Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Management Accountant

Job Description:

Management accountants are responsible for recording and analyzing the finances of their company for internal use. This position might also be referred to as cost, managerial, industrial, private, or corporate accountants. Job duties for management accountants often include budgeting, analyzing financial information, managing assets, and strategic planning. They may also recommend ways of cutting costs, produce audit reports, and ensure company spending is in line with the budget.

A bachelor's degree in accounting or finance is typically required to work as a management accountant. However, some companies may prefer candidates who have master's degrees. Although it's not required, certifications are available for accountants who want to boost their job prospects. The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential, offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), demonstrates a command of the key accounting and financial management skills needed by today's businesses. According to the IMA, accountants that have this credential earn nearly $27,000 more per year than non-certified accountants. Some positions may also require the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential.
Median Salary:
Entry-level management accountants may start at $38,000, and those who reach the manager level can make more than $74,000, according to People who are Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) make significantly more than their uncertified counterparts – more than 20% more in many cases. Working for a large company has better pay potential than accounting at small or midsize companies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top-paying states for accountants in 2012 were the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 16% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Accounting professionals with a focus in management can go far in their field. Countless individuals, corporations, companies, and organizations are in need of experienced management accountants to organize their finances and maximize efficiency, and job growth is expected to be strong in this occupation. While future jobs in the accounting industry are largely dependent on the changing state of the economy, it is especially important for management accountants to be up-to-date on the latest financial laws and regulations affecting corporations as well as small businesses. In 2010, there were 1.2 million accounting and auditing jobs, and nearly one fourth of those jobs were in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services, according to the BLS. While opportunities in this profession may continue to fluctuate according to economical shifts over the next seven years, employers will likely always appreciate specialized management expertise, along with an advanced education and vocational skills.

Continuing Education:

Accountants in all disciplines can benefit from continuing education. Management accountants may obtain their certified public accountant (CPA) certification as a first step, and they are expected to take continuing education to maintain this and any other certifications they pursue that are specific to management accounting. Duke University is one of several schools offering course work that meets the standard industry requirements for continuing education, specifically for management accountants. This program may include courses in planning, budgeting, and forecasting, performance management, professional ethics, financial statement analysis, and corporate finance. Although continuing education is a requirement to remain certified and to be eligible for top jobs in this field, the educational benefits can be lucrative in the job market in order to set a qualified candidate apart from others.