Management accountants are involved in the recording and analyzing of the financial information for the companies they work for. The information that management accountants prepare is designed to inform the decisions of business managers and executives and is not for the general public.
Management or managerial accountants use information that is related to the costs of products or services that are bought by the company. Management accountants use performance reports to note when there are deviations of actual results from budgets. This type of accountant typically works on budgeting and the evaluation of performance. They also may asist organizations to plan the cost of doing business. Some accountants may work with financial managers on subjects such as asset management; this involves planning and selecting financial investments including stocks, bonds and real estate.
What Is Management Accounting?
Management or managerial accounting is also known as cost accounting. This is the process of identifying, analyzing, measuring, interpreting and communicating information to business managers so they can achieve an organization’s business goals. The major difference between management and financial accounting is the former is intended to help managers in the company make business decisions, while the latter is aimed to give accounting information to entities outside the organization, such as tax authorities. Management accounting deals with all fields of accounting that are aimed at providing management with information about acounting and business operations metrics.
Major aspects of management accounting include:
- Margin analysis
- Constraint analysis
- Capital budgeting
- Trend analysis and forecasting
- Product costing and valuation
The employment outlook for accountants is quite bright; the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports the field overall will see a 10% increase in demand from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than average when compared to other occupations. It is anticipated that globalization, a stronger economy and a more complex tax and regulatory environment will continue to bring strong demand for auditors and accountants.
Generally, the demand for management accountants is always tied to the overall health of the ecnomy. The US economy has been seeing strong growth in recent years with low unemployment, which indicates a positive trend for accountants overall. As the economy is growing, there are more businesses opening and expanding operations, and more management accountants will be needed to both prepare and examine financial records. Also, as more companies are going public, there will be more of a need for management accountants and public accountants.
While job demand will increase, it also is expected that technology will evolve the role of accountants in the next decade. Many routine accounting tasks are getting more automated, and this will make accounting work more efficient. But the demand for accountants will still rise because there will be more need for management accountants in advisory and analytical roles.
As of 2016, accountants and auditors held approximately 1.4 million jobs across the US. The largest employers of accountants and auditors were:
- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services: 25%
- Government: 8%
- Finance and insurance: 8%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 7%
- Self employed accountants and auditors: 7%
As of May 2017, the median wage for accountants and auditors was $69,300, with the top 10% earning in excess of $122,000. BLS reported wages for accountants and auditors in various industries were:
- Finance and insurance: $74,100
- Management of companies and enterprises: $72,000
- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services: $69,400
- Government: $67,100
Payscale.com reports the average salary for a management accountant is $59,200 per year. Glassdoor.com reports the average salary for the same profession is $64,000 per year.
Companies in every industry employ management accountants and public accountants. You also can work for an accounting firm that contracts with companies to provide accounting services. Some of the biggest accounting firms in the US are:
- Ernst & Young
- Grant Thornton
- BDO USA
- RSM US
- Plante Moran
To get a foothold in the accounting industry, it is necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting. A bachelor’s degree in accounting, such as the one offered at Southern New Hampshire Univeersity, will teach you how to apply and analyze the rules and regulations for mangerial accounting and reporting. You also will learn how to generate financial records and reports for internal use according to federal rules and regulations. Students also will learn to analyze, interpret and communicate complex accounting information to internal stakeholders.
A master’s degree in accounting is usually one of three degrees: Master of Accounting, Master of Professional Accounting, or a Master of Science in Accounting. You also have the option of earning an MBA with a concentration on accounting, although the latter degree is not usually the degree of choice for a full time accounting professional. The MBA in accounting is best for the business management profesisonal who wants to have a solid background in accounting principles. Typical courses are in legal and ethical issues in finance and accounting; managerial accounting for organizations, analysis and communication for the financial professional, and managing regulatory compliance.
To become a Certified Public Accountant or CPA, you must have completed 150 semester hours of college coursework to sit for the exam. Some accounting professionals earn a bachelor’s and then a master’s in accounting to satisfy these requirements, but some schools offer five year bachelor’s and master’s programs so you can earn one degree in five years and then sit for the CPA exam.
Accounting By State
Learn more about Accounting career opportunities by state including salary figures, outlook as well as campus and online accounting programs available.
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Common admissions requirements for a master’s program in accounting are:
- GPA of 2.75 or higher
- Bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance or related field
- College transcripts
- GRE scores may be required by some programs
- Writing samples
The required curriculum for a bachelor’s degree in accounting an SNHU includes these courses:
- Cost Accounting
- Intermediate Accounting I-III
- Federal Taxation I
- Financial Statement Analysis and Business Valuation
- Advanced Accounting
- Auditing Principles
- Business Law I and II
Do you need help financially to earn your accounting degree? Consider applying for these grants and scholarships:
- IMA Memorial Education Fund Scholarship: Varies
- Stuart Cameron & Margaret McLeod Memorial Scholarship: Varies
- CMA Scholarship Program: Covers the cost of the CMA (certified management accountant) examination
- AICPA Minority Accounting Students Scholarships: $5000
- American Society of Women Accountants: $2000
- Catching the Dream Program: Varies
- Davidson Fellows Scholarshp: $50,000
- Fifth Year Accounting Student Scholarship Program: $5000
- Fontana Transport, Inc. Scholars Program: $5000
- Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship: $8000
To accelerate your accounting career, consider earning these certifications and designations:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Bank Auditor (CBA)
Consider networking in these associations to improve your accounting career prospects:
- American Accounting Association
- National Society of Accountants
- Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance
- National Association of Black Accountants
- Interamerican Accounting Association
The management accounting profession is a growing one in the strong economy. If you decide to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting, you should be well prepared for a strong, profitable career in the accounting field, no matter which industry you choose.
- Accountants and Auditors. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-2