Management accountants at the top of their game are often certified and are called certified management accountants (CMAs). They have achieved a level of professional competency and passed rigorous examinations to become certified. They work within organizations and focus on internal accounting for management review. They are different from CPAs (certified public accountants), whose accounting is generally for public review. Management accountants work at the onset of the work chain, looking at ways of improving processes, functions and decisions to provide the best results and provide the most value.
What a Management Accountant Does and Why you May Need One
Accountants in general set up a system for and then keep track of all financial records of a company with a view to easily presenting how much comes in and goes out. They prepare reports such as tax returns and financial statements. They also conduct audits to make sure that all financial records are accurate. Management accountants do more. They are financial managers who play a significant role in companies' strategic decision making processes. They help companies reduce their costs by finding ways to cut inefficiencies. They also help other managers with their respective budgets and explain some difficult-to-understand financial matters to them.
Whether your business is small, medium or large, you will need a management accountant at some point to help you figure out where you are possibly wasting resources and help you direct them into areas where they will do the most good.
Management Accountants and Strategy
When a new company starts growing and is at the point of making quantum leaps. It may be time to bring in a management accountant to help remove inefficiencies that may further clog the system in a high-growth environment. If your company does not have a management accountant on staff, it may be time to hire one, or have a good outsourcing relationship with a management accounting consultant.
A management accountant will look at your books as well as the overall structure of your company and find out areas where you may be doing things wrong. If you have specific goals, a management accountant will help you with strategies and often ways of streamlining your processes within your budget to help you accomplish those goals. See links in Resources below for case studies on how management accounting can strategically help businesses.