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.
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.