Strategic Management Accounting

Programme Overview
Management Accounting addresses the tools and techniques organisations use to make decisions and drive behaviours to achieve their strategic goals. The emphasis is both technical and behavioural. Management Accounting addresses questions as varied as what information is needed in decision-making, what the characteristics of well-designed incentive systems are, or how digital transformation will change the corporate finance function in practice. Every organisation uses management accounting principles.

This programme will equip you with a systematic and rigorous knowledge of management accounting, firmly rooted in the context of strategic management.

The programme targets high-level graduates seeking a long-term career with leadership-level responsibility in the corporate finance function, management consulting, controlling and accounting.

Our close ties with the business world and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world's leading professional body of management accounting, have enhanced the design of the course so that it responds to strategic corporate needs.

The select worldwide status of this programme grants successful graduates exemptions from all CIMA exams except the final integrated case study at CIMA strategic level and an invaluable management accounting specialisation.

A blended teaching approach characterised by varied in-class methods (lectures, seminars, case studies, guest speakers from industry) provides a balance between theoretical learning and skill development. Top-class faculty and senior expert practitioners ensure the academic rigour and real-life relevance of the course content.

What will I learn?
The course develops the necessary skills and knowledge to analyse business strategy and how business works, provide the relevant information required for business and strategic decisions, integrate the "people side" of numbers, and manage successful strategy implementation.

How will I benefit?
Successful completion of the course corresponds to an extensive knowledge base in the areas of management accounting, management control and performance management, backed by a vital set of technical, analytical and personal skills.

1. A firm grasp of the tools and techniques for measuring and managing business performance, financial reporting and analysis, and risk management.

2. Direct relevance of the course content to corporate needs, providing a solid foundation for a successful career within industry, in senior management and consulting positions.

3. A fast-track approach to completing the highly regarded international CIMA professional qualification and being awarded the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.

This multi-faceted, CIMA-accredited course is structured around 10 core modules and a dedicated professional skills module, covering a comprehensive range of specialist disciplines designed to deepen graduates' understanding of the financial and strategic workings of businesses.

The summer term offers students a capstone module including a dedicated speaker series on current finance function challenges and CFO perspectives. Students can also choose from some summer term modules or a research project, or in a small number of cases compete for an internship. With any possible internship opportunity, students have to go through a competitive recruitment process, including interviews with employers to be selected.

A CIMA strategic level final case study seminar at the end of the summer term allows students to kick-start their own preparation for this exam.

Vision / Values Statement
The MSc in Strategic Management Accounting prepares students for leadership roles in consulting, accounting and financial control in industry, and general business, by equipping students with the necessary technical, analytical and personal skills for their chosen career pathway. The course also meets the requirements of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) for direct entry into their final examination (Purpose).

Considering professional and practice requirements of graduates work environments, we aim to provide a learning environment that: equips our students with a systematic, rigorous and evidence-based knowledge of management accounting within the context of strategic management; and encourages our students to analyse and explain technical knowledge required, engage in problem identification and resolution, and enables them to act responsible when exposed to ethical considerations and issues in the practice of management accounting and strategic management (education and subject/discipline/professional values).

Module content will reflect technical management accounting and strategic management knowledge, with a strong emphasis on the application of concepts and theories to real-life and problem-solving scenarios. Insights from guest lectures from the business world will enhance the learning experience and augment students' ability to translate programme knowledge into understanding of managerial issues and practices (the nature of the learning environment for students).

Classroom-based sessions led by management accounting academics and senior practitioners. Extensive use of case studies and problem material to impart and consolidate classroom-based technical knowledge learning. Assessments comprise (i) a mixture of individual and group assignments, (ii). A summer research project, or two summer-school modules, or a summer internship, provide choice and an opportunity for students to consider and deepen contemporary academic and managerial issues (key approaches to teaching, learning and assessment).

Entry requirements

Please review the entry requirements below. The UCD Smurfit Admissions Office staff have expertise in reviewing international qualifications from around the world and will be able to assess your application's comparability to the Irish entry requirement.

• A minimum second-class honours grade 1 Business degree (or equivalent). An overall Irish system final average grade of 62% or GPA of 3.15/4.2 is required (or equivalent).

• Applicants are required to have a strong background in management accounting, financial accounting and reporting, finance, taxation or law and related subjects.

In general, applicants are required to have successfully completed 30 credits (e.g. 6 modules x 5 credits) in these subjects in their qualifying primary or postgraduate degree.

If English is not your first language, an English language qualification is required for admission to all of our programmes. the exception to this rule is if you have completed your primary degree or an entire third level qualification through English, in an English speaking country.

Some students might have to get a student visa in order to come and study in Ireland. Please check the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services website to see if you require a visa.

Subjects taught

Semester 1
• Performance Measurement and Management
• Strategic Corporate Finance
• Strategic Management
• Project Management
• Organisational Behaviour

Semester 2
• Management Control Systems
• International Financial Reporting and Analysis
• Risk Management Systems
• Corporate Governance and Ethics (SMA)

Summer Term
• Current Issues in Performance Measurement and Control

Option modules (15 ECTS - two modules)
• Mergers & Acquisitions
• Cross-Cultural Management
• The Science of Teams

• Enterprise-based Research/Dissertation (15 ECTS credits)

• Strategic Management Accounting Internship (15 ECTS credits).

Note: option modules listed are indicative of what has been delivered in previous years. What is offered each academic year is subject to change.


1 year full-time.


Fees Full-Time EU: €13,950 (academic year 2019/2020)
Full-Time Non-EU: €19,200 (academic year 2019/2020)

Important Note: Tuition fees and other charges are subject to change each year.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: September 2020

Post Course Info

Career opportunities
Our graduates are ready to effectively apply their knowledge and skills in practice and work at the heart of the finance community. They enjoy excellent job prospects. In 2016, 91% of our MSc in Strategic Management Accounting graduates were employed after 6 months across a range of industry sectors. (Source: First Destination Report 2016)

The programme provides access to a wide range of employment opportunities both nationally and internationally and including the Director of Finance / CFO pathway.

Since the programme's inception in 2010 our graduates have generally charted out their course along the following areas:
• in management consulting and advisory for strategy, finance operations and effectiveness at one of the Big Four firms.
• in top talent programmes, starting as Business Analyst, Management Accountant, Financial Controller, Financial / Commercial Finance Analyst, or in product pricing.
• as direct hires, depending on individual backgrounds. These graduates work at different levels in areas as varied as, e.g., M&A, procurement, general management, financial risk management and compliance, or management information systems, to name but a few.
• as trainees in auditing and assurance to become Chartered Certified (ACCA) or Chartered (ACA) accountant.

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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