Whether you’ve just graduated and are trying to decide on your long term career path within Accounting & Finance, or you’ve been working in the sector for a while and are looking for a new challenge, management accounting could be the exciting prospect you are looking for.
But what does management accounting do for a business? What does the role involve and how can you find a job as a Management Accountant?
If you’re interested in pursuing management accounting as a career, we’re here to help you understand everything you need to know.
What is management accounting?
Management accounting is the gathering and presenting of financial information to advise business managers and senior stakeholders within an organisation. By providing operational business metrics and market analysis, management accountants help to forecast future purchases and investments for company growth.
What is the difference between financial accounting and management accounting?
The key difference between financial and management accounting is that the latter involves helping managers with decision making. While financial accountants record and report spending and transactions related to business operations, management accountants are actively involved in shaping a company’s future. They don’t just report on the information, they have a seat at the table.
Management accounting requires strong leadership skills along with knowledge and understanding of a broad range of topics such as market trends, compliance, and risk management. So, if you love tracking finances and crunching numbers but also enjoy thinking about the bigger picture, management accounting may be your perfect job.
Why management accounting is important
Working closely with owners, senior managers or boards of directors, management accountants have a great deal of influence. Often with a team of staff underneath them, management accountants are responsible for identifying tax liabilities, managing budgets and preparing balance sheets as well as advising stakeholders about market trends and identifying — and vetting — potential investment opportunities.
In short, a good management accountant ensures the future growth and profitability of a company.
So, exactly what is the role of management accounting?
Although it varies from organisation to organisation, some of the key duties associated with management accounting include:
- Budgeting and reporting
- Completing all tax paperwork
- Producing financial statements such as income statements
- Analysis, risk assessment and forecasting
- Overseeing internal audits
- Identifying areas for financial savings
- Identifying areas for financial growth
- Advising senior personnel and decision makers on strategic planning
For more senior management accountants, particularly in larger companies and organisations, the role may also include managing a team of staff. So while producing income statements or filling in tax paperwork is something a management accountant should be able to do, it may not necessarily be part of their day to day duties. They will, however, be ultimately responsible for this work as they oversee the finance department.
What qualifications, skills and experience do you need for management accounting?
As you may have deduced by now, the role of a management accountant is not generally considered to be an entry level one. While technically the minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree (most have a degree in Accounting or Finance), the duties and responsibilities of the role require skills and knowledge that often come with extensive experience in the finance sector.
Whether it’s by working their way up from a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or by acquiring additional certifications and qualifications such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), many management accountants spend years acquiring the skills and experience needed to succeed in a role with this level of influence and responsibility. That being said, it is possible to transition from areas such as finance accounting with relative ease, providing that you have the right skills.
Some of the key things required for a management accountant position include:
- Critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Analytical thinking
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills
- Organisational skills
- Thorough knowledge and understanding of cost accounting
- Thorough understanding of tax principles
- Good business acumen
- An aptitude for maths and numbers
How to find management accounting jobs
Whether you are side-stepping from finance accounting or stepping up from a slightly more junior role, it’s worth keeping an eye on our management accounting job board for updates on current vacancies.
It’s also worth getting in touch with one of our Accounting & Finance Recruiters. As specialists in the field, they have an ongoing relationship with countless organisations and key players within the industry. They understand the requirements of the role inside-out and can help you to identify companies and organisations where your skills and experience will be best utilised.
If you’re ready to take the next step towards a career as a management accountant, give our specialist team a call today!
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