What are Management Accounts? Ultimate Guide

what are management accounts
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Regularly reporting management accounts allows you and your team to see the impact of business choices shortly after they are made. The goal is to make better decisions in the future.

Alternatively, simply provide your bookkeeper with a comprehensive how-to guide for setting outstanding management accounts at no additional expense to what you are already paying them.

This guide contains advice, examples, and step-by-step directions. So, continue reading to use this article to review your current reporting.

What are Management Accounts?

Management accounts are often created weekly, quarterly, or annually to assist business owners and executives in gauging the financial health of the organisation.

The primary distinction between these and other financial statements is the intended audience: management accounts are only for internal use. This means they have not been audited and do not follow a legally regulated reporting pattern. As a result, they can be anything you want them to be.

Why Management Accounts Are So Important?

Management accounts are financial statements that include data such as your profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow forecast. They are typically produced on a monthly or quarterly basis, but why are they significant, and why should you prepare them?

#1. Better Information

Management accounts provide you with up-to-date financial information about your company. When you have a clear picture of your company now, you can make better decisions for tomorrow.

This, for example, will allow you to examine operating margins and discover products that are selling slowly. You will be able to track sales quantities, which will allow you to better plan things like staffing levels. You will also have more information to arrange your supply levels so that you have enough to meet demand.

#2. Better Control

Management accounts also provide you with greater control over your company. You will be able to recognise sales trends, such as comparisons to the same trade period in prior years or changes in the volume of specific products.

When you compile and examine management accounts, you will also have more control over your spending. Costs can quickly spiral out of control, especially during busy trade periods, but management accounts provide a rapid and easy-to-understand perspective. You will be able to find areas where you can spend less while getting the same outcome using this knowledge.

#3. Helps You Grow Your Business

When you can immediately spot sales trends, you will have greater knowledge for planning development, diversification, or expansion. Without facts, all you have is gut emotion, which may be costly in business.

#4. Increases cash flow

Updating your management accounts will help you examine your present financial situation. This will serve as the foundation for more accurate cash flow forecasts and planning.

#5. Helps With Tax Planning

When you have precise and up-to-date information about your company, you may better plan your tax liabilities, especially with the government’s different tax payment deferment options.

#6. Reduces Year End Audit and Accounting Costs

Finally, having a system that involves the regular creation of management accounts should reduce your year-end accounting costs because concerns and queries are flagged up early and can be rectified quickly, rather than trying to do everything at the end of the year.

What Should You Include in Management Accounts? 

Management accounts should be adapted to the needs and objectives of the unique organisation, thus, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, the following information is frequently included in management reports:

#1. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are measurable targets that you want your company to achieve over a specific time period. They might be monetary or based on performance.

You might wish to concentrate on the following areas:

  • growth in sales 
  • gross profit margin 
  • cash flow 
  • number of customers 
  • customer satisfaction levels 
  • number of sales leads 

Check your management accounts to see if you’re on track to reach your KPIs. If you realise that you are not on track, you will know where you need to improve.

#2. Profit and loss (P&L) statement

An income statement, often known as a profit and loss statement, details your revenue, direct costs, and expenses. Subtracting all expenses from income yields your company’s net profit or loss.

Management accounts can include a profit and loss statement for each department or location to illustrate which are performing the best. You can also compare your P&L results to projections or industry benchmarks and make adjustments as needed.

#3. Cash position

It is critical that you keep track of your company’s cash flow to avoid running out of funds. Include a summary of how much cash flows in and out of your business over the time covered by the management accounts. This is important to understand before making any investment decisions. It will also indicate whether you require funding.

Use your management accounts to look for patterns in the data, such as how long it takes clients to settle invoices.

All of information will help you construct a cash flow forecast, which will show how much cash is likely to enter and exit the business in the future.

#4. Balance sheet 

A balance sheet depicts your company’s financial health at a specific point in time. It covers the assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity of the company. This enables you to determine how much your company owns vs how much it owes, as well as the extent to which you may pay your debts.

#5. Other information 

Management accounts may also provide a more in-depth examination of specific sectors of the firm or non-financial data.

They may, for example, focus on the performance of a specific project, product, location, or department. They may also contain personnel numbers, productivity levels, unit sales volumes, customer complaints, new or lost customer numbers, and so on.

External data, such as industry averages or general market conditions, may also be included in management accounts.

How to Prepare Management Accounts in Simple Steps

In this section, we’ll show you exactly how to structure and prepare your management accounts. If you already have a bookkeeper, they can handle this. You do not require the services of an accountant! You will not have to pay them anything more for this; it is virtually totally part of their present job position.

#1. The Most Important Part: The Structure

If you only accomplish one thing, you will have fantastic management accounts. You must communicate to your bookkeeper how you envision your business. In this manner, they can then report your management accounts.

Answering these questions will provide you with a business map to give to the bookkeeper. Do NOT look at any of your existing financial reports:

  • Do you wish to track certain groups or a variety of your products or services? For instance, a restaurant that wants to track profit on food, non-alcoholic beverages, and alcohol.
  • Do you wish to follow different categories of customers? (For example, you may have four distinct consumer kinds in your head.)
  • Do you wish to monitor many locations? For example, a nursery business may wish to track profit by nursery location.
  • Is there anything else you’d like to keep an eye on?

#2. Gather tracking area data for each invoice.

You’ll also need a way to tell the bookkeeper which monitoring category each invoice belongs to, for example, if you wish to track product kind (food, drink, and alcohol). One simple method is to have a skilled employee write the information at the top of the invoice.

#3. Create a data gathering system for each region you want to monitor.

The bookkeeper must now mark each sale or expense by the region you are tracking. This is simple in Xero accounting software. For product types (food, drink, and alcohol), we’ll use the same tracking area as before. Create a product type tracking category and insert your three product types. Another, more complicated method is to have your bookkeeper use separate nominal codes.

#4. Request that the bookkeeper input the final journals.

Ensure that the salary, depreciation, stock, and loan journals are entered by your bookkeeper. They should be able to enter all of these themselves. This is all you need to do 95% of the time to receive the data you need for quality management accounts.

#5. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Choose which KPIs to track as a company, then simply add them to your Futrli report. Remember that you may not require sophisticated KPIs; simple financial KPIs may suffice.

If you want more detailed KPIs, take these steps: Choose the KPIs you want to utilise. It will be determined by your industry and what you wish to track right now. For example, strive to expand, increase quality, or streamline operations. Assign staff to gather additional data (e.g., idle staff time, customer retention rate). Then, either pay your bookkeeper to manually compute the KPIs and report them to you, or use a reporting platform.

#6. Set Budgets and track against them

These can also be created in Futrli and included in your report. Determine the company’s annual profit target and the sales and costs required to achieve it. Remember to account for both variable (costs of sale) and fixed (all other costs). Check if the bookkeeper is tracking against the budgeted values. Then, later, set up automatic notifications.

Keys to Effective Management Accounts

Here are a few guidelines to follow to guarantee that your management accounts are impactful and effective:

#1. Stick to the important topics

Because these management reports do not have to adhere to a strict framework, you can include and highlight only the essential performance indicators and metrics that are most important to your company. Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that determine the financial health and success of the firm based on your corporate strategy for the quarter or year. Then, create management accounts based on these.

#2. Ensure a fast turnaround

Monthly is the most typical closing date. This regularity guarantees that you have a fairly complete view of the company’s financial status at all times, but your finance team (ideally) does not spend every waking second compiling accounts.

However, at this pace, you must ensure that the books are closed and reports are completed within the first week, ideally within the first 3-5 days. Otherwise, you will have to wait far too long to evaluate financial performance. By the time decision-making begins, you’re almost ready to close the books again.

#3. Automate where possible

Your highly competent financial personnel should concentrate on data analysis rather than manual data entry or adjustments. If it takes more than a few days to prepare the books, it is most likely due to accountants having to go back and modify entries or missing papers and data.

#4. Quality at the end of the month equals quality at the end of the year

Most firms value their year-end close procedure more than their month-end close process. That is most likely correct. However, having clean, well-maintained monthly books is the greatest method to keep the year-end speedy and accurate.

If you spend weeks each year going back through previous periods and modifying or correcting errors, you know you have a problem. The month-end must be as rigorous as the annual closing. Because you’re dealing with less data, this should be quite simple.

#5. A clear and compelling narrative

The capacity to convey a story with financial data is a significant benefit of management accounting. From the standpoint of the CFO or finance team, your responsibility is to appropriately portray the company’s financial status and demonstrate why you’re in this position. Based on this, leaders can devise a strategy for either continuing the good work or making essential changes.

What is the Difference Between Management Accounts and Full Accounts?

Statutory accounts provide a summary of a company’s financial activities, whereas management accounts examine financial activities in greater detail. The former is an annual technical analysis of the company’s finances during a specific time period, while the latter provides an in-depth look at specific areas at any time of year.

What is the Difference Between Management Accounts and Financial Statements?

Financial accounting is the collecting of accounting data to construct financial statements, whereas managerial accounting is the internal procedures used to account for corporate transactions.

Are Management Accounts Compulsory?

Management accounts are not required by law, but they do serve as a significant tool in analysing current financial performance, allowing management to make short and long-term decisions.

How Often are Management Accounts Prepared?

Management accounts are typically created on a regular and consistent basis to ensure that a business owner or management team gets the most out of their monitoring efforts. There is no hard and fast rule regarding this, however, they are often generated monthly or quarterly.

Who Needs Management Accounting?

Managers, accountants, and executives inside the organisation are the key users of management accounting information.


These are just a few of the advantages of small business management accounts. There are numerous benefits to consider, ranging from cheaper accounting costs to lower tax liabilities and even a stronger relationship with your bank manager.


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