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Looking for a Career in Management Accounting? Here's the Expert Insight

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Are you a business freak who is waiting to add to your repertoire the perfect knack for business? Are you able to analyse how a good business does and already your bag of trade tricks is piling up? Then Management Accounting could be your cup of tea.

In this interview with Careerindia Head of South Asia CIMA Bhaskar Ranjan Das enlightens about the opportunities in Management Accounting through the course offered by CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and how it could be to your advantage over other accounting courses.

Das holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master's degree in

Business Administration (MBA). With a career span of over 30 years, he has worked in
different industries such as Information Technology (IT), consulting and education.

As Head of South Asia, he is responsible for managing and driving the strategy, growth and
development of CIMA in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. A member of industry associations such as CII, NASSCOM and FICCI, Das has also co-authored a white paper on asynchronous learning models published in Deloitte's Handbook of Learning. He has received the highest contribution award in IBM and the most innovative learning solution at Asia Pacific HRD Congress.

Looking for a Career in Management Accounting?

Please give us an overview of the changing landscape of accounting in India

There is increasing automation of accounting functions in India as in businesses around the world. The role of accountants is changing because of this and employers expect accountants to be more than just churning out numbers and financial data. They want accountants to be able to tell the story behind the numbers, analyse the numbers and provide insights that will help the management team in making good decisions. In other words, employers expect accountants to be business partners.

In fact, in a global study conducted by CIMA this year, 64% of finance professionals from India encourage increasing automation as it saves time, money and helps ease the indecision process in their organisations.

What is the need of Management Accounting in a growing economy such as India?

The role of management accounting is important not only in a growing economy such as India but also in advanced economies. This is evident in the 14 practice areas of a management accountant as defined in the Global Management Accounting Principles. The 14 practice areas are:

  • cost transformation and management
  • financial strategy
  • internal control
  • investment appraisal
  • management and budgetary control
  • price, discount and product decisions
  • project management
  • resource management
  • risk management
  • strategic tax management
  • treasury and cash management
  • external reporting
  • regulatory adherence and compliance
  • internal audit

The Global Management Accounting Principles provide a foundation for effective decision making and the creation of value. We are pleased that the British Standards Institute has published the world's first standard in management accounting: PAS 1919:2016 Guide to management accounting principles, in March this year.

What are the skills and competencies required for business and people to take decisions?

The competency of decision making includes generating and evaluating alternatives before making a decision or taking any action. The risks associated with each option should be considered and the option that has the best balance of risk and reward should be selected. Encouraging input from others when it is appropriate, standing by decisions without reconsidering unless information or circumstances make it necessary to do so and evaluating the effectiveness of decisions after they have been made are some of the necessary steps in decision making.

The CIMA syllabus is robust in providing the right set of knowledge in analyzing data and turn the data into strategic solutions / decision making. The CIMA syllabus is built based on the CGMA Competency Framework allowing CIMA to assess students' skills and knowledge as they progress through the qualification, while allowing CIMA professionals to demonstrate their employability and the breadth of skills and knowledge gained to employers.

Please mention the opportunities for Management Accountants, career avenues, nature of work, growth prospect, etc.

Management accountant enjoy a flexible career with high employability around the world as employers recognise the quality of the CIMA Professional Qualification and the value of Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.

You can work in a wide range of job roles and in varied sectors such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail, finance, consultancy, healthcare, marketing, transport, education, banking and many more. Some of the job roles are financial analyst, business analyst, group treasurer, management consultant, financial controller, financial manager, director of business planning, director of operations, chief financial officer and financial director. Many CIMA members are also holding top management positions in public and private sectors such as Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Director and other important positions.

What are the differences between Finance and Management Accounting? Is there a balance needed amongst the two?

A financial accountant reports on the financial performance of the company. They look into compliance with the laws, standards and regulations (including tax and audit). A management accountant, on the other hand, is a business partner and is involved in the 14 practice areas as mentioned earlier. A management accountant works with all parts of the business. With their finance expertise as well as business acumen, they help a business to grow successfully and sustainably. Management accounting is about accounting for the business, not just the balance sheet.

Indeed we need balance in everything that we do and as a management accountant you are also required to have the basic foundations of financial accounting. So by combining the knowledge of both financial & management accounting, it provides a robust set of skills in helping the growth of the business.

What is the demand and scope for Indian accounting professionals in foreign countries?

All CIMA qualified professionals are also given the global designation of Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA). With this global designation, their skill set are recognised globally across different sectors of industries. This is one of the many benefits in becoming a CGMA. And in the United States, the global designation CGMA is one of the most in demand credentials according to Robert Half.

Please provide some tips for professionals from other streams to crack CIMA.

Professionals or students need to keep updating themselves continuously to stay relevant, especially in a fast changing world. That is what organizations value the most. A CIMA qualification ensures quality and relevance for both individuals and industry, across the world.

What are the scope and job opportunities after CIMA in India and abroad?

There are numerous job openings available for completely qualified members or part-qualified students of CIMA, both in India and abroad. Upon completing CIMA Professional Qualification and obtaining CIMA membership, one is eligible to use the designations ACMA (Associated Chartered Management Accountant) and CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) which are widely accepted throughout the world.

One can secure the most preferred training positions with major companies. A person can join as financial analyst, business analyst, group treasurer, management consultant, financial controller, financial manager, director of business planning, director of operations and financial director at the completion of CIMA certification course. The possibilities of getting good jobs after securing CIMA professional qualification are very high.

Also ReadScope and Trends of CIMA: Head of South Asia in CIMA, Bhaskar Ranjan Das Unravels

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