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By Nsim Team
A career as a cost analyst could be a great fit for you if you’re interested in helping a company become or stay profitable by digging into their expenditure information to sniff out inefficiencies.
This career field can offer very good pay, a chance to put your skills in accounting, financial data analysis and market research into practice, as well plenty of room for career advancement.
Who is a Cost Analyst?
Cost analysts research and evaluate costs for a company’s various departments and projects. They must provide senior management with recommendations concerning expenditure management.
Basically, you would have to dig into your organization’s financial information and figure out where money is being allocated, and try to find inefficiencies. You take into account not only how your company is doing, but also how the entire market for that particular product or service is doing.
You might also be responsible for digging into competitors’ cost information, and weighing it against market research, as well as your company’s own cost information, in order to gain a competitive advantage over them.
You would then communicate all of this information to other departmental managers, project managers, or executive management, so they can use that information to drive down costs, without making sacrifices to quality.
Education Needed to Become a Cost Analyst
There isn’t one set degree path for becoming a cost analyst; it is up to the discretion of the employer. Most employers however, prefer that you have a degree with strong financial and business components to it, such as a degree in accounting, finance or business administration.
There are exceptions to this however, as many employers will consider you if you have a degree that is relevant to their field of operation. Some may even prefer it.
For example, construction companies may hire you if you have an undergraduate degree in construction management or building science, while manufacturing companies may prefer that you have a degree in mathematics, statistics or engineering.
Skills and Traits Needed to Succeed
In order to be hired as a cost analyst, and succeed when you get there, you need to be able to demonstrate a certain set of skills and traits, including:
• Able to work with cost data mining and analysis software
• Advanced skills in financial data analysis
• Advanced Excel skills (Building excel models, Pivot tables, V-look up, and Macros)
• Knowledge of SAP or an ERP environment is an asset
• Display commercial acumen and have a customer centric attitude
• An interest in data analysis
• Enjoy working with numbers and statistics
• An interest in lifelong learning and career development
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Detail oriented, diplomatic team player with a proactive results orientation
• Able to work with minimal supervision
• Previous work experience in same industry
• Demonstrable high-end analytical and numeric skills
Who Employs Cost Analysts?
As a cost analyst, you could be employed on a full-time basis by any organization that needs a dedicated specialist to research and evaluate costs for their various departments and projects.
Organizations that have such needs can be found in virtually every sector of private industry, as well as in government and the non-profit sector. These organizations may range in size from small companies, to federal government agencies, to multi-billion dollar corporations.