The world of finance is vast and for a beginner, quite overwhelming, to say the least. In this series, we at Orbit Institutes take you through some of the finance professions out there, so you can make an informed choice. Today we’ll explore what it takes to be a management accountant.
What do management accountants do?
Have you ever dreamed of being a chief executive officer or a chief financial officer of a company? Then your interest may lie in management accounting.
Management accountants work across multiple fields and across all areas of an organization. They essentially advise management on the financial implications of their decisions. They also suggest ways for the company to improve their bottom line and manage financial risks.
On a day to day basis a management accountant may supervise the work of other junior accountants in the company. In smaller firms however they may take on the tasks of their juniors as well, becoming a one stop shop for all the financial needs of the company. They also take charge of ensuring that the company follows all compliance laws. Some management accountants may have a specific area of financial expertise such as taxation . Depending on the requirement a company may have hired them keeping their specialisation in mind.
Who needs management accountants?
It is only natural for one to wonder about the potential of the scope of work available in a certain career path. And those entering management accountancy are in luck!
Management accountants are hired by all kinds of companies be it private firms, large enterprises, government agencies and so on and so forth. They are also not restricted by sector.
How do management accountants differ from public accountants?
A management accountant usually holds a job with one company at a time unlike public accountants who can advise multiple clients at a go. The other difference is that public accountants are usually required to focus on certain aspects such as auditing or taxation, as opposed to the overall view that management accountants are expected to have.
Skills required to be a management accountant
Fundamentally all management accountants are required to have an aptitude for both numbers and business. This includes a foundation in basic accounting along with some amount of economics.
As with any other management role, soft skills are a must. A good management accountant will not just have strong communication skills but will also have great interpersonal skills. The person must be good at collaborating both within and outside of the department. Very often the people a management accountant deals with may not have a background in finance.at these junctures the management accountant needs to be able to summarise and simplify their data, without losing its important aspects.
Big picture thinking
one of the most important skills for a management accountant is the ability to see the overall picture. How would one decision impact the company over time? How do current market trends affect your business and what are the factors that drive your business as a whole? Being able to see beyond the numbers and answer these questions to create and modify strategies is what management accountants need to excel in.
While the above maybe the primary skills required, a management accountant also needs to have excellent problem-solving and analytical skills apart from other things.
As with any other career one needs to begin at the bottom and climb upwards. For a management accountant this usually means starting as a staff accountant or an analyst and growing from there. At mid-level one maybe a senior accountant, accounting manager or even a senior internal auditor. To display true growth in this field one must work on projects that utilise their decision making skills. That could involve volunteering for extra projects and consistently upgrading one’s skills and demonstrating expertise in multiple areas.
Management accountancy is a highly sought after and lucrative career. We at Orbit Institutes work towards helping budding accountants achieve the professional certification of a certified management accountant (CMA). This certification is awarded by the institute of management accountants (IMA) and is a must for anyone aspiring to become a management accountant.