I have recently had a nice class with a candidate getting ready for an interview to get this very job. It's interesting how this world is changing... Today, competition on the market is really fierce and companies need experts to manage their costs.
Being a cost analyst involves not only reducing expenses, but also making sure that they are cost effective as regards the company's strategy and objectives.
What are the main duties of a cost analyst?
Well, there are probably quite more than what I'm going to enumerate here. Anyhow, I guess it's pretty necessary to be able to develop standard costs and to be able to determine the cost of purchased/manufactured products/services. Another tough duty is to be able to draw up the budget, possibly the most effective one :) A cost analyst will also have to compare and study the variance between costs and standard costs.
This job will involve studying and being able to explain corporate financial performance. It's an open secret that companies want to reduce costs, especially in the times of crisis.
The study of the company's performance will then result in preparing forecast financial statements and analysis reports by a cost analyst.
It seems an interesting job, but in order to do it well one needs to be familiar with advanced accounting and cost management software, leave alone proficiency in the use of MS Office or Access.
What is expected of an ideal cost analyst?
I guess, proper degrees are essential, but moreover, this person needs to have very strong analytical skills and the ability to see the whole financial situation in the company. I believe that being an effective team player is also quite important. Analytical as this job is, it also requires some resourcefulness and creativity on the part of an analyst. The perfect candidate would have to be well-organized to manage a lot of issues concerning a range of tasks.
Are you a cost analyst perhaps? Please tell me more about your job. Would you add anything to this description of the job in question?