our everyday life

Cost Controller Job Description

by Kristin Swain, studioD

A cost controller is an accountant who manages cost for a company. There are several different industries that cost controllers can work in, including hotels, production and manufacturing, restaurants and retail. In this position you help management to determine and maintain costs to produce goods and services for consumers. Successful cost controllers are able to maintain strict adherence to a corporate budget and find ways to increase company profits.


The main responsibilities of a cost controller include estimating and managing the cost to produce goods and services. The controller must estimate cost using accounting models to help determine the price of production, the price to consumers and how much money the company can expect to make on any given product or service. This analysis includes pricing raw materials from vendors necessary to creation of the product, labor, any necessary transportation and equipment.


The cost controller assists management with building an annual operating budget for the company. The controller is in charge of managing purchasing and labor practices in order to keep costs within budget while maintaining the company's production schedule. In this position, you also build reports detailing raw material and labor costs to management along with a comparison of actual versus projected production costs. The controller may also be called upon to provide profit estimate reports on a regular basis.


There are several different skills that are essential to being a successful cost controller. One of the most important skills to have when considering a controller position is advanced accounting skills, including data analysis. Cost controllers should also have good communication skills, as they are required to speak on a daily basis with both production workers and members of management. It is also important in this position that you have good employee management, organization decision-making and problem solving skills.


For most positions as a cost controller, a bachelor's degree is mandatory, often in addition to applicable work experience in the industry in which you are applying. There are some positions as a cost controller that may be available to applicants with no college degree but who have extensive related work experience, often in management, finance or accounting.

About the Author

Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images