businessman builds a towerUnlike CPAs or public accountants, who often work on behalf of dozens of clients as part of an accounting firm, management accountants normally just work within one specific company.

CMA-certified professionals work inside organizations of all sizes, industries, and types, including manufacturing and services, public and private enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, government entities, and multinational corporations.

Management accountants are professionals who work in business, across all areas of an organization, in decision support, planning, and control functions. Their role is distinct from the responsibilities of public accountants, who focus on audit, taxation, and compliance. Some common job titles for management accountants include:

  • Chief executive officer (CEO)
  • Chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Chief technology officer (CTO)
  • Treasurer
  • Vice president, finance
  • Controller
  • Finance manager
  • Internal auditor
  • Budget analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Marketing analyst
  • Corporate or division planner
  • Senior accountant
  • Cost accountant
  • Staff accountant

Here’s a quick overview of the types of skills and education required along common management accounting career paths.

Entry Level

Common Jobs:
Staff accountant, cost accountant, junior internal auditor

Education & Skills:

  • Bachelor degree in finance or accounting
  • Good technology skills (specifically MS Excel)

Common Job Duties:

  • Work under a senior accountant or manager
  • Help in the budget department
  • Prepare reports for the controller’s department

Mid Level

Common Jobs:
Accounting manager or senior accountant, senior internal auditor

Education & Skills:

  • All entry-level requirements
  • Strong communication and analytical skills
  • An MBA with a focus in accounting or Master of Accounting (MAcc) degree; CPA or CMA certification is recommended

Common Job Duties:

  • Prepare financial statements
  • Assess internal controls
  • Analyze and/or prepare monthly financial information
  • Create and analyze company budgets
  • Supervise accounting staff

Senior Level

Common Jobs:
Controller, director of accounting or finance, CFO

Education & Skills:

  • All mid-level requirements
  • Track record of excellence and leadership in the field
  • Solid management skills
  • Knowledge of the industry and US accounting principles
  • MBA or MAcc, and/or CPA or CMA certification is desired

Common Job Duties:

  • Responsible for all or part of a company’s financial status, actions and transactions
  • Coordinate accounting operations
  • Hire, train and oversee staff
  • Maintain budget
  • Perform financial analysis
  • Build business strategy
  • Manage relationships with investors and auditors