Management Accountants in Future

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Imagine that you already know or have witnessed how much management accounting has changed in the last 10 years, but you couldn’t have predicted all the changes you see in your office now. Every executive is conducting business on the Internet, accessing instant snapshots of accounting and financial data on their laptop computers as they manipulate various business scenarios and send results around the globe as only the most progressive companies do now.

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A qualitative market research project, conducted for the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), depicts that participants in the research envision major changes in the responsibilities of accounting and financial managers as well as the work they will do and the equipment they will use. They also predict that there will be fewer management accountants, but they will be at more senior levels in the corporation. And they will participate even more in decision-making for their companies along with other members of their cross-functional teams. Some research participants call the management accountant and financial manager of the future an “internal consultant”, someone with the curiosity and flexibility to change and motivate others to change. These internal consultants will add value by helping their organizations find ways to stay profitable and stay ahead of the competition.

Management accountants and financial managers of the future will be expected to have a command over the latest information technology as well as an overall understanding of the business. To be successful, they will need to be proficient in communicating ideas in both written and oral forms. Performance reviews in the future will be based on the ability to analyze information and situations and to make decisions that drive the business rather than the ability to measure the business. The key will be their ability to stay ahead of change.

IMA members and other lenders in the industry predict a trend for more Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) to be recruited from the ranks of management accountants and financial managers because of an increasing emphasis on accounting for management and the need for people who can decipher financial data and present the results as strategic information. In fact, the most notable shift in the profession is away from analysis of the past toward strategic thinking about the future. Hopefully, it will be more analytical with a higher-level work for the product and less detailed on record keeping.

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