Breaking Into the Accounting Field: How to Become a Cost Analyst


Breaking Into the Accounting Field: How to Become a Cost Analyst

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a cost analyst in the accounting field? This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to break into this in-demand profession. From the necessary educational requirements to the key skills you’ll need to succeed, we’ll cover everything you need to know to kickstart your career as a cost analyst.

Education and Skills Required

To become a cost analyst, there are several key education and skills that are required in order to succeed in this field.

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or Finance

One of the most important requirements for becoming a cost analyst is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. This provides the foundational knowledge needed to understand the financial aspects of cost analysis and budgeting.

Knowledge of Cost Accounting Principles

In addition to a degree in accounting or finance, it is essential for cost analysts to have a strong understanding of cost accounting principles. This includes knowledge of how to analyze and interpret financial data, as well as an understanding of cost allocation methods and variance analysis.

Strong Analytical Skills

Cost analysts must also possess strong analytical skills in order to effectively evaluate and interpret financial information. This includes the ability to identify trends, patterns, and discrepancies in financial data, as well as the capacity to make data-driven decisions based on their analysis.

Gaining Relevant Experience

When it comes to breaking into the accounting field and becoming a cost analyst, gaining relevant experience is key. There are several ways to gain this experience, including through internships, entry-level accounting positions, and by utilizing software and tools.

Internships in Accounting or Cost Analysis

Internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience in the field of accounting or cost analysis. Many companies offer internships that provide valuable exposure to the day-to-day responsibilities of a cost analyst. These internships can help you build important skills, network with professionals in the field, and potentially lead to a full-time job offer.

Entry-Level Accounting Positions

Another way to gain relevant experience is by starting out in an entry-level accounting position. This could include roles such as accounting assistant, junior accountant, or financial analyst. These positions will help you develop a strong foundation in accounting principles and practices, which will be invaluable as you work towards becoming a cost analyst.

Utilizing Software and Tools

In addition to gaining practical experience through internships and entry-level positions, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the software and tools commonly used in cost analysis. This may include programs such as Excel, QuickBooks, and specialized cost analysis software. By becoming proficient in these tools, you will be better equipped to perform the duties of a cost analyst and stand out to potential employers.

Overall, gaining relevant experience is essential for breaking into the accounting field and becoming a successful cost analyst. By pursuing internships, entry-level positions, and mastering software and tools, you will be well on your way to achieving your career goals.

Obtaining Certifications

When pursuing a career as a Cost Analyst in the accounting field, obtaining relevant certifications can greatly enhance your credibility and expertise. Here are some key certifications to consider:

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification is highly respected in the field of management accounting. This certification demonstrates your proficiency in financial management, strategic planning, and analysis. To become a CMA, you must pass a rigorous exam and meet specific education and experience requirements. Earning a CMA designation can open up new opportunities for career advancement and increase your earning potential as a Cost Analyst.

Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCEA)

Another valuable certification for Cost Analysts is the Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCEA) designation. This certification focuses on cost estimation, analysis, and control techniques. By becoming a CCEA, you can showcase your expertise in accurately forecasting costs, analyzing financial data, and making informed decisions to optimize cost efficiency. Employers often seek candidates with a CCEA certification for roles that require advanced cost analysis skills.

Other Relevant Certifications

In addition to the CMA and CCEA certifications, there are other relevant certifications that can enhance your credentials as a Cost Analyst. Some of these certifications include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Each of these certifications offers unique benefits and can help you stand out in a competitive job market. Consider pursuing multiple certifications to broaden your skill set and increase your professional value as a Cost Analyst.


In conclusion, becoming a cost analyst in the accounting field requires a combination of education, experience, and analytical skills. By following the steps outlined in this article, individuals can set themselves on the path to a successful career as a cost analyst. It is important to continue learning and staying up-to-date on industry trends in order to excel in this role. With dedication and hard work, aspiring cost analysts can achieve their goals and make a valuable contribution to their organization.