Project accounting jobs are typically a part of the managerial accounting process. Managerial accounting focuses on recording and reporting internal financial information, often data associated with the production of goods. Cost accountants are the individuals who allocate costs to manufactured goods. Budget analysts create cash flow projections and other budgets to ensure a company can pay for its business operations. Staff accountants bring financial and managerial accounting together, taking cost accounting entries and entering them into the general ledger.
Cost accountants are often the most common project accounting jobs. These individuals review production reports and look for the direct costs associated with materials and labor for each job. Overhead — indirect items used to complete multiple projects — are also part of the cost allocation process. To apply the lowest project costs to a finished job, a cost accountant may also make recommendations for selecting an allocation process. Other tasks include creating variance reports, tracking the percentage of project completion, and creating entries that go into the company’s general ledger.
Budget analysts are another group of project accounting jobs. These individuals look at potential cash flows for new projects and compare them against expected cash outflows. Analysts look at various pieces of information in order to create budgets and assess investment returns. These project accounting jobs often look at the total money allocated for current and new projects to ensure the company does not expend too much cash on projects. The budget analyst position may also carry the title finance analyst, which can be the same position albeit with slightly more tasks than just budgets.
Staff accountants are standard positions for financial accounting and project accounting jobs. This position takes the information prepared by the cost accountant and enters it into the general ledger. This type of accountant may also complete account reconciliations to ensure the posted entries completely account for all costs and other data in the ledger. It is also a link between the financial accounting department and other project accounting jobs in the business. With limited responsibilities, usually, staff accountants create links between the two accounting types.
Most — if not all — of these project accounting jobs require formal educations. Four-year bachelor degrees with accounting concentrations prepare individuals for any of these positions. In some cases, professional certification may also be necessary. The world-renowned certified management accountant license is often the most common for project accounting jobs as its specific focus is to provide technical skills that translate well to project accounting.