Cost Accounting Classes and Courses Overview

Essential Information

Courses in cost accounting may be offered alone or as part of undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, management or business administration. Programs resulting in associate's and bachelor's degrees generally introduce the numerous facets of the accounting industry and ready students for entry-level positions, while master's, doctoral and graduate-level certificate programs typically cover advanced accounting strategies that prepare professionals for administrative and supervisory positions. These higher-level programs often have prerequisites that include a bachelor's degree and a number of introductory accounting courses.

Common concepts students would explore in these types of courses include:

  • Cost management
  • Profit planning
  • Cost variance analysis
  • Budgeting and pricing
  • Managerial accounting systems

List of Common Courses

Standard Cost Accounting Course

Cost accounting is primarily used as a decision-making tool for individuals in charge of business operations. Managers use standardized methods to control cost in order to meet the desired level of profitability. Students learn about pricing, budgeting, and performance analysis to determine overall success based on predetermined objectives.

Cost-Value-Profit Analysis Course

Cost-value-profit (CVP) analysis is another form of managerial cost accounting that focuses on the short-term. Students often learn CVP analysis as part of an introductory cost accounting course, but many programs provide separate training in the subject. Students learn the basic principles of CVP, including break-even analysis, variable and fixed costs, and profitability.

Lean Accounting Course

Lean accounting is another method of managerial accounting that is used by specific industries looking to shift from standard cost accounting to a less wasteful approach. This course educates students on the difference between standard and lean cost accounting and how the latter is beneficial to customers and businesses. Lean accounting provides a more customer-oriented approach that not only focuses on the elimination of unnecessary cost and expense, but also on wasted time and space. Although cost and lean accounting are similar in nature, lean accounting requires altering the entire structure of operation, so the course will also provide students information on strategic methods for change.

Managerial Accounting Course

Management accounting courses are generally offered in advanced degree programs in accounting or as an area of concentration in business administration. The course addresses methods for analyzing financial data, creating budgets, developing cash flow statements and determining production costs and understanding activity-based costs. Students will learn about the management decision-making process as it relates to accounting.

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