What Is Managerial Accounting?

For those thinking about pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA), there is abundant evidence in favor of the decision. The MBA has become a popular advanced degree. One reason is the potential for higher wages. At $100,790, management occupations have the highest median annual wage of all major occupational groups, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When it comes to selecting a program, prospective MBA students can choose from a general MBA or wide-ranging specializations. For example, La Salle University offers a specialized MBA program in business systems and analytics, an in-demand field.

La Salle also offers specializations in marketing, finance, management and accounting. What do these specializations all have in common? Coursework in managerial accounting. At La Salle, Managerial Accounting for Decision Making prepares students with essential skills to succeed no matter which area of specialization they pursue.

In an MBA Program, Where Does Managerial Accounting Come in?

MBA programs are designed to help students develop the discipline-specific competencies they need to succeed in leadership roles across wide-ranging industries and professions. At La Salle, for example, core coursework helps students gain skills and knowledge in the following key areas:

  • Marketing management, including product development, consumer behavior and business profitability.
  • Financial theory, as it applies to directing an organization's financial activities, including planning for long-term financial goals.
  • Business analytics -- the methods, tools and technologies used in data-driven decision making.
  • Managerial accounting, which focuses on developing a clear understanding of accounting methods and systems, along with the business problems they address.

Taking a look at managerial accounting in particular, how are the knowledge and skills that students gain through this coursework critical to their success as managers? Expertise in managerial accounting is essential for the successful management of any business. It allows managers to make data-driven decisions to help an organization achieve its objectives.

What Role Does Managerial Accounting Play in Business?

Accounting is commonly referred to as "the language of business." An article at Chron.com explains: "For a business to properly function, effective methods of communication among owners, managers and investors are essential. Accounting fills the need for a common language of business. It records and processes financial information into an easily accessible format that can be understood by any person in the business world."

The accounting that people typically think of deals with mandatory financial reporting such as balance sheets and taxation. This is financial accounting. Managerial accounting, also referred to as management accounting, focuses on daily operations and planning for the future.

Unlike financial accounting, managerial accounting is focused internally to support all levels of management in achieving the company's goals. For example, analyzing differences between actual and budgeted amounts can help a company identify areas where corrective action is needed to improve operational efficiencies.

A 2017 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey concluded that "recent graduates of MBA and business master's programs will be entering a strong hiring market in 2017," with nearly nine in 10 companies planning to hire MBA graduates.

When that MBA is in a specialized field, the job prospects can be even stronger: GMAC reported that one in four employers surveyed said that MBA graduates with specializations tend to receive higher salaries. Whatever the industry or field of management, MBA graduates will find themselves turning to their managerial accounting backgrounds as a key to their success.

Learn more about La Salle's online MBA programs.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Management Occupations

GMAC: Nearly 9 in 10 Companies Plan to Hire MBA Graduates in 2017

Houston Chronicle: Why Management Accounting Is Important in Decision-Making

GMAC: Does It Pay to Get a Specialized MBA Degree?

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