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In management accounting or managerial accounting, managers use the provisions of accounting information in order to better inform themselves before they decide matters within their organizations, which aids their management and performance of control functions.
One simple definition of management accounting is the provision of financial and non-financial decision-making information to managers.In other other words, Management accounting helps directors inside an organization to make decisions. This can also be known as cost accounting. This is the way toward distinguishing, examining, deciphering and imparting data to supervisors to help accomplish business goals. The information gathered includes all fields accounting that educates the administration regarding business tasks identifying with the financial expenses and decisions made by the organization. Accountants use plans to measure the overall strategy of operations within the organization.
According to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA): "Management accounting is a profession that involves partnering in management decision making, devising planning and performance management systems, and providing expertise in financial reporting and control to assist management in the formulation and implementation of an organization's strategy".
Management accountants (also called managerial accountants) look at the events that happen in and around a business while considering the needs of the business. From this, data and estimates emerge. Cost accounting is the process of translating these estimates and data into knowledge that will ultimately be used to guide decision-making.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the largest management accounting institute with over 100,000 members describes "Management accounting as analysing information to advise business strategy and drive sustainable business success".
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) states that management accounting as practice extends to the following three areas:
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) states, "A management accountant applies his or her professional knowledge and skill in the preparation and presentation of financial and other decision oriented information in such a way as to assist management in the formulation of policies and in the planning and control of the operation undertaking".
Management accountants are seen as the "value-creators" amongst the accountants. They are more concerned with forward-looking and taking decisions that will affect the future of the organization, than in the historical recording and compliance (score keeping) aspects of the profession. Management accounting knowledge and experience can be obtained from varied fields and functions within an organization, such as information management, treasury, efficiency auditing, marketing, valuation, pricing, and logistics. In 2014 CIMA created the Global Management Accounting Principles (GMAPs).The result of research from across 20 countries in five continents, the principles aim to guide best practice in the discipline.
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Management accounting information differs from financial accountancy information in several ways:
The distinction between traditional and innovative accounting practices is illustrated with the visual timeline (see sidebar) of managerial costing approaches presented at the Institute of Management Accountants 2011 Annual Conference.
Traditional standard costing (TSC), used in cost accounting, dates back to the 1920s and is a central method in management accounting practiced today because it is used for financial statement reporting for the valuation of income statement and balance sheet line items such as cost of goods sold (COGS) and inventory valuation. Traditional standard costing must comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP US) and actually aligns itself more with answering financial accounting requirements rather than providing solutions for management accountants. Traditional approaches limit themselves by defining cost behavior only in terms of production or sales volume.
In the late 1980s, accounting practitioners and educators were heavily criticized on the grounds that management accounting practices (and, even more so, the curriculum taught to accounting students) had changed little over the preceding 60 years, despite radical changes in the business environment. In 1993, the Accounting Education Change Commission Statement Number 4calls for faculty members to expand their knowledge about the actual practice of accounting in the workplace. Professional accounting institutes, perhaps fearing that management accountants would increasingly be seen as superfluous in business organizations, subsequently devoted considerable resources to the development of a more innovative skills set for management accountants.
Variance analysis is a systematic approach to the comparison of the actual and budgeted costs of the raw materials and labour used during a production period. While some form of variance analysis is still used by most manufacturing firms, it nowadays tends to be used in conjunction with innovative techniques such as life cycle cost analysis and activity-based costing, which are designed with specific aspects of the modern business environment in mind. Life-cycle costing recognizes that managers' ability to influence the cost of manufacturing a product is at its greatest when the product is still at the design stage of its product life-cycle (i.e., before the design has been finalized and production commenced), since small changes to the product design may lead to significant savings in the cost of manufacturing the products.
Activity-based costing (ABC) recognizes that, in modern factories, most manufacturing costs are determined by the amount of 'activities' (e.g., the number of production runs per month, and the amount of production equipment idle time) and that the key to effective cost control is therefore optimizing the efficiency of these activities. Both lifecycle costing and activity-based costing recognize that, in the typical modern factory, the avoidance of disruptive events (such as machine breakdowns and quality control failures) is of far greater importance than (for example) reducing the costs of raw materials. Activity-based costing also de-emphasizes direct labor as a cost driver and concentrates instead on activities that drive costs, as the provision of a service or the production of a product component.
Other approach is the German Grenzplankostenrechnung (GPK) costing methodology. Although it has been in practiced in Europe for more than 50 years, neither GPK nor the proper treatment of 'unused capacity' is widely practiced in the U.S.
Another accounting practice available today is resource consumption accounting (RCA). RCA has been recognized by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) as a "sophisticated approach at the upper levels of the continuum of costing techniques"The approach provides the ability to derive costs directly from operational resource data or to isolate and measure unused capacity costs. RCA was derived by taking costing characteristics of GPK, and combining the use of activity-based drivers when needed, such as those used in activity-based costing.
A modern approach to close accounting is continuous accounting, which focuses on achieving a point-in-time close, where accounting processes typically performed at period-end are distributed evenly throughout the period.
Consistent with other roles in modern corporations, management accountants have a dual reporting relationship. As a strategic partner and provider of decision based financial and operational information, management accountants are responsible for managing the business team and at the same time having to report relationships and responsibilities to the corporation's finance organization and finance of an organization.
The activities management accountants provide inclusive of forecasting and planning, performing variance analysis, reviewing and monitoring costs inherent in the business are ones that have dual accountability to both finance and the business team. Examples of tasks where accountability may be more meaningful to the business management team vs. the corporate finance department are the development of new product costing, operations research, business driver metrics, sales management scorecarding, and client profitability analysis. (See financial planning.) Conversely, the preparation of certain financial reports, reconciliations of the financial data to source systems, risk and regulatory reporting will be more useful to the corporate finance team as they are charged with aggregating certain financial information from all segments of the corporation.
In corporations that derive much of their profits from the information economy, such as banks, publishing houses, telecommunications companies and defence contractors, IT costs are a significant source of uncontrollable spending, which in size is often the greatest corporate cost after total compensation costs and property related costs. A function of management accounting in such organizations is to work closely with the IT department to provide IT cost transparency.
Given the above, one view of the progression of the accounting and finance career path is that financial accounting is a stepping stone to management accounting.Consistent with the notion of value creation, management accountants help drive the success of the business while strict financial accounting is more of a compliance and historical endeavor.
Activity-based costing was first clearly defined in 1987 by Robert S. Kaplan and W. Bruns as a chapter in their book Accounting and Management: A Field Study Perspective. They initially focused on the manufacturing industry, where increasing technology and productivity improvements have reduced the relative proportion of the direct costs of labor and materials, but have increased relative proportion of indirect costs. For example, increased automation has reduced labor, which is a direct cost, but has increased depreciation, which is an indirect cost.
Grenzplankostenrechnung (GPK) is a German costing methodology, developed in the late 1940s and 1960s, designed to provide a consistent and accurate application of how managerial costs are calculated and assigned to a product or service. The term Grenzplankostenrechnung, often referred to as GPK, has best been translated as either marginal planned cost accountingor flexible analytic cost planning and accounting.
The origins of GPK are credited to Hans Georg Plaut, an automotive engineer, and Wolfgang Kilger, an academic, working towards the mutual goal of identifying and delivering a sustained methodology designed to correct and enhance cost accounting information. GPK is published in cost accounting textbooks, notably Flexible Plankostenrechnung und Deckungsbeitragsrechnungand taught at German-speaking universities.
In the mid- to late-1990s several books were written about accounting in the lean enterprise (companies implementing elements of the Toyota Production System). The term lean accounting was coined during that period. These books contest that traditional accounting methods are better suited for mass production and do not support or measure good business practices in just-in-time manufacturing and services. The movement reached a tipping point during the 2005 Lean Accounting Summit in Dearborn, Michigan, United States. 320 individuals attended and discussed the advantages of a new approach to accounting in the lean enterprise. 520 individuals attended the 2nd annual conference in 2006 and it has varied between 250 and 600 attendees since that time.
Resource consumption accounting (RCA) is formally defined as a dynamic, fully integrated, principle-based, and comprehensive management accounting approach that provides managers with decision support information for enterprise optimization. RCA emerged as a management accounting approach around 2000 and was subsequently developed at CAM-I,the Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing–International, in a Cost Management Section RCA interest group in December 2001.
The most significant recent direction in managerial accounting is throughput accounting; which recognizes the interdependencies of modern production processes. For any given product, customer or supplier, it is a tool to measure the contribution per unit of constrained resource.
Management accounting is an applied discipline used in various industries. The specific functions and principles followed can vary based on the industry. Management accounting principles in banking are specialized but do have some common fundamental concepts used whether the industry is manufacturing-based or service-oriented. For example, transfer pricing is a concept used in manufacturing but is also applied in banking. It is a fundamental principle used in assigning value and revenue attribution to the various business units. Essentially, transfer pricing in banking is the method of assigning the interest rate risk of the bank to the various funding sources and uses of the enterprise. Thus, the bank's corporate treasury department will assign funding charges to the business units for their use of the bank's resources when they make loans to clients. The treasury department will also assign funding credit to business units who bring in deposits (resources) to the bank. Although the funds transfer pricing process is primarily applicable to the loans and deposits of the various banking units, this proactive is applied to all assets and liabilities of the business segment. Once transfer pricing is applied and any other management accounting entries or adjustments are posted to the ledger (which are usually memo accounts and are not included in the legal entity results), the business units are able to produce segment financial results which are used by both internal and external users to evaluate performance.
There are a variety of ways to keep current and continue to build one's knowledge base in the field of management accounting. Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are required to achieve continuing education hours every year, similar to a Certified Public Accountant. A company may also have research and training materials available for use in a corporate owned library. This is more common in Fortune 500 companies who have the resources to fund this type of training medium.
There are also journals, online articles and blogs available. The journal Cost Management ( ISSN 1092-8057) and the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA) site are sources which include Management Accounting Quarterly and Strategic Finance publications.
Listed below are the primary tasks/services performed by management accountants. The degree of complexity relative to these activities are dependent on the experience level and abilities of any one individual.
There are several related professional qualifications and certifications in the field of accountancy including:
Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. Accounting, which has been called the "language of business", measures the results of an organization's economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors, creditors, management, and regulators. Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants. The terms "accounting" and "financial reporting" are often used as synonyms.
Cost accounting is defined as "a systematic set of procedures for recording and reporting measurements of the cost of manufacturing goods and performing services in the aggregate and in detail. It includes methods for recognizing, classifying, allocating, aggregating and reporting such costs and comparing them with standard costs." (IMA) Often considered a subset of managerial accounting, its end goal is to advise the management on how to optimize business practices and processes based on cost efficiency and capability. Cost accounting provides the detailed cost information that management needs to control current operations and plan for the future.
An accountant is a practitioner of accounting or accountancy. Accountants who have demonstrated competency through their professional associations' certification exams are certified to use titles such as Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant or Certified Public Accountant. Such professionals are granted certain responsibilities by statute, such as the ability to certify an organization's financial statements, and may be held liable for professional misconduct. Non-qualified accountants may be employed by a qualified accountant, or may work independently without statutory privileges and obligations.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification credential in the management accounting and financial management fields. The certification signifies that the person possesses knowledge in the areas of financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. The CMA is a U.S.-based, globally recognized certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants. Only authorized partners of IMA can provide coaching to students for CMA USA.
Activity-based costing (ABC) is a costing method that identifies activities in an organization and assigns the cost of each activity to all products and services according to the actual consumption by each. Therefore this model assigns more indirect costs (overhead) into direct costs compared to conventional costing.
Throughput accounting (TA) is a principle-based and simplified management accounting approach that provides managers with decision support information for enterprise profitability improvement. TA is relatively new in management accounting. It is an approach that identifies factors that limit an organization from reaching its goal, and then focuses on simple measures that drive behavior in key areas towards reaching organizational goals. TA was proposed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt as an alternative to traditional cost accounting. As such, Throughput Accounting is neither cost accounting nor costing because it is cash focused and does not allocate all costs to products and services sold or provided by an enterprise. Considering the laws of variation, only costs that vary totally with units of output e.g. raw materials, are allocated to products and services which are deducted from sales to determine Throughput. Throughput Accounting is a management accounting technique used as the performance measure in the Theory of Constraints (TOC). It is the business intelligence used for maximizing profits, however, unlike cost accounting that primarily focuses on 'cutting costs' and reducing expenses to make a profit, Throughput Accounting primarily focuses on generating more throughput. Conceptually, Throughput Accounting seeks to increase the speed or rate at which throughput is generated by products and services with respect to an organization's constraint, whether the constraint is internal or external to the organization. Throughput Accounting is the only management accounting methodology that considers constraints as factors limiting the performance of organizations.
Project accounting is a type of managerial accounting oriented toward the goals of project management and delivery. It involves tracking, reporting, and analyzing financial results and implications, and sometimes the creation of financial reports designed to track the financial progress of projects; the information generated by this analysis is used to aid project management.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a UK based professional body offering training and qualification in management accountancy and related subjects. It is focused on accountants working in industry, and provides ongoing support and training for members.
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is a professional organization of accountants.
Founded in 1904, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants(ACCA) is the global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). ACCA's headquarters are in London with principal administrative office in Glasgow. ACCA works through a network of over 104 offices and centres in 52 countries - with 323 Approved Learning Partners (ALP) and more than 7,300 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide employee development.
The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India (ICMAI), previously known as The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI), is a premier statutory professional accountancy body in India under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India with the objects of promoting, regulating and developing the profession of Cost & Management Accountancy. Institute is also known as ICMAI. It is the only licensing cum regulating body of Cost & Management Accountancy profession in India. It recommends the Cost and Management Accounting Standards to be followed by companies in India to which statutory maintenance of cost records applicable. ICMAI is solely responsible for setting the auditing and assurance standards for statutory Cost Audit to be followed in the Audit of cost statements in India. It also issues other technical guidelines on several aspects like Internal Audit, Management Accounting etc. to be followed by practising Cost Accountants while discharging their services. It works closely with the industries, various departments of Government of India, State governments in India and other Regulating Authorities in India e.g. Reserve Bank of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, Securities and Exchange Board of India etc. on several aspects of performance, cost optimisation and reporting.
The Society of Management Accountants of Canada, also known as Certified Management Accountants of Canada and CMA Canada, awards the Certified Management Accountant designation in Canada.
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) is an Australian organisation operating globally, focused on management accounting. It differs from other Australian Accounting societies: CPA Australia, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia, Institute of Public Accountants due to this focus.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to accounting:
Resource Consumption Accounting (RCA) is a management theory describing a dynamic, integrated, and comprehensive management accounting approach that provides managers with decision support information for enterprise optimization. RCA is a relatively new management accounting approach based largely on the German management accounting approach Grenzplankostenrechnung (GPK) and also allows for the use of activity-based drivers.
Grenzplankostenrechnung (GPK) is a German costing methodology, developed in the late 1940s and 1950s, designed to provide a consistent and accurate application of how managerial costs are calculated and assigned to a product or service. The term Grenzplankostenrechnung, often referred to as GPK, has been translated as either Marginal Planned Cost Accounting or Flexible Analytic Cost Planning and Accounting.
RCA Open-Source Application (ROSA) is an open-source management accounting application that aims to provide decision support information to managers. Resource consumption accounting (RCA) is a principle-based approach to management accounting that combines German management accounting techniques known as Grenzplankostenrechnung (GPK) with a disciplined form of activity-based costing.
Roger W. Mills is a British economist working in the area of corporate finance. Emeritus professor at Henley Business School University of Reading, the Group chairman at Value Focus Group, a group of consulting firms, Chief Instructor and Chairman of the British Shito Ryu Karate Association (BSKA), 8th Dan (Kyoshi).
Management accounting principles (MAP) were developed to serve the core needs of internal management to improve decision support objectives, internal business processes, resource application, customer value, and capacity utilization needed to achieve corporate goals in an optimal manner. Another term often used for management accounting principles for these purposes is managerial costing principles. The two management accounting principles are:
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, is a professional body offering qualification in management accountancy in Sri Lanka.
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