Cost analysts are responsible for analyzing and controlling a company's expenses. Their main tasks include developing standard costs, determining product costs, creating a budget, and analyzing differences in company costs and standard costs. They are also in charge of preparing statements and reports, sharing information with colleagues as needed, supervising audit files, attending meetings and projects requiring financial input, and training certain managers in cost management. Cost analysts should be familiar with accounting and cost-management software, as well as basic computer software such as the Microsoft Office suite. They should have a good understanding of database principles and should be able to communicate well orally and in writing. Some good skills for cost analysts to have include the ability to work in a team as well as alone, organization, resourcefulness, the ability to manage priorities and deadlines, and the ability to solve problems. Cost analysts usually work alone, but they also work with supervisors to explain financial issues and provide other coworkers with any needed training.
Cost analyst positions generally require at least a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field. Designation as a certified public accountant (CPA) and relevant work experience may be required or preferred as well. Cost analysts generally work full time in an office setting, although employees' hours may vary depending on the needs of the employer; overtime may also be required occasionally. This position generally includes minimal travel.
Cost Analyst Tasks
Perform cost-benefit analyses, and recommend process improvements and unit changes to reduce costs.
Maintain pricing and inventory system data quality.
Analyze actual compared to standard costs for ongoing expenses, and identify opportunities and risks.
Assist in developing annual operations plan and estimating new product costs, including economic analysis.