Career Development

What Does a Project Accountant Do?

Find out what a project accountant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a project accountant.

Project accountants are responsible for tracking and reporting the financial performance of projects. They commonly work on short-term assignments that have a clear beginning and end date, such as building a new website or developing a new product line.

Project accountants may also be tasked with ensuring that all project stakeholders—including management, clients, vendors, etc.—are kept informed about the progress being made on their respective tasks.

Project Accountant Job Duties

A project accountant typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reviewing financial statements to ensure that they are accurate, complete, and comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
  • Monitoring cash flow to ensure that sufficient funds are available to meet business obligations
  • Preparing financial reports such as income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets
  • Analyzing the financial data to identify trends or problems that may affect future performance
  • Reviewing financial statements from different perspectives to determine their accuracy and completeness
  • Calculation of taxes owed on profits gained from investments or other assets held by the business
  • Reviewing contracts to ensure that they comply with legal requirements and stipulate all necessary terms and conditions
  • Maintaining accounting records such as journals, ledgers, and financial statements
  • Assisting with payroll processing by preparing checks for signature, depositing funds into bank accounts, and filing tax forms with the IRS

Project Accountant Salary & Outlook

The salary of a project accountant can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $72,500 ($34.86/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $127,500 ($61.3/hour)

The employment of accountants is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for accountants will stem from the continued need for financial planning and advice as well as the need to keep costs under control. Accountants will be needed to help companies understand and meet their compliance requirements, such as tax laws and regulations governing financial reporting.

Related: 17 Project Accountant Interview Questions and Answers

Project Accountant Job Requirements

A project accountant typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Project accountants are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or business administration. Some employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting or business administration. Relevant coursework includes financial accounting, auditing, taxation, business law and business communication.

Training & Experience: Project accountants typically receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training helps the project accountant learn the specific processes and procedures of the company. It also allows the project accountant to become familiar with the company’s clients and projects.

Certifications & Licenses: There are no specific certifications required to become a project accountant, but those interested in this career may consider pursuing certifications to gain additional knowledge about the responsibilities of a project accountant and further their career advancement opportunities.

Project Accountant Skills

Project accountants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Accounting: Accounting is the foundation of a finance career and the most important skill for an accountant. Accountants use their accounting skills to record financial transactions, prepare financial statements and analyze financial data. A strong understanding of accounting principles and practices is essential for an accountant to be successful in their career.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. Accountants use critical thinking skills to make financial decisions for their companies. For example, if a company is considering a large investment, the accountants may use critical thinking skills to determine if the investment is worth the company’s time and money.

Data analysis: Data analysis is the ability to interpret financial data and draw conclusions from it. Accountants use data analysis to create financial statements, forecast budgets and identify trends in financial data. Data analysis is an essential skill for accountants because it allows them to make informed business decisions.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information to others. As an accountant, you may need to communicate with clients, other accountants and other finance professionals. Effective communication can help you convey information clearly and answer questions. You can also use communication to help build relationships with others in your workplace.

Organization: Organization is the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and deadlines at once. As an accountant, you may be responsible for managing multiple projects at once, which requires excellent organizational skills. Organization can also help you keep track of financial records and data, which is an important part of the job.

Project Accountant Work Environment

Project accountants work in the accounting department of a company and are responsible for tracking the financial progress of specific projects. They work closely with project managers to ensure that all project costs are accounted for and that the project stays within its budget. Project accountants typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. The work can be stressful at times, especially when projects are behind schedule or over budget. However, most project accountants find the work to be challenging and rewarding.

Project Accountant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how project accountants work. Project accountants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

The accounting profession is evolving as businesses become more complex and technology becomes more prevalent. In order to keep up with these changes, accountants will need to develop more technical skills.

Project accountants are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they are often responsible for managing the financial aspects of projects. By learning how to use technology to their advantage, project accountants can make themselves more valuable to their employers and help them stay ahead of the curve.

More Collaboration Between Finance and Project Management

As businesses become more complex, there is an increasing need for collaboration between finance and project management teams. This is because both departments are responsible for different but equally important parts of the business.

Project accountants can capitalize on this trend by developing strong relationships with members of other departments. This will allow them to better understand the needs of the business and provide more value to their team.

Greater Focus on Cost Control

As businesses become more competitive, they are placing greater emphasis on cost control. This means that project accountants will need to be able to identify ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.

In order to be successful in this environment, project accountants will need to be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with stakeholders and be able to work well under pressure.

How to Become a Project Accountant

A career as an accountant is a great choice for people who are good with numbers and have a strong work ethic. It’s also a field that offers many opportunities for growth and advancement. As you progress in your accounting career, you may want to specialize in certain areas, such as tax accounting or corporate accounting. You could also choose to become a manager or director of accounting.

No matter what stage you’re at in your accounting career, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and developments in the field. You can do this by attending professional development courses and workshops, reading industry publications, and networking with other accountants.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this field is to obtain an advanced degree, such as a master’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting. With this higher level of education, project accountants can become certified public accountants and move into management positions. They may also be promoted to financial analyst or controller positions.

Project accountants who have strong computer skills can move into other computer-related positions with additional education. Some may become interested in accounting programming in order to further improve computer accounting capabilities. Others may want to become involved with financial analysis or auditing.

Project Accountant Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for a project accountant to join our team and take on the responsibility of ensuring the accuracy and completeness of project financial records. The ideal candidate will have experience working in accounting, with a strong understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). He or she will be detail-oriented, with the ability to maintain accurate records and meet deadlines. The project accountant will work closely with the project manager and project team to track project expenditures, invoicing, and revenue recognition. This is a critical role in ensuring the financial success of our projects.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Prepare journal entries and reconcile general ledger accounts
  • Perform account analysis and research to support the month-end close process
  • Assist with the development and maintenance of internal controls
  • Support the audit process by providing documentation and responding to inquiries
  • Help prepare project budgets and track actual results against budget
  • Generate monthly invoices to customers and follow up on receivables
  • Manage customer contracts, including reviewing for accuracy and completeness
  • Set up new projects in the accounting system and maintain financial records for existing projects
  • Monitor project costs and expenditures to ensure they are within budget
  • Prepare ad hoc reports and analyses as requested by management
  • Participate in special projects and perform other duties as assigned
  • Maintain a high level of confidentiality with regard to sensitive information

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in an accounting role
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, with advanced Excel skills
  • Working knowledge of QuickBooks or other accounting software
  • Proven ability to work independently and meet deadlines
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • CPA or MBA preferred
  • Experience working on government contracts
  • Familiarity with cost accounting standards (CAS)
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Strong attention to detail


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