Project Accounting is the practice of creating financial reports specifically designed to track the financial progress of Projects, Programmes, and Portfolios, which can be used by the Management Team to achieve the organizational strategic objectives.
Standard accounting is primarily aimed at monitoring financial progress of organizational elements over defined time periods. However; projects differ in that they frequently cross organizational boundaries, and may last from a few days or weeks to a number of years. A project may also be one of a number of projects that make up a larger overall project, programme or portfolio.
Consequently, in a project management environment the tracking and control of costs and revenues can become extremely complex, and the specialist skills of the Project Accountant will be required to ensure that the financial reports reflect a true and fair view of the organizations investment in its projects at any point in time.
Project Accountants find themselves in all types of organizations and industries. Many begin their career as trainee accountants for large project orientated corporations, working within massive project portfolios worth billions of dollars. Others work for smaller organizations, where projects are not the main stay of the business, yet the skills of a Project Accountant are regarded as essential to the good performance of the business.
Typically there are many types of roles a Project Accountant can work in. Some become Financial Directors of large project portfolios, some work as consultants specialising in guiding and directing organisations in the best-practices of project accounting.