What do Certified Management Accountants Do?

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.

A Focus On Strategic 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 Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), that’s because management accountants have specialized skills in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support and professional ethics.

This array of skills allows Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) to contribute to the success of a business in a number of ways, including:

  • Advising managers about the financial implications of projects.
  • Explaining the financial consequences of business decisions.
  • Formulating business strategies.
  • Monitoring spending and financial controls.
  • Conducting internal business audits.
  • Explaining the impact of the competitive landscape.
  • And much more …

Above all, due the rigorous certification process and their commitment to on-going education, CMAs bring a high level of professionalism and integrity to business. This is why you’ll find CMA-holders in important roles in top companies in every industry worldwide.

Open Doors To New Career Possibilities

There are a wealth of accounting career opportunities for CMA holders. Management accountants can start their careers working as cost accountants, budget analysts, internal auditors or financial analysts inside an organization.

In time, they can advance to positions such as accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing, among other roles.

Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, Chief Financial Officers or corporate presidents.

Check out all the job offers advertised on the IMA website. It can give you an idea of the many possibilities that await once you’ve earned your CMA.

Management Accounting v. Financial Accounting

There is often confusion about the differences between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting. Here are a few of the things that differentiate the two 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

Other CMA resources you may like: