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What Does a Managerial Accountant Do?

A managerial accountant is in charge of a company's money.
A managerial accountant may also be referred to as a financial accountant.
Sometimes managerial accountants specialize in areas such as tax, cost and budget accounting.
Article Details
  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2014
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A managerial accountant, also known as a financial or management accountant, is in charge of a company’s money. She oversees everything having to do with incoming and outgoing money, profits and losses. If anyone either inside or outside the company has a question regarding the company’s assets or expenditures, she is expected to have the answer and provide supporting documents.

In addition to overseeing the company money, a managerial accountant normally manages the departments that support her. Bookkeeping, data processing and purchasing departments may report to the managerial accountant. Financial reports regarding taxes, shareholder payments, capital expenditures, banking activity, payroll and benefits are regularly reviewed by the managerial accountant. Following the review, reports are passed on to appropriate department managers.

In a smaller business environment, the managerial accountant may be required to perform the duties of all accounting and bookkeeping personnel. Duties may involve keeping records of expenditures and profits and regularly reviewing relevant transactions with department heads. Preparing income statements, general ledger reports, balance sheets, quarterly and payroll tax reports and cash-flow statements are sometimes all part of the managerial accountant’s job at small-to-medium sized companies.

Managerial accountant may also create in-house financial and accounting systems. This enhances her ability to provide more precise forecasting and develop alternatives for increasing profits or reducing expenditures. Developing a unique system also can result in increased industry knowledge, making the accountant a more valuable asset to the company.

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Sometimes, managerial accountants pursue specialized avenues, such as tax, cost and budget accounting. Tax accountants analyze a company’s tax debts and investigate ways to reduce it, such as taking more deductions or investing in tax-exempt funds or shelters. Cost accountants scrutinize production costs and develop ways to cut corners without compromising quality. Similarly, budget accountants attempt to increase profits by restructuring spending habits.

Exemplary attention to detail and a comprehensive understanding of accounting principles are necessary to be successful in this position. Good communication skills are desirable, as the job usually entails interacting with a variety of departments and outside agencies. Highly-developed computer skills and knowledge of accounting software programs are necessary.

Many employers are willing to hire a managerial accountant with only a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Other employers prefer a master’s degree in accounting or an additional completion of a certification program. National and local accounting organizations offer a variety of certifications and continuing education courses in managerial accounting.

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Discuss this Article

hamje32
Post 3

@JessicaLynn - Accounting is definitely hard to beat as a career choice. I'd just like to add that I believe that specialization in accounting is important, because some disciplines may come and go depending on the demands of the economy.

For example, my dad worked as a cost accountant. They are primarily concerned with costs, and this type of specialty is highly focused in the manufacturing industry where they’re looking at production costs, inventory and so forth.

Since the manufacturing industry has largely left the United States, the cost accountant is less in demand.

I believe that financial and managerial accounting will always be in demand, however, since a company always needs someone to manage the books – and possibly do other duties as needed.

JessicaLynn
Post 2

@KaBoom - Wow that makes an accounting degree look like an attractive option. It took almost everyone I know (myself included) quite awhile after graduation to find a job. And a lot of people I know weren't even able to find jobs in their field.

I think taking some classes in management would help someone who wanted to get a managerial accounting job. Because in addition to accounting duties a managerial accountant also manages! So a candidate for the job would need those skills too.

KaBoom
Post 1

A bachelors degree in accounting is very marketable these days. I have a friend who got one and she was able to get a job in her field quite soon after graduation. I feel like that's pretty rare these days!

I think I may suggest to my friend that she try to work her way up to a managerial accountant position. I know she has the skills and I think she would be great at a job like this.

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