Management Accounting is a varied and growing profession that, at its core, involves using specialized accounting expertise to assist in management decision-making and planning. Sounds great, but what does a career in management accounting actually look like?
While other areas of accounting are focused on financial auditing and reporting or investments, management accounting serves a central strategic role for businesses. According to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), that’s because management accountants have specialized skills in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support and professional ethics.
Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) contribute to the success of a business in a number of unique ways. They can:
Above all, CMAs bring a high level of professionalism and integrity to business, as demonstrated by their certification and IMA membership.
Being a CMA affords you a wealth of career opportunities. Management accountants work as cost accountants, budget analysts, internal auditors or financial analysts inside an organization.
They may advance to positions such as accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing.
Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents. Many senior corporate executives have backgrounds in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.
Check out all the job offers advertised on the IMA website. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Here’s a helpful table to help you understand the key differences between the Management Accounting and Financial Accounting fields.
|Management Accounting||Financial Accounting|
|Purpose of information||Help managers to make decisions||Communicate financial position to outsiders|
|Primary uses||Internal managers||External users: investors, creditors, government/authorities|
|Time dimension||Current and forward-looking||Mainly historical|
|Nature of the information||Financial and non-financial||Mostly financial|
|Reporting frequency||As & when desired by management||Generally at the of year|
|Information recorded||Accounts are prepared to meet the legal requirements.||Kept voluntarily to meet the requirements of the management|
|Control||Information is supervised by internal auditors||Information is typically supervised by public auditors.|
We have an entire section of our site dedicated to resources about advancing your career with the CMA certification. You can check it out here, or you can choose from a few of our favorite articles below. Each tackles a specific pain point you might have related to becoming a CMA.