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While other areas of accounting are focused on reporting financial results to external entities such as banks and shareholders, management accounting is focused on providing information to decision-makers within an organization. As such, management accounting serves a central strategic role for businesses.
According to Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), management accountants have the expertise to provide high-quality information because they 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:
Above all, due to the rigorous CMA certification process (which includes holding a bachelor’s degree) 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. CMAs work for public corporations, private businesses, and government agencies.
Being a CMA sets you on a career path that affords you a wealth of opportunities. And these opportunities grow as you gain more experience.
A management accountant typically starts in an entry-level position as an internal auditor, cost accountant, or financial analyst. After a few years of experience, a management accountant may manage a team of internal auditors or analysts, or they may work as a financial controller.
After many years of experience, a management accountant may become a treasurer or CFO. A master’s degree is not always required for advanced managerial accounting positions, but they are often preferred.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for accountants and auditors is strong with an anticipated growth rate of 4% between 2019 and 2029.
Here are some of the top management accounting jobs available at varying levels of experience.
If you have plans of pursuing a leadership career path, it may be worth it to become both a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
Not only are dual CPA and CMAs more valuable due to their wide scope of knowledge, but they command higher salaries.
Wondering if the CPA is worth it? Discover 5 reasons you might want to earn your CPA and CMA.
The IMA Global Salary Survey cites those professionals who hold both certifications earn 47 percent more than their non-credentialed peers, and the pay gap increases to 58 percent for professionals ages 30-39.
Here’s a helpful table to help you understand the key differences between Management Accountants and Financial Accountants.
|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||Primarily historical|
|Nature of the information||Financial and non-financial||Mostly financial|
|Reporting frequency||As & when desired by management||Quarterly or annually|
|Format of information||Information must be provided in accordance with predefined standards such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)||Information must be provided in accordance with predefined standards such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)|
|Control||Information may be reviewed by internal auditors||Information is reviewed 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.