may recommend program spending cuts or redistributing extra funds.

Throughout the year, budget analysts oversee spending to ensure compliance with the budget and determine whether changes to funding levels are needed for certain programs. Analysts also evaluate programs to determine whether they are producing the desired results.

In addition to providing technical analysis, budget analysts must effectively communicate their recommendations to officials within the organization. For example, if there is a difference between the approved budget and actual spending, budget analysts may write a report explaining the variations and recommend changes to reconcile the differences.

Budget analysts working in government attend committee hearings to explain their recommendations to legislators. Occasionally, budget analysts may evaluate how well a program is doing, provide policy analysis, and draft budget-related legislation.

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How To Become A Cost Analyst

A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a budget analyst, although some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

Education

Employers generally require budget analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree. However, some employers may require candidates to have a master’s degree. Because developing a budget requires strong numerical and analytical skills, courses in statistics or accounting are helpful. Federal, state, and local governments have varying requirements, but usually require a bachelor's degree in one of many areas, such as accounting, finance, business, public administration, economics, statistics, political science, or sociology.

Sometimes, budget-related or finance-related work experience can be substituted for formal education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Government budget analysts may earn the Certified Government Financial Manager credential from the Association of Government Accountants. To earn this certification, candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, 24 credit hours of study in financial management, 2 years of professional-level experience in governmental financial management, and they must pass a series of exams. To keep the certification, budget analysts must take 80 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Advancement

Entry-level budget analysts begin with limited responsibilities, but advancement is common. As analysts gain experience, they have the opportunity to advance to intermediate and senior budget analyst positions.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Budget analysts must be able to process a variety of information, evaluate costs and benefits, and solve complex problems.

Communication skills. Budget analysts need strong communication skills because they often have to explain and defend their analyses and recommendations in meetings and legislative committee hearings.

Detail oriented. Creating an efficient budget requires careful analysis of each budget item.

Math skills. Most budget analysts need math skills and should be able to use certain software, including spreadsheets, database functions, and financial analysis programs.

Writing skills. Budget analysts must present technical information in writing that is understandable for the intended audience.

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Cost Analyst jobs

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Cost Analyst Career Paths

Cost Analyst
Controller Chief Finance Officer
Chief Finance And Operating Officer
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Controller
Corporate Controller
12 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Business Manager Controller
Director Of Accounting & Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Manager Internal Auditor
Division Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Cost Accountant Senior Accountant Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Plant Controller Finance Controller Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Business Manager Controller
Finance Vice President
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Finance Manager Sales Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Cost Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Manager Finance Planning And Analysis
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Manager, Finance Analysis
8 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Manager/Finance Accounting
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager Sales Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Accounting Manager
Plant Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Assistant Controller Controller
Regional Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Cost Accountant Accounting Manager
Reporting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Finance Director
Senior Director Of Finance
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Finance Analyst Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Controller General Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Budget Analyst 3.4 years
Cost Accountant 3.4 years
Cost Engineer 3.2 years
Cost Controller 3.1 years
Cost Analyst 3.0 years
Finance Analyst 2.8 years
Analyst 2.4 years
Top Employers Before
Accountant 9.9%
Internship 4.5%
Controller 3.7%
Analyst 2.9%
Manager 2.4%
Top Employers After
Controller 8.2%
Accountant 4.9%
Consultant 3.9%
Manager 2.6%

Cost Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

51.2%

Female

45.9%

Unknown

2.9%
Ethnicity

White

77.6%

Asian

9.8%

Hispanic or Latino

9.8%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.3%

French

7.8%

Portuguese

6.6%

German

4.8%

Hindi

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Italian

3.0%

Korean

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Japanese

2.4%

Gujarati

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Cantonese

1.2%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Romanian

0.6%

Khmer

0.6%

Hungarian

0.6%

Marathi

0.6%

Thai

0.6%
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Cost Analyst Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.8%

University of Houston

8.4%

Webster University

6.3%

Arizona State University

5.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

4.8%

Michigan State University

4.2%

University of Maryland - University College

4.2%

Youngstown State University

4.2%

Wayne State University

3.9%

Purdue University

3.9%

George Washington University

3.6%

University of Texas at Austin

3.6%

Northeastern University

3.6%

Iowa State University

3.3%

Johns Hopkins University

3.3%

University of Alabama

3.0%

San Jose State University

3.0%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.0%

Texas A&M University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

36.3%

Accounting

25.7%

Finance

14.5%

Management

4.0%

Economics

2.9%

Project Management

2.2%

Marketing

1.9%

Mathematics

1.6%

Industrial Engineering

1.3%

Computer Information Systems

1.1%

Education

1.1%

Mechanical Engineering

0.9%

Supply Chain Management

0.9%

Human Resources Management

0.9%

Computer Science

0.9%

Business Economics

0.8%

Liberal Arts

0.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.7%

Criminal Justice

0.7%

Operations Management

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.1%

Masters

32.1%

Other

11.7%

Associate

5.1%

Certificate

2.8%

Doctorate

0.8%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Cost Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Job Cost Analyst Horsepower Electric and Maintenance Corp. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $130,000
Job Cost Analyst S&E Bridge and Scaffold, LLC Carlstadt, NJ Sep 01, 2015 $130,000
Job Cost Analyst Swing Staging, LLC Islandia, NY Sep 01, 2015 $130,000
Analyst Cost and Planning Occidental Petroleum Corporation Houston, TX Jun 01, 2015 $114,400
Manufacturing Cost Analyst VFT, Inc. Montebello, CA Sep 13, 2016 $99,133
Accounting/Cost Analyst Multi Global Corp. Pembroke Pines, FL Dec 28, 2016 $86,341
Cost Analyst 4 Shaw Services, LLC Charlotte, NC Mar 02, 2016 $83,000 -
$115,000
Cost Analyst 4 Stone & Webster Services, LLC Charlotte, NC Oct 06, 2015 $83,000 -
$115,000
Construction Scheduling/Cost Analyst Swinerton Incorporated San Francisco, CA Jul 15, 2015 $82,500
Cost Analyst Turner Construction Reston, VA Jan 10, 2016 $80,000
Cost Analyst Monsanto Company Saint Louis, MO Sep 08, 2016 $76,773
Production Cost Analyst D & H Ladies Apparel LLC NY Feb 11, 2016 $76,066
Budget and Cost Analyst LW Consolidated Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 18, 2015 $75,795
Cost Analyst URS Energy & Construction Inc. Houston, TX May 19, 2016 $75,000 -
$95,000
Cost Analyst Clothing Emporium Inc. Saddle Brook, NJ Sep 15, 2016 $54,951
Cost Analyst Victoria Cruises, Inc. NY Sep 01, 2015 $54,262
Budget/Cost Analyst Dc Group, Inc. Islandia, NY Sep 05, 2015 $54,158
Cost Analyst Jc Horizon Ltd Ontario, CA Sep 11, 2016 $53,768
Cost Analyst WSM Investment LLC Simi Valley, CA Dec 19, 2016 $53,664
FAB Cost Analyst Im Flash Technologies, LLC Lehi, UT Aug 22, 2016 $53,200
Cost Analyst Wellmax USA Corporation DBA Starlux Corp. Chicago, IL Jul 23, 2015 $52,666
Cost Analyst 2 Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. Herndon, VA Aug 07, 2015 $52,379 -
$86,357
Material/Project Cost Analyst SMS Infocomm Corporation Grapevine, TX Sep 13, 2016 $44,724
Cost Analyst Athena Design Group Chicago, IL Sep 24, 2015 $44,179
Cost Analyst Midtown Home Improvement, Inc. OFallon, MO Sep 01, 2015 $44,179
Cost Analyst Wellmax USA Corporation Chicago, IL Sep 21, 2016 $44,179
Cost Analyst Everlight Americas, Inc. Carrollton, TX Sep 05, 2015 $44,161
Cost Analyst S&S International LLC Houston, TX Sep 18, 2016 $44,000
Cost Analyst Top Hay, LLC Compton, CA Sep 18, 2016 $44,000

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Top Skills for A Cost Analyst

FinancialAnalysisCostAnalysisVarianceAnalysisAuditPurchaseJournalEntriesCostProposalsGeneralLedgerCostEstimatesProjectCostRawMaterialsCostReportsAnnualPhysicalInventoryCostSavingsCostDataPayrollProductCostAnnualBudgetActivityERP

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Top Cost Analyst Skills

  1. Financial Analysis
  2. Cost Analysis
  3. Variance Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted meetings with operations manager and provided office financial analysis on a weekly basis.
  • Cost analysis of special projects and reports for information to managers which increased productivity and saved costs.
  • Perform weekly and quarterly manufacturing variance analysis to identify, investigate and explain drivers of significant variances.
  • Audited and analyzed daily manufacturing cost transaction variances.
  • Managed the development of contract management system to help streamline the costing process and add purchase order to the system.

Top Cost Analyst Employers

Cost Analyst Videos

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