Career as a Cost Accountant
About Cost Accountant
Cost accountants are responsible for the collection, adjustment, auditing and scrutinizing of all financial information. The purpose of cost accounting is for budget preparation and profitability analysis. They collate the numbers which includes data about planning systems, wages, bonuses and operating policies into financial reports. The purpose of this is to help the management take decisions on the basis of this information.
They require strong technical skills as cost accountants spend a lot of time analyzing data so they need to have some experience with the latest software. They also need to have strong analytical skills and interest in finance.
Apart from this, a few other responsibilities of a cost accountant include:
- Analysing the sales trends
- Preparing cost reports
- Advising and suggesting ways to economise by evaluating the costs and implications of different production methods
Eligibility to become Cost Accountant
The aspirants need to complete Cost and Accountancy (CWA) course from the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWA). There are three stages of this course. Those who have passed 10+2 are eligible to apply for the foundation course, which has a duration of eight months, and the age limit for this is 17 years.
Upon completion of this stage, one can apply for the second stage which is the intermediate level. For this level, one should have completed education in 10+2+3 from any recognized institute, and the candidate should not be less than 18 years. Duration of this intermediate level is ten months. Those who are able to clear all the eight papers in this course can then apply for the final stage. The duration of the intermediate level is eighteen months. Post this, one can become a certified cost accountant.
Basic Eligibility Criteria
10+2 or its equivalent is needed to apply for the ICWA course.
Types of Job Roles Cost Accountant
There is a lot of demand for Cost Accountants in the government sector, banking, finance, private sector, education, research and training sectors and also in public utility and service sector. Cost Accountants can work as:
Cost Controllers-A cost controller is responsible for tracking and analyzing the costs related to a project, such as large-scale construction projects. Cost controller is responsible for forecasting the expenses, planning budgets and verifying the invoices.
Chief Auditor-A chief auditor is involved in reviewing the accounts of companies and ensuring the validity of their financial records. He also prepares reports and other financial statements.
Chief Internal Auditor-Chief Internal Auditor is responsible for monitoring the operation of the internal audit system and verifying the reliability of the information systems.
Financial Consultant-Financial consultants work with their clients and help them with financial plans and also offer advice regarding taxes, investments, and insurance.
Chief Accountant-Chief accountants play an important role in handling all financial transactions for a company. Their job entails handling tax-related duties, maintaining the budget, collecting and paying bills etc.
Financial Controller-A financial controller is the head of accounting and is responsible for overseeing the preparation of financial reports. His other duties include monitoring internal controls and conducting compliance audits, budgeting process and analyzing financial data.
Employment Opportunities for Cost Accountants
Cost Accountants are in great demands in the following:
- Topmost business firms
- Banking and financial sector
- Research and Training
- Government bodies
Top Recruiting Companies for Cost Accountants
Some companies where Cost Accountants can seek employment are as follows:
- Bain & Company
- AT Kearney
- Boston Consulting Group
Pay Scale/Salary of Cost Accountant
A Cost Accountant with less than 5 years of experience can earn an average salary of roughly Rs. 411,000, the one who is a mid-career employee can expect roughly around Rs. 606,000. And an experienced Cost Accountant can get approx. Rs. 962,000.
Note: The above figures are an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company
Books & Study Material to Become Cost Accountant
There are a number of books and study material that can help you prepare for a career in cost accountancy. Some of them are listed below:
- Students Guide to Accounting Standards (CA/ICWA Final Examinations) by D.S. Rawat
- Accounts Study Material, Law and Audit by N.D. Kapoor
- Cost and Management Accounting (for All India) by S.P Jain and K.L. Narang
- Advanced Cost and Management Accounting-Problems and Solutions by V.K Saxena and C.D. Vashist
- Advanced Management Accounting (Cost Management and Operations Research) by Dr. J.B. Gupta
- Scanner ICWA Stage I by Dr. Arun Kumar
Pros of becoming a Cost Accountant
Like every other profession, this one also comes with its own set of pros and cons. You can have a look at both and evaluate if this is the right field for you or not. If the pros outweigh the cons then maybe you can look forward to a career as a Cost Accountant.
Listed below are some pros of this job:
Stable and growing field
The prospects in this field are expected to grow in the years to come. As long as people require help with taxes and their businesses, there is going to be a need for accountants.
There is great potential for growth when it comes to choosing a career path as a cost accountant. After establishing yourself in this field, there is an easy career advancement.
The remuneration and perks are great. You will get a good amount which will enable you to cover your expenses and have a comfortable lifestyle
Cons of becoming a Cost Accountant
Slow and dull
It isn’t a glamorous field as such. The day-to-day work will require a lot of math and dealing with numbers which may seem boring after a certain point.
It is going to be stressful at times because you’ll be in charge of an organisation’s finance so there is bound to be some pressure. However, if you are someone who can stay cool and calm under pressure, it won’t be tough for you.
There are bound to be long hours especially if you are trying to climb the career ladder. During the busy time of the financial year, days can be pretty hectic.