Certified Management Accountant  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotCertified management accountants (CMAs) combine accounting knowledge and management skills to provide employers with a variety of services. They need people skills, not just number skills.

"CMAs need skill in the area of communications," says Jim Horsch, a CMA in Jackson, Michigan. "They have to be able to listen and to communicate their recommendations. They have to provide the support to help management make good decisions."

"In the past, accountants were considered the bean counters in the back corner," says CMA Katherine Browne. "As a management accountant, you have to be able to look at all parts of an organization and see how they fit and work together."

dotOn the financial side of things, CMAs do a lot of analysis. They monitor, interpret and communicate financial results, help management evaluate corporate performance and make decisions about product design and development.

"I take care of budgeting, performance measurement, sales forecasting, economic studies and financial analysis," says Horsch.

"I help management make decisions. Sometimes it's a new acquisition. Other times I have to decide whether to build a new distribution line. I like the mix of analysis and thinking with communication skills."

dotCMAs are also managers. "I do lots of coordinating, prioritizing, supervising and not so much accounting," says Greg Mattan, a financial analyst in private industry. "I work in our capital assets group.

"I'm the senior who reports to the manager and makes sure the day-to-day activities are performed correctly. I'm also a troubleshooter. When there is a special project, I make sure it gets done in a timely and accurate fashion."

dotCMAs tend to work in industry but they may also work in government or public practice or set up their own business. Management accounting is a desk job with no special physical requirements. A CMA usually works a 40-hour week, unless they need to do overtime to complete a task.

At a Glance

Combine accounting knowledge and management skills to provide employers with a variety of services

  • More and more private companies are hiring CMAs because of the variety of skills they offer to business
  • You'll monitor, interpret and communicate financial results
  • You'll need a degree, some practical experience and certification