A management accounting programme develops the analytical, application and decision making skills of finance professionals, turning them into valuable, employees.

Today’s world economies have weathered many storms over the past decade. Governments and companies are working hard to bring about positive growth in their respective arenas.

In such circumstances, companies expect their finance professionals to play a greater role in guiding the organisation towards sustainable growth, rather than engage in number-crunching. Finance professionals, who have the ability to analyse past data and at the same time steer the company through the risky times to long-term business success, are the key personnel who are much- sought after, irrespective of the size of enterprises today. The top management is increasingly looking at their accounting/finance teams as co-pilots who help them steer the company through difficult times.

Multiple benefits

While accounting courses provide students with the capability and understanding of accounting processes/procedures and regulation; management accounting courses provide the most appropriate balance of accounting and business management skills. A management accounting qualification develops analytical, application and decision-making skills, rather than just theoretical knowledge, thus appropriately preparing the finance professional for industry needs.

A management accountancy syllabus comprises a broad base of subjects such as business economics, ethics, corporate governance, business mathematics as well as management accounting and financial accounting. Such wide-ranging subjects allow students to apply their acquired knowledge across functions in organisations, thereby turning them into valuable contributing employees.

Management accounting professionals are also more capable of working with different teams such as marketing, human resources, strategy/planning, production, etc., and can therefore assist in creating a dynamic workplace environment. The skills acquired through such programmes allow qualified members to facilitate long-term growth and improved sustainable businesses through better cost-containment models.

As the skills acquired through management accountancy programmes are relevant across different industries and can be applied across business functions too, students gain multi-fold benefits in employment opportunities locally and globally. Common career paths that students can take up after finishing management accountancy programmes include business/financial analyst, group treasurer, financial controller, project manager, director of operations, corporate finance, business planning, oricing/cost analyst and management consultant.

Eligibility for doing a professional management accounting course is clearing the Class XII examination. There are no specific entry examinations for a professional management accountancy programme. But there are examinations that must be taken by degree holders/other graduates to be eligible for exemptions of specific subjects/levels.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the world’s leading and largest professional body of Management Accountants, offers management accountancy programmes in India for students who have completed Class XII, while commerce graduates/other relevant accounting degree holders are eligible for exemptions towards the programme. ICAI/ICWAI professionals, CAs or MBAs with specialisation in finance or M. Com degree holders can fast-track through the CIMA qualification.

As India is a hub for finance and accounting outsourcing, a number of financial transactions for global companies take place in India. This also supports the demand for management accountants with globally transferable skills.

The writer is Regional Director, Performance and Emerging Markets, CIMA