Management accountants specialise in providing information and advice to managers in all kinds of organisations.
Management accountants specialise in providing
information and advice to managers in all kinds
of organisations. They differ from financial
accountants in that they tend to be more involved with
general management, working with managers to analyse
costs and revenues and helping to develop business
strategy to maximise performance.
As management accountants can work in any sector,
career paths can be quite flexible. It is possible for a
management accountant to progress to the role of
financial manager, who works with managers at a high
level. Working across the private and public sectors,
financial managers usually hold budget responsibility and
often manage a financial team or department.
What will I do?
Management accountants’ main day-to-day tasks include
producing reports such as monthly accounts, budgets and
forecasts to monitor the organisation’s financial
performance and to assist managers in making strategic
decisions. In larger organisations, graduates often
specialise in a particular area of work function or
geographical region. Management accountants working
for capital-intensive companies may also complete some
aspects of investment analysis or appraisal as part of their
Large organisations such as industry conglomerates
run graduate training schemes in which you will usually
rotate around different divisions or departments to gain a
broad overview of management accountancy. Initial
inductions may be less formal in smaller organisations,
and specialism is less common. As a management
accountant, you will usually be based in your
organisation’s offices rather than on client sites.
Like financial accountancy, management accountancy
accepts graduates from all disciplines. You will have the
opportunity to become professionally qualified through a
professional association such as the Chartered Institute of
Management Accountants. This involves studying to
complete the required examinations while working.
To thrive in this career, you require a good commercial
understanding to advise managers, as well as top-notch
interpersonal skills to forge positive working relationships.
Keeping to deadlines and having a firm knowledge of
accountancy standards will also stand you in good stead.
The contribution that management accountants make to
an organisation’s strategy and financial success has been
increasingly recognised over recent years. While
monitoring cash flow and profit and loss remains an
essential component of the work, management
accountants are increasingly expected to be involved in
devising business strategy. As such, management
accountancy is excellent preparation for general
management and executive finance positions.