Management accounting involves using the principles of accounting to drive the decision making process in planning and management of performance through financial reporting and analysis. The combination of management and accounting assists companies and organizations in the development and execution of the processes to realize the mission, goals, and strategies of all businesses. When considering working toward a master’s degree in management accounting, the employment outlook and potential earnings are often a consideration.
Employment Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by the year 2020, the field of accounting and auditing will have grown by 16 percent, which is about as fast as average for all professions. The average annual salary for the accounting and auditing field, with a bachelor’s degree, is $61,690. In the field of management analysis, growth is estimated at 28 percent with an average annual salary of $78,160 with a bachelor’s degree. Having a master’s degree typically increases the average salary per year and creates additional opportunities for job seekers in the field.
Education and Certification
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, the majority of management accountants have a master’s degree. The foundation of the skills learned with a bachelor’s degree maximizes the additional education in a master’s program. Courses in master’s programs prepare management accountants with the skills they need for a career that includes responsibility for driving the direction of a company.
The Institute of Management Accountants issues the Certified Management Accountant designation after accumulating two years of experience in financial management or management accounting and passing the CMA examination. The second designation is offered by the American Institute of CPAs, and designations are currently based solely on acquiring experience in the accounting field. Additional certifications are also often recommended, including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Financial Manager (CFM).
Earning additional certifications and continuing education credits is often the key to advancement, particularly in the management accounting field. Adding a master’s degree not only improves the likelihood of advancement, but also opens up more opportunities for higher level entry into the field by providing candidates with a more specialized knowledge of management theory and techniques in addition to a broader understanding of corporate financial management strategies.
Specializations can also improve opportunities in management accounting. Some examples of high demand specializations include international finance, corporate accounting, financial software management, and internal auditing.
Management Accounting Overview
Management accountants work to collect and analyze financial data internally in order to project budgets, improve performance, and make decisions on investing and other business strategies. In addition to these responsibilities, management accountants are often in positions of authority, supervising other accountants in the basic business accounting tasks of recording, tracking, and preparing statements.
Several organizations employ management accountants, including government agencies, private corporations, public companies, and non-profit organizations. The increasing public demand and government legislation for providing transparency of financial records continues to influence the higher demand and growth in the management accounting field.
For additional information, visit the Management Accounting page at the Institute of Management Accountants.