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Become A Senior Cost Analyst

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Working As A Senior Cost Analyst

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $99,130

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Cost Analyst Do

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently. 

Duties

Accountants and auditors typically do the following:

  • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

In addition to examining and preparing financial documentation, accountants and auditors must explain their findings. This includes preparing written reports and meeting face-to-face with organization managers and individual clients.

Many accountants and auditors specialize, depending on the particular organization that they work for. Some work for organizations that specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decisionmakers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documentation). Other organizations specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare.

Some workers with a background in accounting and auditing teach in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

The following are examples of types of accountants and auditors:

Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals.

Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns.

Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.

Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.

External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.

Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.

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How To Become A Senior Cost Analyst

Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).  

Education

Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree, either in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

A few universities and colleges offer specialized programs, such as a bachelor’s degree in internal auditing. In some cases, those with associate’s degrees, as well as bookkeepers and accounting clerks who meet the education and experience requirements set by their employers, get junior accounting positions and advance to accountant positions by showing their accounting skills on the job.

Many colleges help students gain practical experience through summer or part-time internships with public accounting or business firms.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many other accountants choose to become a CPA to enhance their job prospects or to gain clients. Many employers will often pay the costs associated with the CPA exam.

CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework to be certified, which is 30 hours more than the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to meet the 150-hour requirement, but a master’s degree is not required.

A few states allow a number of years of public accounting experience to substitute for a college degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates do not have to pass all four parts at once, but most states require that they pass all four parts within 18 months of passing their first part.

Almost all states require CPAs to take continuing education to keep their license.

Certification provides an advantage in the job market because it shows professional competence in a specialized field of accounting and auditing. Accountants and auditors seek certifications from a variety of professional societies. Some of the most common certifications are listed below:

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have worked at least 2 years in management accounting, pass a two-part exam, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct. The exam covers areas such as financial statement analysis, working-capital policy, capital structure, valuation issues, and risk management. 

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have worked for 2 years as internal auditors and have passed a four-part exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass the exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

ISACA offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have 5 years of experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours can be substituted for up to 3 years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security.

For accountants with a CPA, the AICPA offers the option to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications. The ABV requires a written exam, completion of at least six business valuation projects, and 75 hours of continuing education. The CITP requires 1,000 hours of business technology experience and 75 hours of continuing education. Candidates for the PFS also must complete a certain amount of work experience and continuing education, and pass a written exam.

Advancement

Some top executives and financial managers have a background in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.

Beginning public accountants often advance to positions with more responsibility in 1 or 2 years and to senior positions within another few years. Those who excel may become supervisors, managers, or partners; open their own public accounting firm; or transfer to executive positions in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.

Management accountants often start as cost accountants, junior internal auditors, or trainees for other accounting positions. As they rise through the organization, they may advance to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing. Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents.

Public accountants, management accountants, and internal auditors can move from one aspect of accounting and auditing to another. Public accountants often move into management accounting or internal auditing. Management accountants may become internal auditors, and internal auditors may become management accountants. However, it is less common for management accountants or internal auditors to move into public accounting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.  

Communication skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.

Detail oriented. Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.

Math skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.

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Senior Cost Analyst jobs

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Senior Cost Analyst Career Paths

Senior Cost Analyst
Finance Manager Sales Manager Office Manager
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Controller
Corporate Controller
12 Yearsyrs
Cost Accounting Manager Plant Controller Controller
Director Of Operations And Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Controller General Manager Sales Consultant
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Plant Controller Finance Controller Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Controller Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Cost Accounting Manager Accounting Manager Finance Manager
Manager Finance Planning And Analysis
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager Sales Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Manager Finance Planning And Analysis Manager, Finance Analysis Finance Manager
Reporting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accounting Supervisor Accounting Manager Accountant-Contractor
Senior Accountant
6 Yearsyrs
Plant Controller Division Controller Controller
Senior Director Of Finance
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Senior Manager Director Of Information
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Manager Of Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Controller Operations Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager General Manager
Vice President & General Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Accounting Supervisor Senior Finance Analyst Senior Manager
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Product Manager Product Management Director
Vice President, Product Management
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Principal Analyst 3.3 years
Cost Engineer 3.2 years
Cost Controller 3.1 years
Cost Analyst 3.0 years
Analyst 2.4 years
Top Employers Before
Cost Analyst 13.3%
Accountant 4.5%
Controller 3.4%
Consultant 3.1%
Buyer 1.8%
Top Employers After
Controller 8.2%
Consultant 4.7%
Manager 3.2%

Senior Cost Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

58.2%

Female

39.7%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

80.7%

Asian

8.9%

Hispanic or Latino

8.2%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.5%

Portuguese

6.3%

Chinese

6.3%

German

6.3%

Mandarin

6.3%

Hindi

6.3%

Russian

6.3%

Gujarati

6.3%

Ukrainian

3.1%

French

3.1%

Amharic

3.1%

Carrier

3.1%

Hebrew

3.1%

Polish

3.1%
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Senior Cost Analyst Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.1%

George Washington University

7.2%

Auburn University

5.8%

Arizona State University

5.8%

Johns Hopkins University

5.8%

Wayne State University

5.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

5.0%

Webster University

5.0%

Georgia State University

5.0%

George Mason University

5.0%

Indiana Wesleyan University

5.0%

Santa Clara University

4.3%

Regis University

4.3%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.3%

Syracuse University

3.6%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

3.6%

Texas Tech University

3.6%

Oakland University

3.6%

Northeastern University

3.6%
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Majors

Business

36.7%

Accounting

28.3%

Finance

15.7%

Economics

2.4%

Management

2.2%

Project Management

1.8%

Marketing

1.7%

Political Science

1.2%

Operations Management

1.1%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.1%

Education

1.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.9%

Mechanical Engineering

0.9%

Management Science

0.8%

Mathematics

0.8%

Psychology

0.7%

Human Resources Management

0.7%

Supply Chain Management

0.7%

Public Administration

0.7%

Criminal Justice

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.5%

Masters

40.4%

Other

8.2%

Certificate

2.9%

Associate

2.1%

Doctorate

1.3%

License

0.3%

Diploma

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Senior Cost Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Cost Analyst SK E and C USA, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 10, 2015 $102,003 -
$134,820
Senior Cost Financial Analyst Nimble Storage, Inc. San Jose, CA Jan 13, 2015 $100,000
Senior Cost Analyst Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 07, 2012 $94,554
Senior Analyst, Budget & Cost Analytics Engineer's Associates, Inc. Newark, CA Sep 19, 2016 $90,000
Senior Cost Analyst Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 09, 2010 $90,000
Senior Cost Financial Analyst Nimble Storage, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 04, 2013 $85,000 -
$105,000
Senior Analyst Global Cost Estimating American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. Detroit, MI Apr 17, 2015 $82,500
Senior Cost Estimating Analyst American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. Detroit, MI May 03, 2014 $77,149
Senior Analyst, Costing Analytics The Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 04, 2013 $75,000 -
$90,000
Senior Analyst, Costing Analytics The Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 08, 2012 $75,000 -
$90,000
Senior Cost Analyst Sampco, Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2012 $60,258 -
$63,000
Senior Cost Analyst App Pharmaceuticals, LLC Schaumburg, IL Oct 01, 2011 $59,883 -
$90,915

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Top Skills for A Senior Cost Analyst

FinancialAnalysisVarianceAnalysisCostAnalysisProductLineExternalAuditorsMonthlyJournalEntriesGeneralLedgerAnnualPhysicalInventoryProposalCostEstimatesAnnualBudgetProjectManagementEvmsActivityA/PBaselineBalanceSheetCostReductionCostSavingsBusinessUnit

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Top Senior Cost Analyst Skills

  1. Financial Analysis
  2. Variance Analysis
  3. Cost Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained operations budget and forecast records, financial metrics and performed financial analysis of actual results versus forecasts and budgets.
  • Created daily and monthly Cost and Variance analysis for the Owners and Management Team.
  • Assist with Cost Analysis for Foreign Excess Personnel Property transferred to Afghan Government.
  • Analyze Daily Settlement Orders for all US plants for 6 product lines and 8 services categories.
  • Led successful surveillance audits of performance measurement processes and controls with internal and external auditors.

Top Senior Cost Analyst Employers

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