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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

  • $67,000

    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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Average Length of Employment
Staff Analyst 3.8 years
Cost Accountant 3.7 years
Budget Analyst 3.5 years
Cost Engineer 3.3 years
Control Analyst 3.0 years
Cost Analyst 3.0 years
Cost Controller 3.0 years
Finance Analyst 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Cost Analyst
Accountant 10.2%
Internship 5.3%
Controller 3.4%
Analyst 2.9%
Top Careers After Cost Analyst
Controller 8.4%
Accountant 5.2%
Consultant 3.6%
Manager 2.9%

Do you work as a Cost Analyst?

Cost Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

48.5%

Female

42.4%

Unknown

9.1%
Ethnicity

White

59.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

9.7%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.1%

French

7.8%

German

6.0%

Portuguese

5.5%

Italian

4.6%

Chinese

4.6%

Mandarin

3.7%

Russian

3.7%

Hindi

2.8%

Japanese

2.3%

Korean

1.8%

Gujarati

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Thai

0.9%

Serbian

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Turkish

0.5%

Romanian

0.5%

Azerbaijani

0.5%
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Cost Analyst Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.4%

University of Houston

9.7%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

Arizona State University

5.3%

Purdue University

5.3%

Wayne State University

5.1%

Webster University

4.9%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

University of Maryland - University College

3.7%

San Jose State University

3.7%

Strayer University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.6%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.4%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.4%

University of Toledo

3.1%

George Washington University

3.1%

George Mason University

3.1%

Georgia State University

2.9%

University of Texas at Austin

2.9%

Davenport University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

36.6%

Accounting

25.8%

Finance

15.4%

Management

3.9%

Economics

3.1%

Project Management

1.9%

Marketing

1.8%

Industrial Engineering

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%

Education

1.0%

Computer Information Systems

1.0%

Supply Chain Management

0.9%

Mechanical Engineering

0.9%

Computer Science

0.8%

Health Care Administration

0.8%

Business Economics

0.7%

Political Science

0.7%

Human Resources Management

0.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.7%

International Business

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.0%

Masters

31.6%

Other

10.6%

Associate

5.4%

Certificate

3.0%

Doctorate

0.8%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$67,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$67,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Exxon Mobil
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Cost Analyst make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Cost Analyst in the United States is $67,539 per year or $32 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $95,000.

Real Cost Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Job Cost Analyst S&E Bridge and Scaffold, LLC Carlstadt, NJ Sep 01, 2015 $130,000
Job Cost Analyst Horsepower Electric and Maintenance Corp. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $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
Material Cost Analyst Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC Elyria, OH Jan 05, 2015 $75,000
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 Wellmax USA Corporation Chicago, IL Sep 21, 2016 $44,179
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 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

  1. Financial Statements
  2. Cost Savings
  3. Variance Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and maintained financial statements and proposals using ProPricer custom reports while consistently maintaining high profit margins on all projects.
  • Conducted internal cost analysis against outside vendor prices to identify cost savings and margin improvement opportunities.
  • Created interactive financial model to track division cost center departmental detail, enhancing variance analysis for improved cost control.
  • Assisted project management and accounting departments during proposal preparation using historical financial data.
  • Performed monthly capitalization on fixed assets, general ledger reconciliations and percent complete reporting utilizing corporate project management control system.

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Top 10 Best States for Cost Analysts

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Virginia
  3. Maryland
  4. Michigan
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New York
  7. Florida
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Connecticut
  10. Ohio
  • (308 jobs)
  • (882 jobs)
  • (481 jobs)
  • (324 jobs)
  • (492 jobs)
  • (755 jobs)
  • (641 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (184 jobs)
  • (399 jobs)

Top Cost Analyst Employers

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