iStock_000039245934_SmallManagement 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?  

A Focus On Strategy & Decision Support

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:

  • Advise managers about the financial implications of projects.
  • Explain the financial consequences of business decisions.
  • Formulate business strategies.
  • Monitor spending and financial controls.
  • Conduct internal business audits.
  • Explain the impact of the competitive landscape.
  • And much more …

Above all, CMAs bring a high level of professionalism and integrity to business, as demonstrated by their certification and IMA membership.

A Variety Of Respected Job Roles

Jobs with managerial accounting
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.

Management Accounting vs. Financial Accounting

Here’s a helpful table to help you understand the key differences between the Management Accounting and Financial Accounting fields. 

 Management AccountingFinancial Accounting
Purpose of informationHelp managers to make decisionsCommunicate financial position to outsiders
Primary usesInternal managersExternal users: investors, creditors, government/authorities
Time dimensionCurrent and forward-lookingMainly historical
Nature of the informationFinancial and non-financialMostly financial
Reporting frequencyAs & when desired by managementGenerally at the of year
Information recordedAccounts are prepared to meet the legal requirements.Kept voluntarily to meet the requirements of the management
ControlInformation is supervised by internal auditorsInformation is typically supervised by public auditors.

Get More Free Resources About the CMA Certification

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.

  • Everything You Need to Know About CMA Certification Requirements
  • Free Insights For Anyone Considering CMA Certification
  • CMA Salary Guide