A course in managerial accounting differs from financial accounting in the way that it approaches and interprets a company's financial data. A managerial accounting class focuses on analyzing financial data with a future orientation, including information that is used only by a company's internal personnel and taking a micro approach rather than a macro approach. Choosing a good managerial accounting class involves making sure that the course is delivered from an accredited educational institution and matching the objectives of the course with the student's prior training and future goals.
A good managerial accounting class expands upon the concepts learned in financial accounting. It assumes that students already have previous knowledge and experience with compiling and interpreting financial statements. Managerial accounting techniques and procedures do not have to necessarily follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAPP). GAPP is a set of reporting standards that must be adhered to when compiling a company's financial statements for external users. Managerial accounting includes information that is vital to internal users for making strategic decisions, such as the current market value of assets.
A managerial accounting class can also include an overview of financial accounting techniques if a student has no prior knowledge of the subject matter. Some courses, particularly those offered by business administration degree programs, cover both financial and managerial accounting concepts. Depending on your career and degree objectives, a managerial accounting class that provides a foundation or a course that expands upon basic concepts might be more appropriate. For instance, if you are seeking a master of business administration (MBA) degree with an emphasis in marketing, one managerial accounting class that provides a basic overview might be all that's needed.
A solid course in managerial accounting should allow the student ample practice in analyzing hypothetical financial information from a manager's perspective. It should give the student practice in analyzing certain segments of a company's business, such as individual departments, subsidiaries, customer segments and products. The educational institution that delivers the course should be nationally or regionally accredited by a well-respected accrediting agency.
Managerial accounting courses can be delivered in a traditional classroom setting or through online distance learning methods. Consideration should be given to whether the course will be a part of an overall degree program, will be part of a certificate program or will be taken as a single class to further professional and personal knowledge. Most students who take a managerial accounting class do so as part of a larger program, whether it is for a degree, for a certificate or in preparation to take a certification exam to become an accountant.