What is the definition of management accounting? Management accountants (also called managerial accountants) look at the events that happen in and around a business while considering the needs of the business. Management Accounting is comprising of two words “Management” and “Accounting”. Discuss the topic, Management Accounting: Meaning of Management Accounting, Definition of Management Accounting, Objectives of Management Accounting, Nature and Scope of Management Accounting, and Limitations of Management Accounting! From this, data and estimates emerge. Cost accounting is the process of translating these estimates and data into knowledge that will ultimately use to guide decision-making.

Learn, Explain Management Accounting: Objectives, Nature, and Scope!

Management Accounts a tool to assist management in achieving better planning and control over the organization. It is relevant for all kinds of an organization including a not-for-profit organization, government or Sole Proprietorships. It has a significant place in the businesses and widely used by management to achieve better control and quality decision making. Also Learned, In the Hindi language: प्रबंधन लेखांकन का उद्देश्य, प्रकृति, और दायराFinancial Accounting!

Meaning of Management Accounting:

Management Accounts not a specific system of accounting. It could be any form of accounting which enables a business to conduct more effectively and efficiently. It’s largely concerned with providing economic information to managers for achieving organizational goals. It is an extension of the horizon of cost accounting towards newer areas of management. Much management accounts information is financial but has been organizing in a manner relating directly to the decision at hand.

Management Accounts comprised of two words ‘Management’ and ‘Accounting’. It means the study of the managerial aspect of accounting. The emphasis of management accounting is to redesign accounting in such a way that it is helpful to the management in the formation of policy, control of execution and appreciation of effectiveness. Management Accounts of recent origin. This was first used in 1950 by a team of accountants visiting U. S. A under the auspices of Anglo-American Council on Productivity.

Definition of Management Accounting:

Definition: It is, also called managerial accounting or cost accounting, is the process of analyzing business costs and operations to prepare the internal financial report, records, and account to aid managers’ decision making process in achieving business goals. In other words, it is the act of making sense of financial and cost data and translating that data into useful information for management and officers within an organization.

“Management accounting is the practical science of value creation within organizations in both the private and public sectors. It combines accounting, finance, and management with the leading edge techniques needed to drive successful businesses.”

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Anglo-American Council on Productivity defines as:

“The presentation of accounting information in such a way as to assist management in the creation of policy and the day to day operation of an undertaking.”

The American Accounting Association defines as:

“The methods and concepts necessary for effective planning for choosing among alternative business actions and for control through the evaluation and interpretation of performances.”

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India defines as follows:

“Such of its techniques and procedures by which accounting mainly seeks to aid the management collectively has come to be known as management accounting.”

From these definitions, it is very clear that financial data is recorded, analyzed and presented to the management in such a way that it becomes useful and helpful in planning and running business operations more systematically.

Objectives of Management Accounting:

The fundamental objectives of management accounting are to enable the management to maximize profits or minimize losses. The evolution of managerial accounting has given a new approach to the function of accounting.

The main objectives of management accounting are as follows:

Planning and policy formulation:

Planning involves forecasting based on available information, setting goals; framing policies determining the alternative courses of action and deciding on the program of activities. Management Accounts can help greatly in this direction. It facilitates the preparation of statements in light of past results and gives an estimation for the future.

Interpretation process:

Management Accounts to present financial information to the management. Financial information is technical. Therefore, it must present in such a way that it is easily understood. It presents accounting information with the help of statistical devices like charts, diagrams, graphs, etc.

Assists in the Decision-making process: 

With the help of various modern techniques management accounting makes the decision-making process more scientific. Data relating to cost, price, profit, and savings for each of the available alternatives are collected and analyzed and provides a base for making sound decisions.

Controlling:

It is useful for managerial control. Their tools like standard costing and budgetary control help control performance. Cost control is effected through the use of standard costing and departmental control is made possible through the use of budgets. The performance of every individual is controlled with the help of managerial accounting.

Reporting:

Management Accounts keeps the management fully informed about the latest position of concern through reporting. It helps management to take proper and quick decisions. The performance of various departments is regularly reported to the top management.

Facilitates Organizing:

“Return on Capital Employed” is one of the tools of Management Accounts. Since managerial accounting stresses more on Responsibility Centres to control costs and responsibilities, it also facilitates decentralization to a greater extent. Thus, it helps set up an effective and efficient organization framework.

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Facilitates Coordination of Operations:

Management accounts provide tools for overall control and coordination of business operations. Budgets are an important means of coordination.

Nature and Scope of Management Accounting:

Managerial Accounting involves the furnishing of accounting data to the management for basing its decisions. It helps in improving efficiency and achieving organizational goals.

The following paragraphs discuss the nature and scope of management accounting.

Provides accounting information: 

Management accounting is based on accounting information. It is a service function and it provides the necessary information to different levels of management. Managerial Accounting involves the presentation of information in a way it suits managerial needs. The accounting data collected by the accounting department is used for reviewing various policy decisions.

Cause and effect analysis: 

The role of financial accounting is limited to find out the ultimate result, i.e., profit and loss; Managerial Accounting goes a step further. Managerial Accounting discusses the cause and effect relationship. The reasons for the loss are probed and the factors directly influencing the profitability are also studied. Profits are compared to sales, different expenditures, current assets, interest payables, share capital, etc.

Use of special techniques and concepts:

It uses special techniques and concepts according to the necessity to make accounting data more useful. The techniques usually used include financial planning and analyses, standard costing, budgetary control, marginal costing, project appraisal, control accounting, etc.

Taking important decisions: 

It supplies the necessary information to the management which may be useful for its decisions. The historical data is studied to see its possible impact on future decisions. The implications of various decisions are also taking into account.

Achieving objectives:

It is uses accounting information in such a way that it helps in formatting plans and setting up objectives. Comparing actual performance with targeted figures will give an idea to the management about the performance of various departments. When there are deviations, corrective measures can take at once with the help of budgetary control and standard costing.

No fixed norms: 

No specific rules are followed in Managerial Accounting as that of financial accounting. Though the tools are the same, their use differs from concern to concern. The deriving of conclusions also depends upon the intelligence of the management accountant. The presentation will be in the way which suits the concern most.

Increase in efficiency: 

The purpose of using accounting information is to increase the efficiency of the concern. The performance appraisal will enable the management to pinpoint efficient and inefficient spots. An effort makes to take corrective measures so that efficiency improves. The constant review will make the staff cost-conscious.

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Supplies information and not the decision: 

The management accountant is only to guide and not to supply decisions. The data is to use by the management for taking various decisions. “How is the data to utilize” will depend upon the caliber and efficiency of the management.

Concerned with forecasting: 

The management accounts concerned with the future. It helps the management in planning and forecasting. The historical information is used to plan the future course of action. The information is supplied to the object to guide management in making future decisions.

Limitations of Management Accounting:

Hence, it suffers from all the limitations of a new discipline. Some of these limitations are:

Limitations of Accounting Records:

Management accounting derives its information from financial accounting, cost accounting and other records. It is concerned with the rearrangement or modification of data. The correctness or otherwise of the Managerial Accounting depends upon the correctness of these basic records.

It is only a Tool: 

Management accounts not alternate or substitute for management. It is a mere tool for management. Ultimate decisions are taking by management and not by management accounts.

Heavy Cost of Installation: 

The installation of the Managerial Accounting system needs a very elaborate organization. This results in heavy investment which can afford only by big concerns.

Personal Bias: 

The interpretation of financial information depends upon the capacity of the interpreter as one has to make a personal judgment. Personal prejudices and biases affect the objectivity of decisions.

Psychological Resistance:

The installation of Managerial Accounting involves the basic change in the organization set up. New rules and regulations are also required to frame which affects the number of personnel, and hence there is a possibility of resistance from some or the other.

Evolutionary stage: 

Management accounts only in a developmental stage. Its concepts and conventions are not as exact and established as those of other branches of accounting. Therefore, its results depend to a very great extent upon the intelligent interpretation of the data of managerial use.

Provides only Data:

Managerial Accounting provides data and not decisions. It only informs, not prescribes. This limitation should also keep in mind while using the techniques of management accounting.

Broad-based Scope: 

The scope of management accounts for wide and this creates many difficulties in the implementation process. Management requires information from both accounting as well as non-accounting sources. It leads to inexactness and subjectivity in the conclusion obtained through it. Also Learned, In the Hindi language: Management Accounting: Objectives, Nature, and Scope (प्रबंधन लेखांकन का उद्देश्य, प्रकृति, और दायरा).

Management Accounting Objectives Nature and Scope
Management Accounting: Objectives, Nature, and Scope, Image credit from @Pixabay.
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