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Insights How to build your cost management career

What is cost management?

Cost management is the process of ensuring that a project or business is able to meet its objectives within its budget constraints.

Good cost management results in cost-effective resourcing and projects being completed in a timely manner. It allows businesses to identify areas where costs can be reduced which makes them more profitable and competitive in the market.

What does a cost manager do?

Cost managers are responsible for planning, controlling and monitoring the costs of a project or business. Here are some specific responsibilities you’ll be managing in your day-to-day:

  • Planning - allotting resources for projects.
  • Estimating - the expected costs associated with projects. 
  • Budgeting - allocating costs to the resources you’ve outlined as well as establishing a total budget for projects or business activities.
  • Cost control - monitoring actual costs, ensuring that costs are in line with the budget, and tweaking costs based on expenses to remain within budget.
  • Cost analysis - identifying areas where costs could have been saved and where costs have 

Stock market or forex trading graph and candlestick chart suitable for financial investment concept.

What qualifications and skills are needed to be a cost manager?

Typically, businesses look for candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying, or a related field. Alternative qualifications such as the Certified Cost Professional (CCP) or Project Management Professional (PMP) may also be considered. 

In terms of skills, you’ll need a strong understanding of accounting and finance principles, as well as project management capabilities. Here are some skills of a great cost manager: 

  • Clear and analytical approach to problem-solving 
  • Strong decision-making abilities 
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to work effectively with multidisciplinary teams 
  • Strong IT skills 

How to build your cost management career 

Expand your knowledge

The more knowledge you have, the more value you will add to your projects, team, and company. Staying up to date with latest developments in the cost management industry can give you a leg up when it comes to suggesting new ideas and improvements. 

Another way to expand your knowledge is furthering your education. You may want to consider certifications such as Certified Cost Professional (CCP) or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA). This will help to position you as an expert in your field. 

Gain experience 

Gaining practical experience in the field is a great way to apply your theoretical knowledge in real-life scenarios. If you are new to cost management, you can offer to help with cost management projects within your company or shadow cost management professionals. This is a great way to start building your cost management portfolio. 

Alternatively, you can consider entry-level positions in accounting, finance or quantity surveying. All of these fields are relevant to cost management and you’ll also get the chance to pick up on necessary skills to succeed as a cost management professional. 

If you are looking to kick start your career, our Graduate Scheme, Placement and Apprenticeship 2023 opportunities are now open! 

Progression opportunities 

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is how you can progress your career and develop as a cost management professional. When you feel you are comfortable within your current position this is often a good indication that you are ready to progress to the next level. 

Taking advantage of all the opportunities available to you ensure you are always progressing and taking your career in the right direction. Consider internal opportunities in higher-level positions. 

At AtkinsRéalis , we foster an environment of continuous learning and development. This means we have the right support and training to help you learn and acquire what you need to succeed. 

Set goals 

Setting goals for yourself and communicating them with your manager or leadership teams allows you to create clarity around what you want to achieve, by when, and outline outcomes of achieving those goals. 

Having this open line of communication between management means they can offer you support and advice to point you in the right direction. So when you achieve your goals, you will have a promotion or your next opportunity waiting for you. 

Develop your cost management career in the Middle East 

The Middle East is full of cost management job opportunities to develop your career. At AtkinsRéalis , you’ll have the opportunity to prove your true potential, provide expert services on world-class projects, collaborate and grow with professional services experts. 

NEOM is one of our world-class global transformation projects. You’ll be working to build a ‘country within a country’. NEOM envisions to be a Net Zero city by 2030 and this is your chance to do something great. Take this opportunity and explore our cost management careers.