The Role of The Cost Accountant

Mar 21, 2016

As a cost accountant, it is not uncommon to encounter individuals who are unfamiliar with cost accounting and what our profession entails.  I hear “you must enjoy numbers” or “I bet you are great at math”.  There is so much more involved in cost accounting. I would not consider it math in the truest sense, but really more analysis and critical thinking. The unawareness of cost accounting is typical among the general public. However, what about a business owner?  Does the owner of the business your work for truly understand what cost accounting is?

If you answered yes, then I believe you are in the minority. Why do you think this is the case? Do you consider it an issue?

Some cost accountants may feel if no one understands what they do, then why do it. Others believe it is a free pass because no one will know otherwise. However, I believe if no one recognizes the value you offer, the responsibility falls on you. You are the only one who understands the importance of accurate costing data and the value it brings to any business.

It can be discouraging when those running a business do not fully comprehend the importance of your role. However, if view the situation from a new perspective and see they believe you are then you make a positive impact.

Cost accounting has one of the most unique perspectives in a business.  You control some of the most insightful information which can ultimately make or break your organization.  Having the ability to observe trends before they occur allows for predictability which can be life changing.  Recognize the fact that the owner does not need to understand how you know what you know, but it is much more critical for them to trust in you and the validity of the information.

In the end, I do not think it matters if everyone understands exactly what you do.  What matters most is they respect what you do and recognize the value and necessity of the information you provide.  What experiences have you had and what is your opinion?

Categories: Cost Accounting