Management accountants are responsible for managing a company's finances. They look after a company's accounts. They also find ways of improving profitability and growth. So if you are interested in finance and business, this could be just what you're looking for.
To do this job you will need to have good maths and computer skills. You’ll need accuracy and attention to detail. You’ll also need good communication skills.
To start working you will have to finish training with one of the professional bodies. Most management accountants choose to do this with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
• preparing regular financial statements and accounts, such as profit and loss accounts
• monitoring spending, costs and budgets
• analysing the company’s financial performance
• forecasting and planning future spending and profits
• recommending ways to reduce costs and increase profits
• making business decisions with other managers
• carrying out internal audits of various departments
• providing external auditors with company reports and financial data
• managing a team of accounting technicians and finance clerks
• overseeing the company's payroll, credit control and bookkeeping systems.
You could work in the accounting or financial department of all kinds of companies or public sector organisations. Vacancies may be advertised in the local and national press, in industry magazines and by financial recruitment agencies.
With experience, you could become a senior manager or finance director, or even progress to chief executive of a company. You could also become a self-employed management consultant.
You could offer most accountancy services in private practice if you register with CIMA as a 'member in practice'. Alternatively, you could offer a full range of services if you gained a further audit qualification.
You may find the following useful for vacancies and further reading:
• CIMA My Jobs
• Accountancy Age
• Accountancy Live
• Accounting Web
To become an accountant, you must complete training with one of the professional accountancy bodies. Although each professional body includes some company financial management in their training, many management accountants choose to qualify with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
CIMA training involves two stages:
• CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting – an entry-level qualification with five exams
• CIMA Professional Qualification – the second stage of training, with ten exams (see Training and development section).
Your starting point will depend on your previous qualifications and work experience.
You do not need any set qualifications to begin studying for the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting, although you will need a good standard of maths and English. You can study full-time, part-time or by distance learning.
See the CIMA website for more details about the Certificate.
To move on to the Professional Qualification, you will need to complete the Certificate or already hold a relevant qualification, recognised by CIMA, that gives exemptions to some of the exams. Relevant qualifications include:
• an accountancy or business-related degree or postgraduate qualification
• Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Technician level
• a professional qualification from another accountancy body.
You can find out more about qualifying routes, training providers and exemptions on the CIMA website.
Some management accountants choose to train with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), taking the business management modules instead of audit and taxation options in the final part of their training. See the ACCA website for more details.
The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) offers training in financial management. Training is at Technician, Associate and Fellow levels, but not to chartered level. See the IFA website for further details.
Training and development
To become a fully-qualified chartered management accountant (ACMA), you must pass the CIMA Professional Qualification and complete at least three years’ relevant work experience.
To gain the CIMA Professional Qualification you will need to complete:
• three exams at Operational level
• three exams at Managerial level
• three exams at Strategic level
• a two-part Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting, based on practical experience and an exam.
As with the Certificate, you may be exempted from some of the Professional Qualification exams, depending on the qualifications you already hold.
See the CIMA website for details of course providers, exam centres and exemptions.
CIMA also offers a Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Islamic Finance for accountants who wish to develop their expertise in this field. The awards cater for different levels of knowledge and experience and can be studied through distance learning. Check CIMA for more details.
Once you have qualified, you will need to keep your professional knowledge up to date throughout your career. Professional accountancy bodies run continuing professional development (CPD) programmes to help members do this.
he Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) annual salary survey reveals that CIMA members in India are now earning an average of Rs. 30.02 lakh per annum, including Rs. 26.33 lakh in basic and Rs. 3.69 in bonus payments.