Cost Accountant Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Cost Accountant, or Financial Auditor, analyzes the financial records of individuals or companies to verify they are compliant with accounting standards set by federal and provincial governments. Their main duties are tracking expenditures, verifying tax returns, and preparing audit reports to share their findings with the client and the government.


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Cost Accountant duties and responsibilities

A Cost Accountant plays a key role in ensuring their clients are not in breach of Canadian tax laws. Some of the common tasks a Cost Accountant should be able to perform daily include:

  • Analyze ledger entries
  • Verify expense reports and supporting receipts or other documentation
  • Verify and analyze bank statements
  • Prepare income tax returns
  • Examine past income tax returns should discrepancies arise
  • Create reports documenting audit findings
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Implement new financial tracking procedures


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Cost Accountant Job Description Examples:


Example 1

As a leading hydrogen fuel cell developer and manufacturer, Loop Energy is helping build a zero-emissions world. Commercial vehicle manufacturers are turning to Loop Energy for our industry-leading hydrogen fuel cell solutions, featuring our proprietary eFlow™ technology, which delivers compellingly better fuel efficiency and significantly reduces the total cost of vehicle ownership of commercial vehicles. For more information about us, visit [website] We are actively searching for a Cost Analyst - Staff/Senior to join our finance team. Reporting to our Financial Controller, the successful candidate will be responsible for analyzing production costs, performing life cycle cost benefits analysis, preparing cost of goods sold, production reports and budget to actual analysis. Consider applying if you are exceptional with cost analysis, with the ability to communicate effectively and enjoy interacting with different departments across the company. Depending on the experience and competency of the successful candidate, the role is positioned at staff or senior level. Loop’s nature as a rapidly growing green-energy company will also require the successful candidate to demonstrate a strong entrepreneurial spirit to help foster a dynamic and innovative work environment. The successful candidate will be responsible for: Analyzing production costs and recommending changes Overseeing annual physical inventory Analyzing manufacturing operations, equipment availability and utilization Performing month-end cost accounting close Maintaining cost accounting system and cost ledger Performing life cycle cost-benefit analysis Analyzing inventory valuations Monitoring unit cost variance Implementing cost standards for materials and labor Preparing cost of goods sold and production reports Reconciling beginning raw materials, work-in-progress and finished-goods inventory Preparing all journal entries at month and quarter end Defining various product and operational costs Developing depreciation schedules Budget to actual analysis at quarter end Adhoc accounting finance projects Position Requirements: 3-5+ years’ experience as a cost or similar role (progressively) A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance or in similar area CPA designated or equivalent Worked at a manufacturing company Strong technology expertise, including proficiency with Microsoft Excel and experience resource planning (ERP) systems Solid organizational, communication, problem-solving and research abilities Experience in working at a Company with international sites is considered as an asset Experience with Infor ERP is considered as an asset What Loop Energy Has to Offer: Competitive base salary and comprehensive company-paid health and dental benefits Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) Opportunities for career advancement We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those candidates eligible to work full-time in Canada will be reviewed and only qualified candidates will be contacted.

Example 2

Baker Tilly Victoria is seeking an analytical and forward-thinking Cost Accountant for our valued client, Jade Fine Foods/Arbutus Farms and Procurement Solutions International. Located in Victoria, BC, Jade Fine Foods/Arbutus Farms is the collaboration of two “Food Freaks” with long tenure in both the Retail Grocery and Commercial Food Service industries. Jade Fine Foods/Arbutus Farms manufactures and delivers exceptional food solutions that seamlessly bridge leading edge food service systems into the retail environment. As respected brokers with solid relationships with both Independent Retail & Food Service and Major Retail Chains, they service grocery stores nationally. Procurement Solutions International (PSI), located in Duncan, BC, is a manufacturer/distributor that brings great tasting fruit and vegetables that exceed environmental and ethical standards to retail customers. When it comes to globally sourcing healthy, safe, fresh produce, clients can always depend on PSI to find the products they want. The ideal candidate to join this growing team is a junior to mid-level problem-solver who is eager to introduce efficiencies and help the team develop strong cost structures and processes. Confident to bring fresh ideas for systems improvement and efficiencies, the chosen candidate will provide strategic manufacturing solutions and cost-related recommendations to help the organization maximize its potential and profit. Task and Developing cost standards for food related materials and labour Monitoring unit cost variances Designing and implementing cost accounting systems and processes Recommend and implement ERP system Analyzing manufacturing operations, equipment, and utilization Evaluating production costs and recommending changes Overseeing inventory Cost-benefit analysis Creating depreciation schedules Works closely with the VP Finance to help guide strategic planning and manufacturing, and make recommendations to support organizational goals to maximize profitability Organize and oversee all cost accounting operational functions Cost of goods sold and production reporting; Other regulatory and ad-hoc reporting as required Skills/Area of Expertise: Strong technology expertise with Sage 300, MS Office Suite Understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles Experience with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems Experienced in costing Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Accounting, Finance, or related discipline CPA designation; Open to non-designated if candidate has right mix of education and experience 3-5 years of relevant experience Manufacturing and distribution experience, preferably in the grocery/food industry Advanced analytical skills, highly organized & Strategic thinker; Offers suggestions for improvements Ability to work under pressure with tight deadlines Flexible and resourceful Location: Duncan, BC Jade Fine Foods/Arbutus Farms/ Procurement Solutions International offers competitive wages, extended health benefits, and a professional and friendly working environment. We have long-standing ties in the local community, a passion for great food, and a team committed to win-win solutions and success. If this sounds like it would be the job for you, then the team wants to hear from you! Applications accepted until end of day July 7th, [phone number]We thank everyone who is interested; however, only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

Example 3

Sr. Cost Accountant - WD[phone number]4 What you will do As the Cost Accountant you will work with the Plant Controller and Assistant Plant Controller to oversee the monthly close process, prepare required journal entries, financial reports and analysis. You will also take ownership of all inventory and COGS accounts, including reserves and allowances. You will be responsible for maintenance and accuracy of BOMs, standard costing, and reconciliation of variances and accounts. How you will do it Sets and maintains all standard costs on an accurate and timely basis Help Plant Controller to develops all labor and overhead rates for the standard cost cycle Analyze and reports manufacturing and usage variances (COGI – Shrink). Work with procurement department to maintains a monthly Purchase Price Variance (PPV) report and establishes a capitalized PPV variance to be booked monthly Calculates obsolete, excess and slow moving inventory reserves and all related reporting and present them for the Controller review and approval (SLOB) Provides audit oversight from a finance perspective on cycle count and WIP validation systems. Ensure compliance with GAAP and all Company financial policies/procedures Assist with requests to support Sarbanes-Oxley compliance to ensure internal controls are functioning properly Provide support for external/internal audit requests as required Assist in the preparation of monthly forecasts annual budgets, and annual strategic plans Provide support in the calculation of annual standard product costs. Review and analyze inventory movements and ensure inventory transactions are recorded timely and accurately Assist in the coordination of annual physical inventories. Explains book to physical differences and establishes procedures to eliminate inventory variances (Plant Accounting Manager). Help to ensure adherence to Corporate and Divisional control procedures, SOX compliance and reporting requirements for all plants. Prepare and provide information as required to support ad-hoc reporting. Qualifications What we look for Bachelors or higher education in finance or accounting. 5-10 years progressive experience in costing and accounting in a manufacturing environment CPA Accounting Designation an asset Experience with SAP and Hyperion. Advanced Excel skills – should be extremely proficient with troubleshooting and creating complex formulas and spreadsheets to meet finance needs. Candidate must be able to multi-task and prioritize needs. Must have excellent communication skills – may be asked to assist in formal presentation settings. SOX and/or Compliance knowledge Ability to manage tight deadlines, organize and prioritize work independently Proven analytical skills with attention to details and possess a high degree of accuracy Possess strong analytical skills in reviewing Johnson Controls and each of its Canadian subsidiaries are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants, candidates and employees with disabilities, in accordance with applicable human rights legislation and in Ontario, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”). If you are an individual with a disability and you require an accommodation during the application process, please visit [website] Job Business Strategy Primary Organization Corporate

Example 4

The Project Cost Accountant will operate as a partner to the Project Manager(s) and advise/ be responsible for all the commercial aspects of the project activities as outlined in the Project Development Flow Chart including inputs, deliverables and supporting verification of fulfillment to pass the identified gates. *Key The of this position include but are not limited to; * Create project accounts in the project management system and map them to the appropriate categories/ GL accounts in the accounting system. * Ensure the project management system portrays an accurate record of project activity and performance and reconcile to the accounting system. * Advise Project Managers/ Field Personnel/ Project Administrators and or Project Co-ordinators on the appropriate set-up of projects and the recording of project activities. * Review account totals related to project assets and expenses * Investigate project variances and submit variance reports to management * Confer with receivables staff regarding unpaid contract billings * Report on the write-off of any project-related billings that cannot be billed to or collected from Customers * Close out project accounts upon project completion * Compile information for internal and external auditors, as required * Working with the teams responsible to ensure system detail is accurate for personnel and equipment *In conjunction with the Project Manager;* * Maintain project-related records, including contracts and change orders. * Review and support of Project Estimate with history * Project System setup of WBS reflective of the project proposal, WBS to be effective for ongoing Project Management, reporting and invoicing. * Authorize the transfer of expenses into and out of projects * Review and approve received supplier invoices related to a project * Review and approve time sheets for work related to a project * Review and approve overhead charges to be applied to a project * Report on project profitability to management * Report to management on any opportunities for additional billings * Report to management regarding the remaining funding available for projects * Create or approve all project-related billings to customers * Investigate all project expenses not billed to customers * Respond to requests for more detail from customers * Maintain the project management system ensuring it provides accurate records of project activity and performance, reconcile to the other integrated systems. *Qualifications and Education Requirements* The successful candidate will have: * 5 + years experience in Project Cost Accounting/ Project Cost Control * University or college degree in Business/ Engineering or equivalent. * Knowledge of, or field construction experience would be an asset * This position requires a solid understanding of Project Management principles including earned value. * This position requires an understanding of revenue recognition principles regarding projects i.e., compilation methods. * Proven analytical capabilities and exceptional problem-solving skills. * Experience with data gathering, reporting and query development. * Ability to work in a fast pace and dynamic work environment. * In addition, the position requires a passion for process simplification and improvement, strong leadership and interpersonal skills and excellent written and verbal communication skills. *Experience* Required * 5 year(s): Project Cost Accounting/ Project Cost Control Preferred * Less than 5 year(s): Knowledge of, or field construction experience would be an asset *Education* Required * Bachelors or better in Accounting or related field *Skills* Preferred * Managing Multiple Priorities * Analytical Capabilities * Ability to Meet Timelines * Strong Customer Services * Work Accurately and Efficiently * Team Oriented *Behaviors* Preferred * Functional Expert: Considered a thought leader on a subject * Thought Provoking: Capable of making others think deeply on a subject * Team Player: Works well as a member of a group *Motivations* Preferred * Growth Opportunities: Inspired to perform well by the chance to take on more responsibility Job Type: Full-time

Example 5

* Are you looking to be a part of a well-established, North American manufacturing company? * Are you interested in analyzing production costs and finding solutions on how to improve cost efficiency? * Do you have your CPA or are working towards obtaining it? * Does the wood industry interest you and you wish to evolve in a fast-growing company? Look no further; our *Stouffville/Gormley* location is actively looking for someone just like you! *But who are we?* Stella-Jones is North America's leading producer of industrial pressure-treated wood products. Responding to the vital infrastructure needs of our economy, we manufacture and distribute railway ties, utility poles, residential lumber and industrial wood products across the continent. The Company’s common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: SJ). *With us, you will have access to: * * Health benefits including dental coverage * Life insurance * Retirement program * Share purchase program * A competitive salary * Annual profit-sharing program * A hybrid teleworking policy is available *What would be your You would be responsible for the cost accounting function of our Quebec plants, and ensuring the accuracy of inventory records. *We need you to: * * Update and maintain standard costs and rate models. * Regular analysis of production variances, planned material prices, standard production activity rates, and overhead allocation rates. Prepare proposed updates with input from Operations and Procurement teams. * Coordinate updates to planned material prices, production activity rates, and overhead allocation rates in SAP with the Accounting Manager and Master Data Team. * Prepare, analyze, and post costing runs in SAP. * Provide guidance to Master Data and Operations teams with Bill of Material and Routing setups. * Participate in the budget / forecast processes by calculating planned costs, performing analysis as needed, and providing costing estimates to the Financial Analyst. * Conduct a regular review of inventory records to ensure accuracy, perform analysis to reconcile any discrepancies. * Perform account reconciliation and analysis. * Assist during internal / external audits by responding to queries from auditors and providing documentation as requested. *Our ideal candidate will have: * * Effective interpersonal and communication skills * Attention to detail * Problem solving and priority management * Strong analytical and organizational skills * Strong accounting knowledge * Proficient with accounting systems and MS Office *What we expect from you?* * Undergraduate degree in Business or a related field. * 5-10 years of experience in a progressively responsible accounting role * Proficient with SAP If this position resonates with you, do not wait and apply today! Our team is eager to meet you! Job Types: Full-time, Permanent Salary: per year Benefits: * Dental care * Disability insurance * Employee stock purchase plan * Extended health care * Life insurance * On-site parking * Profit sharing * RRSP match * Tuition reimbursement Schedule: * Monday to Friday Application question(s): * Do you have a CPA designation or are on the way to getting one? Experience: * Cost Accounting: 5 years (required) * SAP: 4 years (preferred) Work remotely: * Temporarily due to COVID-19

What does a Cost Accountant do?

A Cost Account completes a financial audit to verify all of the client’s financial records. They ensure the client has been compliant with Canadian tax laws such as the Income Tax Act or the Canadian Business Corporations Act, and are required to report any cases of non-compliance. They examine all of the detailed financial data that are relevant to the client’s tax filings. A Cost Accountant is also responsible for managing a team of junior accountants. They lead the team and work together with them to complete complex financial audits.


Cost Accountant skills and qualifications

A successful Cost Accountant will have certain skills and qualifications to perform this job well. Some of the most common skills include:

  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Exceptional knowledge of Canadian tax laws
  • Excellent eye for detail
  • Ability to work under pressure or under tight deadlines
  • Good communication skills
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong reporting skills


Cost Accountant experience requirements

A successful Cost Account candidate will have experience working as an auditor under the supervision of an Accountant while earning their designation. They are usually expected to have at least five years of experience, but this may vary depending on the job requirements.


Cost Accountant education and training requirements

A Cost Accountant will hold a university degree in Accounting as well as a designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Once a graduate has received their designation, they must also receive certification from the Society of Certified General Accountants, as well as the Institute of Internal Auditors. This certification is obtained after 24 to 30 months of on-the-job experience, under the supervision of an Accountant. If a Cost Accountant is required to act as a trustee in bankruptcy proceedings, they must also hold a license as a trustee in bankruptcy. A Cost Accountant must be recognized and certified by the regulatory body in their individual province, as well.


Cost Accountant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average Cost Accountant salary in Canada is $68,463 per year. Salaries will vary based on geographical location, the type of industry, and the level of experience. A Cost Accountant in the public sector may also make a different salary compared to private sector employees.


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Cost Accountant job description FAQs


What is the difference between a Cost Accountant and a Staff Accountant?

A Staff Accountant may handle some of the same financial records as a Cost Accountant, but they must work under the supervision of a Cost Accountant or Senior Accountant. They may contribute to verifying documents and creating reports, but they are not able to file tax returns on behalf of their clients nor offer tax advice. 


What are good qualities to look for in a Cost Accountant?

The job of a Cost Accountant includes some very detail-heavy work. Employers should look for candidates who are natural problem-solvers. A good candidate will also have good critical thinking skills, be very meticulous, and demonstrate reliability and responsibility. A Cost Accountant must be passionate about investigating and reporting, and show a deep interest in mathematics.


How can you make your Cost Accountant job description stand out?

The job descriptions that get the attention of the best candidates include lots of detail, while also remaining short and concise. The candidate should be able to immediately decipher what daily tasks will be expected of them, what specific certifications are required, and what type of industry they will be working with. A mention of a competitive salary and any additional employee benefits or privileges is also helpful.


Who reports to a Cost Accountant?

While a Cost Accountant may report to a Senior Accountant, they are still in a leadership position and responsible for a team. Normally, accounting students, Staff Accountants, or other Junior Accountants are required to report to the Cost Accountant. Office Clerks, Payroll Clerks, and Bookkeepers may also report to the Cost Accountant.

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