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The main objective for project accountants is to create financial reports and accounting documentation to track the financial progress of a project or specific business function, which can be used to assist other professionals effectively manage a project. You can expect to work in a team setting and will work closely with other organizational managers to support their projects.
Usually based in an office during normal business hours, project accountants work on a computer with accounting software to provide assistance to project managers, who work either internally or externally. Often a member of a team, the project accountant may work with people in other areas of the organization to assess cost, profitability, and performance. After gathering data about costs, the project accountant analyzes it in order to produce reports and reviews.
Project accountants can expect an average salary of approximately $55,000 annually with experience in the position. The salary for this position starts at just over $40,000, and you can make up to $70,000 or more with ample experience. Cost accounting and financial analysis skills can help you increase your annual salary.
Project accountants oversee and coordinate project costs with project managers and other personnel to ensure all financial aspects of project execution are on track. Your day-to-day tasks can include some of the following:
Project accountants can work with companies of all sizes. Traditionally, roles are found with large corporations; however, there are also opportunities to work with startups and small businesses that require accounting expertise for new projects. The highest paying opportunities are found in Edmonton and Calgary, due to the opportunities in the energy section, and in Toronto and Vancouver.
Project accounting jobs require you to work independently and in collaboration with others. Project accountants are experts in Microsoft Office programs, but need a familiarity with ERP software, as well. Skills needed include:
Project accounting positions typically require a university degree in accounting or a related field. A college diploma in accounting and finance may also be acceptable. Most positions require 3 years or more in project management or cost accounting, auditing, budgeting, financial planning, or financial analysis.
Certification as a CPA, CMA, CGA, or other designation from a professional accounting organization for Chartered Accountants, General Accountants, and Management Accountants is required for most positions. Some organizations will accept candidates who are working toward their professional certification. Knowing several languages is a great asset, as project accountants may deal with multi-national companies and clients from around the world.
Cost accountants can move to higher-level accounting or management positions. With a number of years’ experience, you can expect to move up into an accounting manager role, which can lead to other positions in the future such as corporate controller, finance manager, bookkeeper, and senior account management positions.