A cost controller's main duty is to track and control the costs associated with one or more of their employer's projects. On a day-to-day basis, they are responsible for tasks such as compiling monthly cost forecasts, tracking employee hours invested on a project, and verifying invoices issued by suppliers. They sometimes works as part of a larger team and sometimes operates alone.
While a cost controller's work is largely mental in nature, there may be certain elements that are physically demanding. Depending on the firm, the cost controller may need to travel to make site visits or even perform more difficult physical tasks such as getting on and off of boats, if the projects they're overseeing are related to offshore oil drilling. Most cost controllers work first-shift (daytime) hours and report to managers and directors who work those same shifts.
Cost controllers generally have some level of financial education, as well as degrees and/or experience in the industry most relevant to their company. For example, for a company which regularly completes large-scale construction projects, the cost controller may hold a bachelor's degree or higher in engineering or architecture; however, they might instead have a bachelor's degree or higher in business and several years' experience with budgeting similar large-scale construction projects. Employers may also require certain software verifications, or at least demonstrated proficiencies; the most common are Microsoft products and SAP software solutions. Communications skills are also key for this position, as cost controllers must communicate effectively with both upper management and subordinates
Cost Controller Tasks
Develop processes to automate data collection and to reduce expenses.
Generate cost reports, recommendations, and analysis of invoices.
Track and analyze cost activities, forecasting and budgeting to inform leadership.