Management accountants look after a company’s finances and find ways to improve profitability.
Salary Range: £25,000 to £100,000
How to become a management accountant
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- getting a professional qualification
You could get into this job through an accountancy and taxation professional degree apprenticeship. This is at level 7, which is equivalent to a master’s qualification.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
To become an accountant, you must complete training with one of the professional accountancy bodies. Although each professional body includes some company financial management in their training, many management accountants choose to qualify with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
CIMA training involves 2 stages:
- CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting – an entry-level qualification, with 5 exams
- CIMA Professional Qualification – the second stage of training, with 10 exams
Your starting point will depend on your previous qualifications and work experience.
You do not need any set qualifications to begin studying for the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting, although you’ll need a good standard of maths and English. You can study full time, part time or by distance learning.
To move on to the Professional Qualification, you’ll need to complete the Certificate or already hold a relevant qualification, recognised by CIMA, which gives exemptions to some of the exams. Relevant qualifications include:
- an accountancy or business-related degree or postgraduate qualification
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Technician level
- a professional qualification from another accountancy body
Some management accountants choose to train with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), taking the business management modules instead of audit and taxation options in the final part of their training.
The Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) offers training in financial management. Training is at Technician, Associate and Fellow levels, but not to chartered level.
Experience of working in a finance role will help you to get into this career. Many large accountancy firms run insight days and offer shadowing opportunities, where you can see how the industry works.
You can find out more about working and training in accountancy from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of economics and accounting
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- administration skills
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to work well with others
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- the ability to use your initiative
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- preparing financial statements and accounts
- monitoring spending and budgets
- analysing the company’s financial performance
- forecasting and planning future spending and profits
- recommending ways to reduce costs and increase profits
- making business decisions
- auditing departments in your company
- preparing company reports for outside organisations
- managing a team of accountants
- overseeing the company’s payroll, credit control and bookkeeping systems
You could work in an office.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a senior manager or finance director, or the chief executive of a company. You could also become a self-employed management consultant.
You could offer accountancy services in private practice if you register with CIMA.