Today’s accountant is as much a business executive as a technician. The whole nature of the work done by the accounting profession has undergone some significant changes in recent years, and the changes continue. There has been a dramatic expansion in the body of accounting knowledge over the last decade. Significant increases in official accounting and auditing pronouncements and the proliferations of new tax laws are two factors that have expanded the knowledge base that professional practice in accounting requires (Jenkins et. al., 2005).
In business, accountants now fulfill a wide spectrum of needs from internal auditor to chief financial officer, and from vice president of finance to chief executive officer. The financial information that professional accountants provide is the lifeblood of business and society.
Because its impact is far-reaching, the accounting profession opens vast career possibilities. There are plenty of choices when it comes to the area that accounting professionals want to work in, like public accountancy (in where managerial accounting belongs), private accountancy, careers in government, owning a business, overseas opportunities and opportunities in other industries.
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Those in public practice may audit the financial statements of a large Fortune 500 company or advise a small business on a range of subjects vital to the company’s survival and growth. They may also serve as personal financial planners, as tax preparers and advisers, and as management and computer consultants. Accountants also play significant roles in every level of government, from local councils and state government departments to government bodies and departments.
Responsibilities of a Managerial Accountant
Coombs et. al. (2005, p. 4) stated that “management accounting may be described as the determination, presentation, interpretation and application of financial and quantitative information to the internal management of an organization at all levels”. Simply put, management accounting is the accounting system for the planning, control and decision making activities of an organization. However, it must be noted that the data produced by the function that is management accounting is just a singular element of the process of decision making.
In parallel with the broadening role of the accounting profession in practice, the scope of management accounting has also moved beyond traditional textbook notions, which portrayed management accounting as part of the formal hierarchical planning and control system of the organization. There is a significant shift in the management accountant's role from the ‘bad guy’ or ‘cost enforcer’ to the ‘knowledgeable friend’ of business operations able to provide valuable support. Management accounting now also includes the responsibility for the preparation of financial reports for non-management groups such as regulatory agencies and tax authorities.
Another primary task of the management accountant is to show economic realities, and coupled with this, it is important that the changing value of money is reflected in the information provided to management. Noreen and Garrison (2002) also noted that more recent management accounting research has begun to explore the much broader role of management accounting and management accountants in the organization. The management accountant of today plays a crucial responsibility in the improvement of business programs.
This function stresses a set of skills which should be developed over time: (1) proficiency in the design of systems; (2) know-how in the management of change; (3) the aptitude to relate stratagem to general business objectives; and (4) improved functional capability. Such roles for the management accountant are crucial for the organization as it helps to integrate the various business activities and functions of the business. As the management accounting system is an integral part of a management information system, the skills and role of the management accountant are dynamically adapting to the demands of the current times. Also read My Dream Job Accountant Essay
Coombs, H., Hobbs, D., Jenkins, D. ; Jenkins, E. (2005). Managerial Accounting: Principles and Applications. London: Sage, Ltd.
Jenkins, G., Sawyers, R. ; Jackson, S. (2005). Managerial Accounting: Focus on Decision Making. Ohio: Thomson South-Western
Noreen, E. ; Garrison, R. (2002). Managerial Accounting. New York: Irwin McGraw-Hill.
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