What Is Management Accounting? Detailed Guide

management accounting
Photo by Mikhail Nilov
Table of Contents Hide
  1. What is Management Accounting?
  2. Steps to Becoming a Management Accountant
    1. #1. Consider an Accounting Degree 
    2. #2. Accumulate Professional Experience
    3. #3. Join the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
    4. #4. Enroll in the Program For Certified Management Accountants (CMA)
    5. #5. Pass the Certified Management Accountant Exam
    6. #6. Beginning in The Field 
    7. What are the Functions of Management Accountants?
    8. #1. Accounting and Planning 
    9. #2. Controlling
    10. #3. Accountability 
    11. #4. Collaboration 
    12. #5. Communication
    13. #6. Financial Assessment and Interpretation
  3. Essential Skills to Succeed in Management Accounting
    1. #1. Strong Numeracy Abilities 
    2. #2. Interpersonal and Teamwork Abilities
    3. #3. Ability to Work Under Duress 
    4. #4. IT Expertise 
  4. Elements Of Management Accounting
    1. #1. Accounting for Cost and Valuation
    2. #2. Cash Flow Accounting
    3. #3. Inventory Accounting
    4. #4. Constraint Analysis
  5. Is Management Accounting Right for You?
    1. #1. You Want To Do Something That Necessitates Analytical Abilities
    2. #2. You Would Like to Work in Management
    3. #3. You Have a Knack for Numbers
    4. #4. You are Enthusiastic About Accounting
  6. Techniques used in Managerial Accounting
    1. #1. Analyse the Margins
    2. #2. Trend Evaluation
    3. #3. Capital Planning
    4. #4. Analysis of Constraints
    5. #5. Product Costing and Inventory Valuation
    6. #6. Standard Pricing
  7. Salaries in Management Accounting
  8. How Difficult is Management Accounting?
  9. Is CIMA More Difficult Than ACCA?
  10. How Long Does CIMA UK Take To Complete?
  11. Is it Necessary to Audit Management Accounting?
  12. What is the Highest Level of Accounting in the United Kingdom?
  13. Conclusion
  14. Related Articles
  15. References
    1. Related

Have you ever wondered what management accounting is and what the certificate in management accounting is? Then this is the article for you. If you enjoy keeping track of a company’s income and expenses but also desire a position with significant responsibility and authority, management accounting may be the job for you.

Management accountants work for public and private companies, as well as government agencies. So you can imagine the number of job opportunities available.

In this article, we will talk about the certificate involved in management accounting, the necessary skills and the functions of a management accountant.

What is Management Accounting?

Management accounting is the collection and presentation of financial data to advise business managers and senior stakeholders within an organisation. Management accountants assist in forecasting future purchases and investments for company growth by providing operational business metrics and market analysis. Managerial accounting is critical for businesses because it allows them to convert hard financial data into information that they can analyse and use to make better decisions.

Steps to Becoming a Management Accountant

Earn a degree in accounting, gain professional experience, and consider a Certified Management Accounting (CMA) certificate to become a management accountant. To get started in management accounting, follow these six steps.

#1. Consider an Accounting Degree 

The first step towards becoming a management accountant is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business management, or a related field. Some people may pursue an associate degree in management accounting; however, certification requires a bachelor’s degree. Because this is a management position within a company, many employers prefer a graduate degree, so be prepared to pursue your master’s in management accounting if necessary.

#2. Accumulate Professional Experience

Build your skills while gaining experience after earning a degree to prepare for future employment or certification. You could also pursue advanced degrees. Management positions will necessitate professional experience. Some management accountants progress from lower-level positions such as auditing clerks, bookkeepers, or assistant controllers.

#3. Join the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

To pursue a certificate as a certified management accountant, you must be a member of the IMA. Membership in the IMA allows you to access its resources and apply for certification. To maintain your certificate in management accounting, you must pay an annual membership fee and meet ongoing continuing education requirements.

#4. Enroll in the Program For Certified Management Accountants (CMA)

Membership in the CMA, payment of a program fee, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, and at least two years of consecutive professional experience are all required to enroll in the CMA program. You have up to a year after enrolling to study and prepare for the CMA program.

#5. Pass the Certified Management Accountant Exam

The CMA exam is divided into two parts that will assess your knowledge of financial planning, performance, and analytics, as well as strategic financial management. The test can be taken in person at an authorized testing location or remotely. The IMA offers several testing windows per year. There is a separate exam fee.

#6. Beginning in The Field 

When you’ve completed the education and gotten the certificate in management accounting and also the experience required for a career in management accounting, it’s time to network and continue developing relevant skills. Prepare to begin in an entry-level position in an organization’s finance department. Concentrate on gaining real-world experience in this role and look for opportunities to hone your skills to advance in management accounting.

What are the Functions of Management Accountants?

Management accountants’ functions are determined by their job positions, agreement with the organisation, knowledge, and capabilities. On that basis, the following tasks of a management accountant are briefly explained:

#1. Accounting and Planning 

Management accountants create an accounting system that includes costs, sales forecasts, profit planning, production planning, and resource allocation. Capital budgeting, as well as short- and long-term financial planning, should be included. They also prepare the procedures needed to effectively implement the plan.

#2. Controlling

Management accountants help organizations control their performance by using standard costing, accounting ratios, budget control, revenue and fund flow statements, cost-cutting initiatives, and evaluating capital expenditure proposals and returns on investment.

#3. Accountability 

Management accountants assist top management in determining the root cause of an unfavorable operation or event by identifying the true causes of the adverse events, as well as the responsible parties, and thoroughly reporting them.

#4. Collaboration 

Management accountants help organizations improve their efficiency and profits by providing various coordination tools such as budgeting, financial reporting, financial analysis and interpretation, and so on. These tools assist management by comparing cost and financial records, creating financial budgets and standard costs, and analyzing cost deviations to enable exception management.

#5. Communication

Management accountants create a variety of reports to communicate results to superiors, motivate employees, maintain effective control over their operations, and assist management in making sound decisions. They also inform the outside world about their company’s success through published financial statements and returns.

#6. Financial Assessment and Interpretation

Management accountants analyze data and present it to management in a non-technical manner, along with their comments and ideas, so that shareholders and senior management employees understand it and can make informed decisions.

Essential Skills to Succeed in Management Accounting

To improve your chances of success in management accounting, consider strengthening the following essential accounting skills:

#1. Strong Numeracy Abilities 

Accountants rely on numeracy to gather, analyze, and report on data and financial records. Many management accounting tasks are diverse, and having an adaptable working knowledge of mathematics is essential. Working with numbers allows you to examine and interpret figures as well as understand the company’s internal calculations.

#2. Interpersonal and Teamwork Abilities

Management accountants frequently collaborate with financial analysts, managers, and financial accountants to ensure the safety and health of a company’s finances. They must have strong interpersonal and teamwork skills to communicate effectively with their team members. It is also critical that they continue to improve their written communication skills, which they use to create and report on financial statements, budgets, and project updates.

#3. Ability to Work Under Duress 

Although accounting can be tedious at times, management accounting is a dynamic field. For example, you could be in charge of delivering last-minute financial reports and meeting tight deadlines. You can improve your ability to work under pressure by developing a task prioritization strategy. It’s also beneficial to understand how to effectively break down those tasks and maintain motivation by practicing gratitude or engaging in other mindfulness-related activities after work.

#4. IT Expertise 

Management accountants use a variety of IT solutions in their daily work. Companies typically integrate accounting software with other tools, such as CRM (customer relationship management) solutions, business communication platforms, reporting applications, or information management systems.

Elements Of Management Accounting

Some of these elements may be similar to those found in other financial accounting methods, but management accounting’s primary focus is on assisting a company’s internal financial operations. Here are some key aspects of management accounting in which you could specialize:

#1. Accounting for Cost and Valuation

Cost accounting is concerned with calculating and measuring the total costs of developing a company’s products or services. Specialists in this type of management accounting may specialize in one of the costing subcategories, such as variable, fixed, or direct.

#2. Cash Flow Accounting

Employees who specialize in cash flow accounting record and assess an organization’s incoming cash flow to forecast future income streams. Their work assists business executives in making investment decisions, expanding market reach, and developing new products.

#3. Inventory Accounting

Inventory accounting is the management and evaluation of all financial and managerial decisions concerning a company’s inventory, such as storing costs. Having access to this data enables managers to decide whether to discontinue or develop new versions of best-selling products.

#4. Constraint Analysis

The primary concern of constraint analysis is the financial bottlenecks within a company. Management accountants who specialise in this field assist company executives in managing a bottleneck that affects an organisation’s overall profitability.

Is Management Accounting Right for You?

If you enjoy working with data, numbers, and finances, management accounting may be for you. Management accounting can be a rewarding and exciting career, especially as technology advances, making data analysis and collection more precise. Consider the following factors to see if this is the field for you:

#1. You Want To Do Something That Necessitates Analytical Abilities

If you have the patience and attention span required to analyze data for patterns or trends, this could be the career for you. Data analysis necessitates delving into the details and then interpreting the results for presentation purposes

#2. You Would Like to Work in Management

Multiple managerial positions are available in this field, making it an excellent choice if management is one of your long-term career goals.

#3. You Have a Knack for Numbers

Because management accounting is a subset of accounting, you must be very comfortable with numbers and proficient in fundamental skills.

#4. You are Enthusiastic About Accounting

Aside from mathematical and analytical abilities, if you enjoy the challenges of balancing books, setting budgets, and problem-solving, this field may be for you. Accounting necessitates critical thinking as well as deductive reasoning.

Techniques used in Managerial Accounting

Following are the techniques that are used by management accounting professionals:

#1. Analyse the Margins

It is the comparison of the benefits of an activity to the additional costs incurred by the same activity. Companies use this technique in decision-making to maximise potential profits. It aids in determining the advantages of business activities and financial decisions.

#2. Trend Evaluation

Trend analysis is used in accounting to examine financial statements for inaccuracies and determine whether certain headings need to be adjusted. It is one of the most useful management forecasting tools. The results of trend analysis can be used to identify unusual patterns and resolve underlying issues. It analyzes market sentiment using historical data. This enables management to make better business decisions.

#3. Capital Planning

Capital budgeting is the process by which management identifies projects that will yield the highest returns on investment over time. Management can evaluate the profitable investment projects with the highest ROI using this process. This method selects a profitable project based on IRR, NPV, and PB.

#4. Analysis of Constraints

This entails analyzing bottlenecks in the financial system that prevent the organisation from performing optimally. Through this analysis, the organisation focuses on maximizing the utilization of bottlenecks, which control the business’s profitability. The effects of principal bottlenecks on profit, cash flow, and revenue are also calculated.

#5. Product Costing and Inventory Valuation

It is the accounting process of determining the worth of a company’s inventory. Because inventory comprises the majority of a company’s assets, its valuation can be critical to maximizing profitability. Financial experts can obtain an accurate understanding of a company’s gross profitability through proper inventory valuation.

#6. Standard Pricing

It is the practice of replacing expected costs with actual costs in accounting records. This is an alternative to a cost layering system in which historical cost information for inventory items in stock is kept. This entails estimating the costs of various activities within the company. When determining the actual cost is time-consuming, this technique is used to get a close approximation of the cost.

Salaries in Management Accounting

If you’re a recent graduate looking for work in management accounting, you might start with an entry-level position. An accounts assistant earns an annual salary of £21,855. After gaining relevant knowledge and experience in the field, you may want to consider working as an independent management accountant, earning an average of £35,897 per year. Working in this role may allow you to advance to a leadership position, where you would supervise the work of other accountants and manage the company’s financial department. A finance manager’s annual salary is, on average, £43,356.

Differences Between Management Accounting and Financial Accounting

 Financial AccountingManagement Accounting
ObjectivesThe main objectives of financial accounting are to disclose the results of the business and the financial condition of the business on a particular date.The main objective of managerial accounting is to help management by providing information that is used to plan, set goals and evaluate these goals.
AudienceFinancial accounting produces information that is used by external parties, such as shareholders and lenders.Managerial accounting produces information that is used within an organisation by managers and employees.
OptionalIt is legally required to prepare financial accounting reports and share them with investors.Managerial accounting reports are not legally required.
Segment reportingPertains to the entire organisation.Certain figures may be broken out for materially significant business units.Pertains to individual departments in addition to the entire organisation.
FocusPertains to the entire organisation. Certain figures may be broken out for materially significant business units.Managerial accounting focuses on the present and forecasts for the future.
FormatFinancial accounting focuses on history and reports on the prior quarter or year.The format is informal and is on a per-department/company basis as needed.

How Difficult is Management Accounting?

Because of the demands of meeting the needs of various people as well as the business, this type of role can be stressful.

Is CIMA More Difficult Than ACCA?

Which is more difficult, ACCA or CIMA? Both qualifications present challenges and are equally difficult, requiring hard work, motivation, and discipline.

How Long Does CIMA UK Take To Complete?

The CIMA course is divided into four levels, with a total of nine exams known as objective tests and three case studies. The majority of students can complete CIMA in 4–5 years.

Is it Necessary to Audit Management Accounting?

Simply put, managerial accounting does not necessitate independent audits because the information is not initially distributed to the company’s external users (i.e., creditors and investors).

What is the Highest Level of Accounting in the United Kingdom?

The CA qualification provides you with the most advanced accounting and business training available. And, with a new, enhanced syllabus that includes modules ranging from finance and accounting to broader business skills, training with ICAS provides you with the variety and edge you need to stay ahead of the competition.


I hope this article has helped you understand what management accounting is in depth, as well as the certificate in management accounting. Management accounting is a critical branch of accounting for internal purposes. Organizations can use management accounting to make long-term business decisions that maximize profits.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *