Besides being known as number crunchers, certified managerial accountants perform a variety of tasks that help business leaders make important decisions. Managerial accountants keep track of financial data, establishing product cost or analyzing market or business trends. CMAs put this information together in a format that a management or executive team can use to make informed decisions.
Certified managerial accountants have passed a series of tests that make them experts in the field of management accounting. Management accounting is internal to a business as opposed to financial accounting, in which financial statements are created for use by outside investors or stockholders. Though both types of accounting involve creating the same kinds of documents, managerial accountants work for companies that typically don't offer company stock publicly.
Accounting clerks type in data into the accounting system. This could involve coding expenses for payment, adding vendor invoices into the accounting system, creating checks to pay the vendors or creating invoices that are sent to clients. Certified managerial accountants oversee the work of clerks to ensure that entries are correct. When they find mistakes, they make correcting adjustments to the accounting system or fix the error. Managerial accountants ensure that data entered into the accounting system is accurate.
Managerial accountants generate multiple reports to analyze the company's business position. They work with cash-flow reports to manage when expenses are paid, review accounts receivable reports to stay atop outstanding income that is due to the company or validate that expenses have been coded to the right accounts or projects. Once these reports are reviewed for accuracy, the managerial accountant is free to generate reports for budgets, forecasts or analysis.
Budgets and Forecasts
Managerial accountants create budgets or forecasts for managerial review. A budget is an action plan that helps a business plan for future quarters or years. Budgets include expected costs and projected income to understand whether the company will have a profit. It helps managers to understand areas that might need more control of expenses or development of income. This might include establishing product price based on the cost components used to make a product.
Managerial accountants use internal reports to generate analysis of products, services or projects. By comparing actual figures against budget figures, a certified managerial accountant determines how well the company performed in a specific period. These kinds of analyses can help managers make decisions as to whether a product should be discontinued or supported for growth. It helps establish whether more resources may be needed to make a product or the company successful.
2016 Salary Information for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $68,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, accountants and auditors earned a 25th percentile salary of $53,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $90,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,397,700 people were employed in the U.S. as accountants and auditors.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.