What do management accountants do? The following table, based on a survey of CMAs, shows the percentage of respondents who named a particular work activity as in the top five work activity in terms of time devoted to the activity.
Accounting system and financial reporting – 62%
Managing the accounting function – 42%
Internal consulting – 42%
Short-term budgeting – 37%
Long-term strategic planning – 25%
Financial and economic analysis – 24%
Computer system and operations – 21%
Process improvement – 20%
Performance evaluation – 17%
Tax compliance – 14%
Accounting policy – 13%
Project accounting – 11%
Consolidations – 11%
In terms of importance, management accountants ranked the abilities and skills needed to succed as follows:
1. Communication skills
2. Ability to work on a team
3. Analytical/problem solving skill
4. Solid understanding of accounting
5. Understanding of how a business functions
6. Computer skills
What changes in work activities are projected in the future for management accountants?
Projected to become more important are.
Long-term strategic planning
Performing financial and accounting analysis
Computer system and operation
Projected to become less important are
Accounting systems and financial reporting
Managing the accounting/finance function
Short term budgeting
The increasing use of information technology in the future was seen from the survey as helping management accountants spend a lower percentage of their time on data collection and financial statement preparation and a higher percentage on financial analysis.
The survey indicates a clear shift away from activities we traditionally think of as the core of the controller‘s responsibilities- managing the function, ensuring business controls, and planning and reporting- toward activities we think of as business partnering- strategic planning, business leadership, analyzing and interpreting information, decision making, process improvements, and performance evaluation.
The following question-answer format summarizes the chapters learning objectives.
1. What information does cost accounting provide?
Cost accounting measures and reports financial information and other information related to the acquisition or consumption of an organization‘s resources. Cost accounting provides information to both management accounting and financial accounting.
2. How do management accountants support strategic decisions?
Management accountants contribute to strategic decisions by providing information about the source of competitive advantage and by helping managers identify and build a company‘s resources and capabilities
3. What role do management accountants perform?
In most organizations, management accountants perform multiple roles: problem solving (comparative analyses for decision making), score keeping (accumulating data and reporting reliable results), and attention directing (helping managers properly focus their attention).