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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 $109,760, 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.” A company’s financial statements tend to provide an accurate picture of its overall health. Accounting tells the financial story of a business — the decisions that were made in the past and the impact of those on the success of the organization. Understanding the language of accounting allows you to make decisions that will impact outcomes moving forward.

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 and “includes analyzing scenarios, interpreting data, identifying needs and communicating findings.”

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. It requires the coordination of multiple levels of an organization, and typically involves managers of various teams and departments creating budgets, forecasts and schedules. According to Business News Daily, while financial accounting provides insights into a company’s past or current finances, “it’s managerial accounting that allows them to translate this insight into actionable analysis” which influences business plans moving forward.

A 2021 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey concluded that demand for business school graduates will be robust, with 91% of corporate recruiters planning to hire MBA graduates. That’s nine in ten who expect a high demand for graduates’ “talent with relevant knowledge and skills.”

When that MBA is in a specialized field like accounting, the job prospects can be even stronger: The GMAC report shows a substantial increase of hiring in the finance and accounting sectors, with a gain of 12%. 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.

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