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What Does a Certified Management Accountant Do?

A certified management accountant working.
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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2014
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In the accounting industry, two common career fields exist: financial and management. Where financial accounting is the professional field known for audits and taxation services, management accounting focuses more on the internal financial transaction of a company. A certified management accountant primarily works directly for a company, recording and reporting transactions for internal review by business owners and managers. Most accountants in this industry work in a management accounting profession, as businesses need individuals with the technical knowledge of financial figures to help run organizations.

The certified management accountant certification is a professional license offered by a few accounting organizations. The primary focus of the license is business, economics, accounting, management theory and other current business topics. While well-known and popular in the business industry, it is typically seen as secondary to the certified public accountant license, which is more popular in the public and/or financial accounting field.

The accounting profession has undergone significant changes in the past few decades. Rather than being simply a number cruncher, accountant now provide valuable services to companies regarding business decisions. This change has led to the importance of the management accountant certification, which provides accountants with a more well-rounded knowledge of business. Individuals with this certification are now common in a variety of industries, including information technology, engineering, consulting or other sectors.

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The lowest position typically occupied by a certified management accountant is a staff position, which provides general or specialized accounting services. General accounting services can include posting journal entries to the general ledger, reconciling accounts, preparing management reports, creating profit and loss statements, collecting data from other departments, and a variety of other tasks.

Specialized tasks for this type of accountant include the allocation of production costs to goods or services, creating budgets for a company, creating production forecasts, or providing management with ad hoc reports regarding business activity. The management accountant profession is commonly associated with the manufacturing and production industries, which is the primary reason for their cost allocation function.

A certified management accountant typically works at the beginning of a company’s financial transaction process, meaning these individuals are responsible for putting the information together seen by other individuals. While these accountants can work with external accountants from a financial accounting firm, they typically provide more value to other business stakeholders. Management accountants use their knowledge of business to help analyze business decisions and take a quantitative approach to the historically qualitative process of making decisions.

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Discuss this Article

KaBoom
Post 2

@strawCake - The CMA job description does sound a lot different from the CPA job description. It sounds like if an accountant wanted to make themselves extra-marketable they should just get both licenses.

strawCake
Post 1

I wasn't aware there was any other designation for accountants than the CPA designation. But I suppose an accountant that works directly for a company rather than for the public would need a very different skill set.

All the duties described in this article sound a lot different than the traditional accountant duties of audits and taxation. For instance, if you're going to be doing accounting for a business, you should probably know a little something about business. After all, how could you create a budget for a company without knowing how the company operates?

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