What Sets a Management Accountant Apart from a Traditional Accountant?

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Management accountants:

  • Analyse data, forecasts and budgets to help leaders make decisions
  • Create reports to be used internally
  • Compile information looking at the future, not the past
  • Are responsive – whatever information the business needs, they’ll provide it
  • Measure operational, as well as financial, performance
  • Can focus on specific parts of the business
  • Look at qualitative and quantitative data
Traditional Accountants

Traditional accountants:

  • Analyse past financial performance, usually for regulatory reporting
  • Create reports to satisfy external regulations
  • Are regulated – reports are in line with prescribed requirements
  • Measure financial data only
  • Focus on the entire organisation
  • Compile data as set points of the year, according to legislation
  • Look at quantitative data only

The Value Management Accountants Bring to Business

They are Business Leaders

They are Business Leaders

As a management accountant, you’ll understand how your organisation works. You’ll know its business model, strategic context and competitive position inside out. That, combined with your first-class leadership skills, means you play a vital role in any business. 

They are Innovation Advisers

They are Innovation Advisors

For a business to thrive, it needs to constantly adapt to keep pace as the world changes. As a management accountant, you’ll grab every opportunity for innovation and help drive future success. 

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They are Data-Backed Decision Makers

By combining financial and non-financial data, you’ll paint a complete picture of the business. You’ll use that in-depth analysis to make decisions and pursue business success at the highest level. 

They are forecasters

They are Forecasters

Management accountants focus on the future. You’ll gather information and analyse statistics to spot trends and help make strategic decisions – from improving internal efficiencies to tackling market expansion. 

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Where can a career in accounting
take me?

Chief Financial Officer

The chief financial officer is the part of the executive management team who develops the financial well-being of the organisation. They are accountable for financial planning, operations, and risk management so require a detailed, wider range of knowledge.  

Finance Manager

In large organisations, the finance manager role may be concerned with strategic analysis, while in smaller companies, a finance manager may be responsible for the collection and preparation of accounts. A finance manager is typically a fully qualified chartered accountant. 

Management Consultant

Management consultants advise organisations on how they might implement strategic decisions or improve performance. Management consultants need to be aware of every aspect of an organisation, and have strong commercial acumen, project management skills and analytical prowess. 

Management Accountant

Management accountants understand business as well as finance, using this knowledge to interpret financial data and make informed strategic decisions. They often work closely with senior stakeholders to help drive growth, with typical activities including budgeting and forecasting, profit and loss reporting and balance sheet analysis. 

Finance Business Partner

Finance business partners are commercially aware with strong communication and leadership skills. They work alongside different departments, using analysis and insights to support and advise all strategic and operational decision-making.  To excel as a finance business partner, you need core finance skills as well as the ability to clearly and concisely articulate financial information. 

Financial Accountant

Every organisation needs someone to report on its financial position. That’s where a financial accountant comes in. They provide accurate information to budget holders and external parties to fulfil regulatory requirements. The next step on the career ladder for a financial accountant is to become a finance manager. 

Business Analyst

If you’ve got top analytical skills, you could make a good business analyst. They use their skills to build financial models that support commercial decision making by the senior team. As well as financial modelling, business analysts will take on risk management, so they’re often fully qualified accountants.

Accounts Assistant

Being an accounts assistant will expose you to a wide range of accountancy duties including preparing financial statements and accounts, processing expense claims and invoices, managing ledgers and preparing VAT returns. This role is a great springboard into becoming a financial accountant or a management accountant as you have a solid foundation in finance.

Why choose CIMA

1 Boost your earning potential



CIMA Student average salary 
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1 No degree necessary

Anyone can study CIMA, no matter your background, education or experience. Start with the Cert BA, a qualification in its own right, and progress to the CIMA Professional Qualification.

1 Unlock the global job market

CIMA is recognised all over the world, in every industry. Thousands of companies train their people with us, from multinationals to start-ups, in private and public sectors. 

1 Exclusive access to jobs

Thousands of finance, business and management jobs are added to our Global Career Hub every day. 

1 Say hello to 657,000 new colleagues

Our partnership with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) means we have hundreds of thousands of members around the world, all forming one active community. They’ll give you guidance, support and advice throughout your career. 

1 Access 2,500 professional development courses

We know your thirst for knowledge doesn’t stop once you complete your CIMA qualification. That’s why our members have access to thousands of professional development courses for lifelong learning. 


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